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Give yourself a long enough training runway to properly prepare. With more time, you can increase your running happiness meter and evolve into the best runner you can be. If your upcoming race is a new distance for you, give yourself time to succeed. A little extra time allows for life's inconveniences (illness, travel, aches, pains) and will keep your long-distance running on track. Practice patience and evolve into your best runner.
Use a planner (digital or paper) and plug in your life schedule first. Include your travel, obligations you can't get out of, holidays, and other events that may be potential training obstacles (including your cycle, girls). Then begin to plug in your training around it. While doing so, consider your busiest days, your calmer days, and develop your training days with the flow of your life.
If Mondays suck the life out of you, schedule an easier paced run that day and balance the energy demands so you can recover efficiently and train harder on a lower stress day. There is an optimal training recipe for everyone and all you truly need to do is create your plan with the flow of your life. When you do, you'll recover quicker, improve faster, and run stronger.
3. Cross Train
Cross-training runners have shown to have fewer aches, pains and injuries. They develop balanced strength and maintain a constant level of motivation through the season than runners who don't cross-train.
Cross training allows you to maintain a high volume of training, while lowering the impact on your body.
Modes that are similar to running such as cycling and elliptical (or the ElliptiGO) are great to mimic the running motion but don't have the impact forces on the body. This allows you to recover faster. More importantly, add an activity you enjoy as you'll look forward to it and it will translate to a more satisfying training lifestyle down the road.
4. Run Mindfully
Some days will be perfect: you wake up fresh and can't wait to run; your running clothes match (including your socks) and you feel like you can run forever. Other days, will feel like you wonder why you're even trying to run: your breath is labored during the walking warm-up; your iPod dies in the middle of your workout and every mile feels like 10. This is the life of a marathon runner.
The key is to maximize every workout to push on the days you feel like a super hero and ease up on the throttle on those challenging days. When you adjust in the field, you allow your body to run at the right effort on the day and recover more rapidly -- setting yourself up for a stronger run down the road. Run by your effort, by your breath and how you feel rather than a pace on your watch. Pace is the outcome; effort is the focus. Your pace will vary based on sleep, recovery, fuel, stress, fatigue, and more. Your effort will be your north star and guide you through a high-quality workout and efficient recovery.
5. Take Note
As you create, modify, and tweak your training plan, keep track of all the details along the way. It's a great way to stay motivated as you'll see your progress in time and an effective means to optimizing all the secondary training variables including number of hours of sleep each night, your diet and the changes you make along the way, what you eat or drink while running, stress level, travel, mileage on your shoes, flexibility, strength and more. Long-distance running is the staple ingredient for your training, and these variables flavor your recipe giving it structure, stability, and success. Whether you use a manual or digital log, keep tabs on the details—because with every mile, you're creating your marathoning style.
These are great tips that I have been using during my marathon & ultra training. I hope you find them useful and can implement them into your training.