Getting Back Into Training

10/01/2018 - 16:39

By Carolyn Mather
As mornings in the 50's have graced north Georgia recently, I am reminded that summer will soon be but a memory and autumn will be upon us. We have had immense rain this spring/summer and that should bode well for a beautiful season of colors. There is nothing more peaceful than running in the falling leaves and admiring the works of nature.

Once again, this is the time to start up some more serious training, if you are so inclined. Most of the heat and humidity should be behind us and as the temperatures cool down, you can begin to think of what you plan to do this fall and going into 2019. It is the time to begin to ramp your mileage up a bit after the summer heat and decide where you want your running too take you this year. Now is the time to plan, whether it be for a late fall/winter/spring marathon, or half marathon, or cross country or just a few 5 and 10K's.

If you have been in the same pattern for years, try something different or new in the upcoming season. Perhaps you can select a destination race which will keep you motivated through your training. Or you may decide to skip races and just enjoy the fall, winter and spring. It is really important to develop a plan so you know where you are going and how to get there. Running without some type of plan can definitely lead to "missing" your run to do something more important. A plan helps solidify your commitment.

The fall is definitely the time to get you motivated again. Gone are the sweaty, drippy clothes and the oppressive heat. Cool mornings are an ideal way to start your day. You will awaken to the birds singing and feel the crispness in the air as you run, freeing your mind before a busy day. I cannot think of a better start to a runner's day. On one of these first cool runs, let your mind wander to your plans. Think about what you would like to do this year.

Unfortunately many runners do the same thing year in and year out and then wonder why it is difficult to get motivated. Make a concerted effort to do something new this year. Maybe you just need to mix it up a bit. Fall is the ideal time to give cross country a try. Many clubs, including the Atlanta Track Club, put on awesome fall cross country events. Prepare yourself for something a little different and run a cross country race just for the experience. Time definitely goes out the window with running cross country.

Whatever you plan, give it some thought and write down your plan and modify it as you go forward. If your mileage has declined over the summer, make sure you increase it gradually. Sometimes it is easy to get carried away when the weather is so much better and you push too hard and then spend the best part of the year dealing with an injury. There are hundreds of plans out there, so select one that fits what you want. Peruse various plans to find one that will work for you. Do not settle for a plan that does not meet your individual needs.

Join a group training program for a specific event. Many clubs have training groups for specific big events, and you may discover a wonderful camaraderie finding new friends to accompany you as you get ready for the event.

Look around and see what is available to you. Take advantage of offerings from clubs and programs from reputable groups. It often aids your motivation if you get involved with others with the same goal. If you choose to go this route, make sure you are in a compatible group. Getting in a group that is too fast for you will certainly affect your motivation adversely, as well as possibly get you injured as you struggle to keep up.

Or as you map your plan, find a partner or two who have similar plans. It is always easier to fulfill your plan if you have someone to keep you on track. Excuses somehow do not work when a partner is waiting.

I have found that as much as I run I never have an energy problem. My multitude of miles seems to energize me to unbelievable heights. And I must admit as I approach my 70th birthday, a viable plan, once I decide what direction I want to go, will be vital to my success if I decide to get back to racing. After all I will be in a brand new age group, and as Coach Amy says, as you get older it is mainly about showing up.

Enjoy planning an exciting year, so you can relax in the summer of 2019 and rest on the success of a season well planned. Enjoy getting done whatever your heart desires and most of all, have fun!!

Carolyn Mather, R.N., PhD lives and runs in north Georgia and is a member of the Atlanta Track Club elite. She can be reached at

This column appeared in the October issue of Running Journal.

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