How to Take Your Training to the Next Level

March is around the corner and race reason is officially upon us! We spoke with one of Canada’s top middle-distance runners, our friend Rachel Cliff (shown above at last year’s Modo 8k) and she’s given us some great advice on how to take your training to the next level!

February 22, 2016 – by Rachel Cliff (@dangerous_cliff)

Is the Modo 8km on your radar? If not, it should be! This year the run is held on March 20th and its route takes you along the stunning Stanley Park Seawall. With the days getting longer (and hopefully sunnier and warmer), what better way to kick off the beginning of Spring than with a great road race!?

With just a month to go, the next few weeks are very important. Even a good hard 3-week block of training (which still leaves time to recover before the Modo 8km) can have a huge impact on race day and the fitness gained can carry through to your other races later this Spring and Summer.

The mental approach taken to training can be as important as the work itself; here are 5 tips to help you maximize your training over the next month:

  1. Set Goals
    These two types of goals are equally important:

    • Outcome goals (i.e. complete a certain distance or run a particular time) – these should be established at the beginning of a training block.
    • Process goals (i.e. a number of minutes to run each week) which break the outcome goal into “bite sized pieces”- these can be re-evaluated on a weekly basis.

    Most of us are good at setting outcome goals, but as a runner you should create both. Without process goals you’ll never know whether you are on target to meet your final outcome goals. Design an appropriate training plan yourself or with a coach, write your goals down and glance over them often.

  2. Establish a Schedule
    At the beginning of each week outline your training and schedule time for it the same way you would for anything else. Scheduling is critical, especially at this time of year when motivation can be low and the Spring racing season may still seem far away.Schedule your runs at times that will least likely conflict with other commitments. Doing so means you’ll be less likely to cut your training short or miss a session altogether. Once your training session is scheduled, be committed and just accept whatever weather occurs at the time.
  3. Run With Purpose
    Before heading out have a quick pep-talk with yourself about what you want to accomplish on that run. This can be something very small like focusing on relaxing your shoulders, running a particular pace, or simply just having fun. Having purpose and focus will allow you to get the most out of each training run.
  4. Remember, Everything Is Important But Nothing Is
    Sometimes things don’t go as planned; you may roll an ankle, feel a new pain come up, or terrible wind may prevent you from hitting your goal pace. When adverse events happen, think big picture and long term. If something is hurting, get in to see a physio quickly and don’t be afraid to be pro-active with cross-training (I.e. elliptical, stationary bike, swimming) for a session– there’s no point getting seriously injured over one run. Similarly, don’t stress if you can’t hit your goal workout times, especially if the weather isn’t playing nice or you’ve had a tough day at work. The most important thing about training is to be consistent.
  5. Keep It Fun
    Enjoy your training and, if needed, mix things up to stay motivated: try a new running route or run with a friend. Some Spring days can be beautiful, but many of your runs may still be before sunrise or after sunset and in the pouring rain. Remember that no matter what the conditions, focus on the positives and be thankful that you’re outside exercising and breathing in clean Vancouver air.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we’ll continue to bring you training tips from some of Vancouver’s top runners! Remember that the final price increase for the #Modo8k is March 1st, so sign up soon to save!