Here's to hoping that 2021 will be slightly more normal then 2020. Races are slowly starting to come back on to the schedule, so it's time to start planning for a successful year. But how to do that? Well, it all depends on if you kept up with the training, building a solid foundation over the craziness of last year or if you were limited in your ability to get out and about. It also depends on if you are looking at different races for 2021 or if it's just rolling over the 2020 schedule.
If you have a new schedule, then things are a little easier. It's like any other year - where you balance the big goal races with smaller events to dial in the gear and preparation. Take into account that fields might be smaller and it might be harder to get into the races you want to do. Once you have your races set, it's a matter of designing the program around them. Start where your fitness is right now - not where it was last year at this time, and then work forwards. Remember the important recover weeks as well as balancing out work, life and training stress. If there's a big project due at work, you might not want to make that one of your bigger training weeks.
However, if the schedule is a roll over from 2020, there's a little more to consider. Training is in a very different place this year, so goal times and places may need to be adjusted. You can't just take everything from 2020 and plop it onto the 2021 calendar - from workouts to rest days to training blocks. You have to take a serious look and what you were able to do last year and build from there. Do you have the time to be able to do all the races from 2020, as well as the races you initially wanted to do in 2021? Most likely not. You have to balance the dreams of last year with the goals of this year. Choices may need to be made. If there's lotteries involved, then I would go with the races that you are in and not apply for any other lotteries. Unless they are letting you do a lottery only, get the extra tickets like High Lonesome here in Colorado.
When it comes to other side of preparing for a race, that's going to be a little more complicated this year. There will be differences at aid stations - from not having as much food available to changing how things are served. A lot of running races went to full cup-less and container-less over the last few months. They are also using semi contact-less methods for helping athletes. Be prepared to have to do more to help the volunteers at the race and to have wait a little for them to be able to help you. If trends from last year continue, there also might be less food being prepared and a lot more single serve bags of food. Make sure you know what your race will be serving and plan accordingly with your training. That does apply at any time, but its even more important now. Another concern to be aware of - crews and support for runners may be limited due to permits. If you are used to having your significant other meet you at every crew point in the race, make sure you still can. Read the guidelines and prepare to run your race alone if needed.
Want more help planning the 2021 season? Reach out!