How do you choose the next destination for a run? Anat Aharonovitch, who accompanies many runners, is happy to share with us the process and all the considerations that must be taken into account when choosing your next target
If you’re part of the amateur runners/riders community, you probably already know how much social media is packed with enthusiastic summaries and posts around racing seasons. Your feed is full of beautiful pictures and smiling people running. People posting sweaty pictures that you can almost smell, yet still envy the feelings they are trying to convey: we are bursting with endorphins, we’re sure we are stunning, and we’re having lots of fun.
Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to join these happy people? To be precise, we all want to feel good with ourselves, and if we can combine it with a picture of victory and sweat, even better.
The main road race season has passed, and ahead is the peak season of field races, some more extreme than others, until the summer. In the heat of summer most of us will take a short break – unless we’ve registered for a competition abroad – and we’ll prepare ourselves for building a new base for the beginning of next season.
So just before you press ENTER to register for your next goal, I recommend stopping and investing a little more thought into the choice.
First of all, ask yourself why?
Why are we here? What purpose does it serve? What does it add to our life? How does this affect us?
Sometimes we miss focus on the “why” and just go with the flow, where it is very easy to get lost, especially because there are many fish in the sea.
Not always will the goal we chose be physically suited to us, and more importantly, not always will the target we choose be suitable for us mentally and to our way of life. If you registered to a race just because the rest of your team decided, then you’re in a big problem that will eventually lead to the opposite result and miss your goals completely. Remember those goals? Enjoying, smiling, endorphins, sweaty victory pictures…
If you’re able to answer the question “why”, it means you’re on a good path. After understanding why a certain goal is important to us, no matter what the reason and the target, we can move forward.
Goals are divided into 2 main categories:
1. Personal time record – the desire to improve your PB, to push your body to improve and be more efficient.
2. Personal distance record – the desire to increase distances from 5 km to 10 km, to a half marathon, marathon and beyond.
(There’s always the 3rd category – social running for fun, with a goal of maintaining a routine of training and healthy lifestyle).
For the most part, I recommend following your heart, but wisely, and in any case doing it gradually and adjusted to your physical abilities.
Beginners: it is best to go through a period of 3 months training until the first goal – 5 km.
Intermediate runners can choose to improve their 5 km or run 10 km. Here there is great significance to a coach who knows how to steer you according to your personal abilities, in order to realize your potential.
Advanced runners who have trained for about a year at distances of 10 km, can gradually increase distances or improve times.
Some runners get excited about increasing distances while others will be moved by improving time results. Both of these are good. The question that needs to be examined is what is right for your body at the stage when you enter the training program, and how long will you invest in it? What concessions would you have to make to make it work? And what kind of support do you have from home?
After we get the green light (confirmation from our inner voice and from our immediate vicinity) that we can set off for the next challenge, it’s very sensible to understand what level you’re at. We all feel we know our own body, but we might think that we’re at a certain level while in reality we’re far from it.
If you train in a team or with a personal trainer, you will usually not be mistaken. The coach will be able to tell you whether the goal is possible, if you’re capable of reaching it or passing it. He can direct you to the amount of training needed to meet your goal. In any case and in order not to be disappointed, it is worth checking ourselves out, either with the help of a personal trainer who can provide feedback and analyze the data, or even on your own.
After you fully realize what your body is capable of, and you have general knowledge about a specific goal, you can start planning your strategy. Consult a trainer for how long the training program takes to get you ready.
So what information do you have till now?
You know the distance you want to conquer, you know the pace you’re aiming at, and you know more or less how long it will take to get ready.
Now all that remains is to figure out what type you are – are you the challenge hunter who loves extreme? Or do you prefer something more modest and domestic?
The options are endless:
Track / Road
Super challenging / challenging for beginners
Local / abroad
Group / personal goal
After finding out what type of goal you’re looking at, what you are capable of, what your heart wants, what date more or less, it’s important to factor in weather conditions, terrain and the training framework.
In the training program, take into consideration preparatory training on the route itself (if it’s local and possible) or training that simulates the route at the topographical level. You must also allow for travel and proper preparation. In addition, you will need to adapt to climatic conditions if you’re going to be running abroad. Whether it is a hot summer or a cold winter, training should be close to these conditions so that your body adapts.
Pros will even arrange an early trip a week before the actual competition, to adapt to the weather and take easy runs on the course.
If you suffer during hot summer months, don’t choose an autumn goal that will make it difficult to train, and vice versa. On the other hand, you might want to challenge yourself. If you know that you have no choice but to go out to practice, that’s precisely what might keep you focused.
As you’ve already understood, you can easily press ENTER for any race, but it is worthwhile and even advisable to invest a little more thought to understand what you want to achieve and more importantly, whether it is feasible.
In order not to experience the frustration of failure, it is preferable that the goal be realistic, with a proper training program that is defined in advance, at a time that will allow you to train while not overloading and affecting your personal life too much. In the end, we are all here to enjoy the way to the goal and the sense of success at the end!
Finally, take a friend or two on your journey (or a group of friends), because in moments of crisis there will be someone to raise you up or “reprimand” you for not meeting your predefined training goals.
So here’s to many great challenges!
So what will be your next challenge?
The Bible Marathon | Eilat Desert Marathon | Tiberias “WINNER” Marathon | Half Marathon Arad Masada