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Tips to achieve your New Year running goals

Run 4 Wales Race Director, Steve Brace

For many people January marks a fresh start. It’s a time to reflect and reset and work out what you want to achieve in the next 12 months.

Health and fitness are usually top of the list. However, it’s important that whatever you set yourself it’s something that is achievable and most importantly, enjoyable, so your targets don’t become a distant memory as you look back at the end of the year.

Run 4 Wales Race Director, Steve Brace, is a double Olympian having represented Great Britain in the men’s marathon in the 1992 and 1996 summer Olympics. He’s also a former winner of the Paris and Berlin Marathon, and ran his marathon PB of 2:10:35 in Houston in 1996.

He said: “When we look at New Year’s resolutions and ways to improve ourselves for the coming year, setting yourself a goal is a good idea.

“You might want to become fitter, faster or run your first 10K or half marathon, so entering a race is a fantastic way to hold yourself accountable and gives you something to work towards.”

Run 4 Wales has a wide range of runs in its event portfolio taking place throughout the year. Kicking off the season is the ABP Newport Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K on 28th April, followed by the Brecon Carreg Cardiff Bay 10k on 19th May.

The Ogi Porthcawl 10K takes place on 7th July with the CDF being the final 10K in the Welsh capital in the Run4 Wales 10K series on 1st September.

The R4W race calendar then closes with the Principality Cardiff Half Marathon on 6th October – a race for everyone that also attracts elite athletes and is part of the SuperHalfs Series. It’s Wales’ largest multi-charity fundraising event, with people from all walks of life often running to support good causes.

Steve said: “If running a half marathon is your goal for 2024, it might be nice to find a race, like Cardiff, towards the end of the year and set yourself some smaller challenges in the lead-up. Our 10K series is a fantastic way to keep yourself working towards your goal and can act as stepping stone events for the Cardiff Half. They’re all fantastic in their own right and have brilliant courses and race atmosphere to get you excited about your training.”

Steve also shares his other tips to keep in mind when setting your running goals:

Find a solid training plan: It’s important that you have a good training plan in place to help you complete your achievement. But if you’re not an avid runner already, don’t overdo it in the first month – you’ll tire quickly and may become demotivated or injured. Instead make sure your training works for you. Our partner Coopah provides fantastic individually tailored training plans to suit your ambitions. It asks you about your busy times in the week, how often you want to run and when you’ll be able to get runs in to ensure you’ll be able to stick to your plan. (Get a two week free trial with code: R4W)

Build up: If you’ve never run before, don’t let that put you off setting yourself a running goal for 2024. There are plenty of methods that can get you there, such as the NHS’s Couch to 5K. Incorporating both running and walking into your training will help to build up your fitness, strength and stamina. And when you reach your 5K milestone there are plenty of Parkruns and Parkrun challenges to keep you busy and give you something to aim for, or even set your sights on longer distances too. Joining a local running group can be a good idea too, from both a safety and sharing knowledge perspective.

Cross-train: Many runners often forget the importance of cross training in their weekly plans, but these are so important in helping to build up strength and prevent injury. Strength and conditioning as well as stretching sessions are essential – so put in some squats, lunges and calf raises into your weekly workouts.

Don’t forget to rest and recover: You might be in the flow of your training plan and want to cram in as many running sessions as possible, but it’s vital you make time for rest too. This is when you’re allowing your body to rest and repair from the stresses it’s been put under throughout your training. So don’t forget to hydrate, eat well and get plenty of sleep.