It always happens: the summer season is sprung upon us before we’re quite “bikini ready.” As the heat continues to rise, the last thing on your mind may be finding the motivation to maintain your running schedule. However, the start of summer is actually the best time to re-evaluate your running goals. Maybe you’ve had trouble sticking to New Year’s resolutions, are feeling uninspired as you plough through your workouts, or maybe you just need to refresh your goals to get you through the next three months. Now is the perfect time to break out of your running rut and take on a bigger challenge. Here are a few ways to help you re-focus and stay on target.
- Pick a challenging race for the fall season. If you’re itching to check the marathon off of your bucket list, this is the perfect time to register and begin training. With marathon season taking place in the fall, you’ll need the entire summer to train. Not marathon ready? It’s still important to pick a new, challenging race to train for. It will give you something to work towards as well as a reason to beat the heat this summer. Choose a race that’s new to you, or one that has a lot of hills, or challenge yourself to a time goal. The important thing is to make sure you’ve picked a race or goal that will be tough to complete without turning the dial up on your training. Some helpful sites for choosing a race are: MarathonGuide.com, HalfMarathons.net, RunningInTheUSA.com, and the local Red River Road Runners Calendar.
- Design a realistic schedule. Once you’ve picked your D-day, you will need to design a realistic schedule for yourself. While you may initially feel inspired to take on a highly intense training schedule that has you logging in serious miles, you need to reasonably assess if that will work with any other obligations you may have. It’s always best to take a look at a pre-designed schedule and then modify it slightly to fit your life to avoid setting yourself up for failure. For example, if you know you always work late on Tuesdays, then you shouldn’t schedule your toughest workouts for that night. Once you have a schedule that you like, pencil it into your calendar. You’re much more likely to stick to it when “5 mile tempo run” is written on the same calendar as “Dinner with client.” Some helpful sites for designing a training schedule are: Hal Higdon’s Training Programs and the Runner’s World Smart Coach tool.
- Have others hold you accountable. One of the best strategies for sticking to your new race goal is to tell others. Planning to run a 5K in under twenty-three minutes? Tell everyone you know about your goal. This will help you stay focused and it will also hold you accountable. It’s easier to slack off when know one else is there to push you along and you’ll be surprised by the encouraging support you’ll get.
The steady rise in temperatures shouldn’t derail you from reaching the next level in your running. Instead, use this time to push yourself, work towards a new challenge, and refuse to let the lazy days of summer prevent you from reaching your new goals.