I don’t indulge in pre-race animal sacrifice or run with bells on my ankles to ward off evil spirits and ITB injuries. But I do think it's important to train and eat with the seasons and relate to what time of the year it is.
It’s an obvious way to avoid the trap of doing the same running all the time and then wondering why you aren’t making progress. We might like to think of ourselves as running ‘machines’, especially those of us who spend a bit too much time in gyms. But we are an animal, and animals react to the seasons. So with the winter solstice upon us, what does that mean for our running?
A lot of us run through the winter, but it’s still the summer that is prime running season. To get the most out of that you need to start your preparations now. The next few months of training, plus the nature of any events you slot into your calendar, will be crucial to meeting your goals. Getting clarity on this early prevents you being diverted by events your friends are doing and schedule clashes.
You need a master plan that provides for the necessary periods of event-specific training. But it must also include the required ongoing development and maintenance of good form, speed work and endurance.
Having a coach and a running squad will help you to stack things up. As the light comes back into your running time, it should also shed light on what you want to achieve in the coming months.