There’s a whole lot of energy right now focused on self-improvement and making the next 12 months the best year yet, but what can we do to make it actually happen?

As we enter the new year, many of us are looking for ways to make 2023 our best year yet. If you’re a runner, you know that setting and working towards goals is key to success. Whether you’re training for your first 5K or striving to set a personal record in your next marathon, a little planning and determination can go a long way.

Set realistic goals

Before you can start working towards your running goals, you need to identify what those goals are. Be sure to set goals that are realistic and achievable, taking into account your current fitness level and any other commitments you may have.

For example, if you’re new to running, it might not be realistic to set a goal of running a marathon within the next year. On the other hand, if you’re an experienced runner looking to set a personal best, it might be more realistic to aim for a specific time goal rather than simply trying to beat your previous race time.

Create a plan

Once you have your goals in mind, it’s time to create a plan. Start by identifying how many days per week you can commit to running and how long you can realistically run each day. From there, you can create a schedule that works for you, incorporating a variety of workouts such as long runs, tempo runs, and intervals.

Be sure to include rest days in your schedule as well – these are just as important as your running days, as they allow your body to recover and become stronger.

There are some plans you can buy, such as the Centurion Running Training Packages out together by our Editor Robbie Britton. Or you could even look at one to one or group coaching options too.

Mix up your workouts

While it’s important to have a structured training plan, it’s also important to mix things up and keep your workouts interesting. Try running in new locations, joining a running group, or incorporating other types of cross-training such as strength training or yoga. Not only will this help to prevent boredom, but it can also help to improve your overall fitness and prevent overuse injuries.

Being adaptable is key too. A plan written weeks ago might need changing when work gets too busy or you pick up a wee niggle that needs some time off. Equally it could even be that training is going better than you ever imagined and you need to change things up in that regard too.

Stay motivated

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new training plan, in a new year, but it’s important to remember that there will be ups and downs along the way.

To stay motivated, try setting small, achievable goals within your larger goal. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon, aim to run a certain distance or time each week and track your progress. You can also enlist the help of a running buddy or hire a coach to keep you accountable and motivated.

Photo: Mike James/SportsInjuryFix

Take care of your body

In order to have your best year yet, it’s important to take care of your body both during and after your workouts. If you need to then be  sure to stretch before and after each run, and pay attention to any aches or pains that may be warning signs of an injury.

Work closely with a physiotherapist over time if you can. Not just when you get injured…

Making sure you fuel your training and your recovery, especially if you’ve increased your training load for a spring marathon. It might mean you need some more carbohydrates to give you the energy to do your training, and more protein to make sure your muscles recover between sessions too.

Stay positive

Finally, try to stay positive and focus on the progress you are making, rather than dwelling on any setbacks or setbacks you may encounter. Remember that running is a journey, and the key is to enjoy the process and have fun along the way.

With a little planning and determination, you can have your best year yet as a runner in 2023. Whether you’re training for your first race or striving to set a personal record, by setting realistic goals, creating a structured training plan, and taking care of your body, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your running goals and having an amazing year.

So, be confident and go for it. Happy running!