We are headed quickly into 2022. It’s hard to believe but January will be here before you know it. Have you started putting together your health and fitness plan for 2022? If not, it’s time to get started!
What do you want to accomplish next year with your running?
This may or may not be a goal. This could be a certain race or distance you want to do. It could be a challenge you want to take on. Or even making little changes each month to become a better runner. But looking at the entire year at once can be a bit overwhelming.
Maybe grab a piece of paper to write things down as we go.
Let’s start with the big picture. As asked above, what is the big thing you want to accomplish in 2022? For me, I want to run my first ultramarathon. That is my top goal. Some smaller things I want to do are continue to strength train, add in yoga more consistently, and add more fruit/vegetables to my day. The first thing I would do is put that ultra on my calendar. Everything else will be filled in around the ultra and should support that goal.
Here are a few things to think about when planning your race calendar:
- What type of event do you want to do?
- Road, trail, obstacle, mud
- What distance?
- Have you done that distance before?
- Trainging for a 5k is different from training for a marathon
- Where is the race? Do you need to travel to it?
- Traveling can be tricky with racing. You don’t want to do much site seeing beforehand.
- You want a hotel that’s convenient and easy to get to the start/finish.
- How much time can you put into training?
- The longer the distance, the more running you need to do.
- Are you going to do other activities? Cross train?
- Do you have other priorities that may take time from training?
There are a few other things to think about. Sometimes races are expensive. Shoes and other gear can add up. Everyone says running is a cheap sport. It can be but like anything the more you get into it, the more it costs. Local, small road races can be less expensive than the big Rock n Roll type ones. And they can be more fun. You may not get the cool medal but they usually have a t-shirt to remember the race. You can find good deals at Old Navy or Target for gear. Shoes can be pricey but if you are doing shorter runs and races, you can make shoes last.
Another area to consider is are you injury-prone or have any health issues that may impact training? This may hinder or alter your training. If you know you tend to have issues with your IT band, maybe work with a sports medicine doctor or physical therapist for exercises you can do. Make a plan. If you have health issues, again, work with your doctor. They know better than some random blogger.
Do you have a support system? If your partner/family/friends don’t understand your need to go out Sunday mornings for 20 mile long runs and expect you to party until 3 am with them, you will struggle to get through a marathon training cycle. Having a partner that supports your goals is extremely helpful. They will understand why you napped after that 20-miler instead of cleaning the bathroom.
What are your other training goals? Do you want to drop body fat? Get stronger? Do more mindful meditation? All of these are great goals but may not always align with running. You may have to juggle a bit to fit it all in. Or take a break from one while in the middle of your race training.
So how do you go about fitting everything in?
Start looking at the year overall. Put that goal race or A race on your calendar and work around it. If your race is in the fall, you are looking at a big summer of training. Maybe that means you focus on your other goals at the start of 2022.
Once you figure out the overall picture, you can bring it down to quarterly, monthly, and weekly.
For example, in December I will start thinking about January through March. What will that quarter look like for me? My ultra will be the first weekend of March so my focus will be building up to a 50k. I will also look at January. I know I will have a trail race that month. My main focus will be completing that without injury and getting my trail legs back. Then on the Sunday before each week, I will look at my week and what my running coach has assigned, and what else I have going on and work to fit in strength training and maybe yoga. I really want to get yoga back into my routine. I will do this each Sunday.
Lastly, make sure to be flexible. Life happens, things come up so you won’t always be able to stick exactly to your plan. The biggest thing is to have the plan laid out so when those inevitable things come up, you can move around your runs or strength sessions as needed. Or take an extra rest day if you need it.
Planning helps to be consistent and consistency is the main ingredient to achieving your goals.