New Year's Running Advice From a Kenyan Coach

January 04, 2024

1. Choose your coach very well.

This should come first, as you may not even have to read through the rest of the points if you get this one right! I have seen a lot of people posting misleading workouts on social media and claiming to be coaches. Having the wrong coach may be worse than not having a coach.

One of the ways to find a good coach is to check out their background in running. An apple doesn’t fall far from a tree. It closely relates to coaching. Most good coaches are usually past runners with some practical experience in running, and some could even still be active in their running, and one can follow their running on the running Apps.

2. Focus on your overall fitness and health, not just cutting weight and increasing speed.

To become a good runner requires patience. Fasting and other methods that make you lose weight rapidly and compromise your overall health will not make you a good and strong runner.

Health is one of the vital elements that any runner should aim to have for their training and fitness goals to be realized.

3. Use the right gear and apparel

Not all running shoes out there are suitable for running. To enjoy running and avoid getting injured, one needs to find a shoe that fits them comfortably, is cushioned enough and is relatively light for training.

It is also good to dress well for the weather. Wear double layers of clothing and gloves in cold and light clothing in warm weather.

4. Have both long-term and short-term plans

The best way to reach your ultimate goal, be it to run a marathon in under three hours, is to have a plan. Consider some more minor achievements along the way, like running a half marathon at the target pace sometime in the year, as part of your mental and physical preparations for your marathon.

5. Try to create fun in your training program

Different workouts in a week, like Fartlek Runs, Long Runs, Intervals, and Hill Workouts, make your training more exciting. Varying the intensities of the exercises also allows your body to recover and regenerate and mentally makes a training week feel shorter.

A hard run on a particular day will make an easy run the following day feel effortless.

6. Eat a balanced diet and hydrate well

Sometimes, it is good to think about your body as a car that needs to be well-maintained to run well. Runners need plenty of proteins to aid in the recovery and rebuilding of broken tissues during training. They also need carbohydrates for energy, vitamins and other minerals to keep their bodies working well.

Water has a lot of work in the body, including regulating the temperature, lubricating the joints, flushing out waste products and being a vital ingredient in the blood that helps transport oxygen and nutrients across the body. As runners lose a lot of water through sweat, they must also take enough water during and after training.

7. Recover well

After working out hard in training, you will also need to work hard on your recovery for your training to be effective.

Enough sleep is essential. Aim to sleep for at least seven hours every night and schedule one- or two-hour naps in the afternoon, if you can.

8. Join running groups for motivation

Sharing your running adventures with other runners and listening to their experiences makes you feel part of the world’s largest family: the running family. Even if you don’t meet runners in person where you are, you can easily meet them in running Apps like Strava, Run Keeper, and Garmin Connect, among others. You can also find and join Zoom meetings to hear from other runners and FaceBook groups of runners from your area.

9. Go out and race

The best place to gauge your fitness progress and get the best experience on how to run is to run in an actual race. You will know where you stand compared to other runners, your weaknesses and how and what you still need to work on. Sign up for upcoming races and go out and run them.

10. Read running-related publications, like Run Republic.

Be a fan of running. Read a lot about running news, blogs and interviews of other runners. It helps to know the time splits of the best runners in the world, their stories and how they got to where they are.

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