How to become better at running in 2018 (or just any year you like)

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Maintain consistency. Running is a skill and needs to be practised regularly. All great distance runners become successful through consistent daily practice. There is something we can do every day to improve performance, even if it is simply reading an article about nutrition or listening to running science podcasts.

Explore and be open to try new things. Another element of your success is to be excited about running, which will keep your spirit high even on rainy days. Once a week try a new path or trail. Check out topomap.co.nz and discover trails, or check the Wild Things trail running directory (https://www.wildthings.club/trails/) for ideas. For dedicated trail runners, be brave and enter a road race. Training for a speedy road run will benefit your pace for trail races. What new event I am trying this year? The Ruapehu Ring of Fire Ultra (http://rof.co.nz). Check it out!

Articulate your goals. Cement your running ambitions with events, or plan “a mission”, and work towards that goal. Kiwi Trail Runner magazine has a comprehensive list of events for 2018. If you are looking for European or worldwide events, see: http://www.i-tra.org and http://www.ultratrail-worldtour.com

Remember that your goals don’t have to be centered around events or going further or faster. Running is also about self-exploration and discovering nature. Perhaps there is a National Park or a trail that you’ve always wanted to explore in your own time and at your own speed.

Exploring Tongariro National Park (NZ) with Gediminas Grinius

Exploring Tongariro National Park (NZ) with Gediminas Grinius

Run with others. For some of us, running is our daily escape, but don’t become a hermit. Join others for a social run! There is an incredible amount of combined skill and experience in most running groups - share your experience and learn a lot. And on other days keep running just for yourself.

Get a coach. With so many events to choose from, your racing calendar can easily become overcrowded. A qualified coach will help you to prioritize your goals and simplify your life by preparing your training schedule. Your coach's role is also to identify your strengths and areas to improve and structure your training program so that your strengths are reinforced and your weaker areas are addressed. Being able to see your progress as a runner will help you to achieve your goals and give you confidence in setting even more audacious targets in the future.

Join social groups of fellow running geeks. There is nothing better than claiming a course record, and seeing your friends achieve their goals is also a good motivator. Join clubs on Strava and keep track of your progress.

Strava groups for Kiwis: The North Face Trail Running Club – NZ, Skyrunning ANZ, Ultra-Trail World Tour, Tarawera Ultra Marathon, WILD THINGS NZ Trail Running Club

You can also follow my Strava profile: https://www.strava.com/athletes/2090964

From the left: Andrius Ramonas, Ryan Sandes, Yun Yanqiao, Ben Duffus and Pau Capell

From the left: Andrius Ramonas, Ryan Sandes, Yun Yanqiao, Ben Duffus and Pau Capell