So, you’ve physically, or at the very least mentally, signed up to #Run1000Miles in 2022, which makes this the perfect opportunity to kick back and think it through for a second or two. Trust me, you’ll need a plan. In theory it’s simple enough – you have to run 2.7 miles each and every day for the next 365 and you’ll achieve it. That, I guess, is a plan, but at the risk of sounding a little negative in the first week of the year, it needs a little work.
Having achieved that magical number for pretty much most of the past 20 or perhaps even 30 years I can report you will not, I repeat will not, run 2.7 miles every day. You will have a holiday, a wedding, a day off sick, something will be on TV that you just cannot miss.
No, running 1000 miles needs a little thought...
First of all, sketch down what your goals are for 2022 – clock 1000, win a race, that kind of thing. Assuming the total for the year is top of the list, from there create your micro and macro-goals. Let’s get things rolling this week, for instance, by setting a goal that is no more than running four times. That’s a macro-goal we all need to use right now. Any distance will do, any speed. Get that done and then add a few more weeks to that; micro-goal sorted. In that way, you’ll get the ball rolling towards your first two or three months. For instance, for me, January is all about simply getting some miles in.
Right, now you’ve got a bit of rhythm, it’s time to take a closer look at your week. We’re going to ignore running every day as a possibility, so start by planning in some rest days. Believe it or not, they are the most important part of your week and year! The beauty of running is that it is very individual and what works for one person may not for another. However, even now 40 years later, I can still recall my coach telling me that it’s better to take two rest days in a row when you’re training hard to allow your body to really repair effectively. Plan in at least one a week, but preferably two.
So, using those days off as the benchmark, you’ll need to highlight when you can run a little longer; then on a different day, a little shorter and finally, something in the middle. For me, that means a longer run on a Saturday, a faster-paced run on a Tuesday and something non-descript on a Monday and Friday. Easy!
Think about pace. Every runner, whether in your mind you’re looking at nothing more than achieving 1000 miles or you have a time-related goal, needs to include a bit of change of pace in their week. So, after your first month, on one day do a run where the first mile is slower than usual, then the middle mile or two are a bit quicker and then the final mile is slower. It’s all about feel rather than the watch, so don’t panic about what speed you’re going, just run! Honestly, it’s that simple. From there, you can use your micro-planning skills to plot in different sessions, different goals and different speeds. Maybe you’ll run 5x1min fast with a jog recovery as part of one run, or perhaps you’ll do a hill session? Mix and match. Plateauing is your worst enemy as it’ll drain your motivation, enthusiasm and ultimately the total for the year!
When you’re planning your week, take time to include:
■ One long run and one medium-length run. For example, that might mean 90min on a Sunday and an hour on a Wednesday.
■ The rest of the week, try to include a couple of easy runs, perhaps 1min per mile slower than your long run speed and one quicker run of at least three miles.
Mine looks like this:
Monday 5 miles
Tuesday 5 miles
Wednesday Strength class (or hills)
Saturday Long run (10 miles, max). Often I run ‘race pace’ for some of it
Sunday 3 miles