Why making considerable changes to ones usual training programs in 2018 might be the key to becoming a better runner, a view from Kenya


This column is a bit different for Justin Lagat, but, I have to say, it is one of my favorites. Read it and pass it around. The idea of changing one's approach to training is not new, and it can be quite effective. Sometimes, that is what is needed before an athlete achieves their goal.

Moen_Sondre1-Hannover17.jpgSondre Moen ran PBs for 10k (27:55), HM (59:48) and Marathon (2:05:48) all in Fall 2017, photo by PhotoRun.net

Why making considerable changes to ones usual training programs in 2018 might be the key to becoming a better runner.

It comes a time when one has to decide whether to make some changes in whatever they are doing in life, be it training, work, or business decisions; or to remain where they have always been. Some changes can come naturally, accidentally and forcefully and we have no options in these but to accept and move on, they could be the blessings in disguise that we at times hear some people keep talking about them. Other changes involve a lot of hard decisions to make. It is easier for many to make the decision to stay where they have always been and continue getting the same results, than to make the risk of trying a new method of doing things.

One of my favorite quotes about making changes in life is: "Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore," by Andre Gide.

There were many athletes who made some changes in their training plans in 2017 and it paid in the end. Little known Sondre Moen of Netherlands became the first European ever to complete a marathon in less than 2:06 by winning the Fukuoka Marathon in 2:05:48. One year to this race, Moen made some changes in his trainin. He decided to work with a new Coach, Renato Canova, who is well known for coaching some of the best marathon runners that include Florence Kiplagat, Wilson Kiprop and Abel Kirui, among others.

Over time, I have seen athletes that were forced by circumstances to change their training routine due to injuries or maternity breaks and came back stronger than they were. To cite some examples; Shalane Flanagan had to stop her training for a while and stopped racing for over a year before she came back strong and set history at the New York City Marathon in November. It was the same case with Mary Keitany when she came back from her maternity break in 2014 and her first race was also coincidentally the New York City Marathon which she won not only that year, but for the following two consecutive years.

They say that a change is as good as rest. Deciding to alter ones training and trying new techniques could be all that their bodies have been yearning for all these time. There is no one training plan that fits all. If one trained two times in a day this year and never saw any good improvement, perhaps it is time to try training once in a day for a change. Perhaps it is time for others to try two hill workouts in a single week. For others, perhaps it is time to change the distance they specialize in.

As we head over to the New Year, it is time to do some self-evaluation. Has the training programs been working well? Could it be time to try something new in 2018 and see how that will impact on your running?

To all my fans who have been reading my columns over time, I take this opportunity to wish you all the best for next year. May the changes you make it 2018 bring you more success to your running. May you all achieve your goals for the New Year. Happy New Year!

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