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Each new year sees runners making a list of resolutions. Some are determined to lose weight, be better organized, train a little harder and other related goals. Some runners will set a goal of running every day, regardless of weather conditions for the whole year. Others will decide that they will only run outdoors and ditch the treadmill and indoor track. The word they key around is consistency, Fitness should improve and body weight will go down and race times will improve.

This logic sounds good. After all, one of the main keys to successful training in any program is consistency. The problem is, that running every day, for a full year is not healthy and certainly not practical. Many things arise in a year to change a set schedule. Minor injuries or illness may require days of rest. Excess fatigue due to any one of a number of things can make it hard or even unhealthy to train every day.

Still, we know that consistency builds fitness, both physically and mentally. So, how is it built in to a running program? A better idea for a plan might be to run 5 or 6 days a week, taking a couple of days off when they are needed. That way, consistancy would still be the focus and realistic goals can be maintained.

Of course any change in a program should be gradual so if you have been running only 3 days a week for 1999, moving up to 5 days a week might be too much right away. Maybe a good goal might be to reach 4 days a week until April, 5 days a week after that date.

Some runners think in the terms of mileage goals. Here the goal is to increase mileage to a certain target. This may not be the best approach. First all changes should not exceed 10% and some weeks may require recovery runs of a lesser distance. It is too easy to get trapped into doing a particular workout just to hit your mileage goal.
Averaging 30 miles a week over the year may be a better target goal than setting out to run 30 miles each week regardless of how your training is going. Whatever your goals are for 2000, make them realistic and attainable. It may be fun to daydream about running a certain race pace or distance, but this may only serve to disappoint if you can not possibly meet the goal.The best resolution you can make is to make sure you keep your running fun and injury free. Whatever it takes to do these two things is the most important goal.
After all, the best goal to set is to be running in 2000 and beyond.

Women in Motion -January 2000