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All the best: how to crush your goals.

04 January 2022
Christophe Roosen is the co-founder and coach of Trenara. Runs a marathon in 2:33:34. Follow him on IG @chroosen.

New year and good intentions, it is a traditional combo. During the first 3 days of the year we see a lot more active users when compared to your average day of the year. But good intentions only stick around until Blue Monday. Let’s be honest: that’s not that long…

Whatever running goals you set for yourself for in the new year, here are some tips to help you achieve them!

_ Cut it in pieces

Those who speak Dutch and listen to our podcast know that I have already registered for the 2023 Valencia Marathon – the 6th in a row. Valencia is my yearly ‘Big Goal’. But don’t expect me to already set that goal for December 3 in our app as of now.

The further away a goal seems, the easier it becomes (mentally) to deviate from the trajectory towards it: “It won’t be that bad, will it?”. And of course you should not be cramped when following a training plan, yet you must maintain sufficient focus to be able to realize your goals.
Do you have a goal for the coming fall period? Then DO NOT set that goal in Trenara yet. Choose a spring goal. That should not necessarily be a PB or all out effort. You can also go for an experience or a distance goal: ‘that day I will run my longest distance ever’ or ‘then I’ll go to a national park to run a trail’.

That way you keep your focus high during this ‘off’ period. And that spring goal does not necessarily have to match that big (autumn) goal.

_ Have faith

Not every run runs smoothly – and that’s okay. But it doesn’t mean that such a bad day doesn’t have a mental impact.

I am by nature a doubter. The sports psychology course from my coaching class offers a foothold at such moments. One of the things I’ll always remember is actually a very simple mechanism: those who are self-confident, blame bad days or achievements on external factors and good days on themselves, while those who lack self-confidence will always look for the ‘fault’ in themselves when they perform poorly and when they feel good they will assign it to something external.

Have faith and make it easy on yourself from time to time. Maybe that bad workout or that bad feeling is just due to an old pair of trainers, a bad snack or the weather. And that good session, well that’s just a consequence because you are in shape and not because the wind happened to be favorable.
If you doubt yourself less, you’ll get further.

_ Get real

Yeah I know, citius – altius – fortius is the Olympic motto. But it shouldn’t always go faster, higher or stronger. Be realistic. Maybe you’re coming back after a running dip or are starting running from 0? Then consistency is much more important than speed or distance.
We have not had the easiest of years with the whole story around Covid anyway. For example, we have some runners among our users who are still suffering the consequences of ‘Long Covid’, and who are just happy that they can manage 5 km again.

So first ensure that consistency, without pressure. In this way you benefit from the many health benefits that running offers and you building the best possible foundation for that big goal.

_ Stop dieting

Runners often want to be lean and limit their intake. Or people start running to lose weight. Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. Nutrition is important, because it is the only source of energy you’ll get. (big) Deficits do more harm than good. So don’t deprive yourself too much, don’t make too great sacrifices. And during this period: so don’t feel guilty about those festive meals.
Cultivate good habits, but don’t go for impossible assignments.

I myself became a better runner by being more conscious around nutrition. For me it started with simple questions: with which meal of the day should I go for the daily portion of fruit and which one for the portion of vegetables? After a strenuous exercise, which meal suits me best to feel/recover better? How do I feel when I train with breakfast and without breakfast?
Simple questions, which ensured that I started to eat more vegetables (both in quantity and in diversity), no longer opted for fast food after a workout (Friday night was pizza night) and no longer ran sober out of laziness (those who run early and then read my feedback, know that I like to sleep).
That does not mean that I now enjoy chips or pastry less, but I’m now seeing a bigger picture.

_ Share your goals

Tell others what you plan to do. It might help you find a training buddy, but it also helps to keep you ‘on track’. How often do we as runners send a Whatsapp to our partners in crime to ask about how they’re progressing? It’s a way to motivate each other.
With Trenara we also try to be a part of this. Our feedback messages show that we are following you.

By sharing your goal, you also make it concrete. “I want to run 10 miles this year” becomes “I will run the Antwerp 10 Miles on April 24th”. This way that good intention becomes a lot more realistic!

I wish you a happy new year and good health. The latter means that we will often meet in the app 😉

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