One group goes out and tries to log as many miles as possible.
The other group doesn't do much at all.
I suggest that you don't do either of these things during the preseason.
I have come up with six tips to make sure you are ready to race, and race fast during the next track or cross country season.
The first and most important thing to do is set some smart goals for yourself.
Staying motivated can be challenging with no competitions to look forward to.
Have an ultimate goal like, "I will run the 5K under 19:00.
" Stay focused week to week on this goal by making smart goals.
An example of a great goal would be to say, "I will run four to five times this week.
Each run will be 30 minutes or longer.
" SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and setting a Timetable.
The week to week plan keeps you moving forward to your ultimate in season goal.
Now that you have an idea of what you want to do, make sure you don't increase your mileage more than 10% per week.
This tried and true rule helps protect you from injury.
Let's say you ran 25 miles the week before.
This means you should only increase your mileage by 2.
5 miles this week.
It doesn't take long to get the miles pretty high with this rule, so don't panic.
If you are still itching to exercise more, you can always do a different aerobic activity to help get in shape.
This leads to the next tip.
Stay active by doing other aerobic activities other than running.
Here is something that made my high school coach crazy.
I hardly ever ran in the preseason, but I played a ton of basketball.
He wanted me to run instead of playing basketball because of the risk of injury.
Well, I avoided hurting myself and I came into the season in pretty good shape.
Was it as good as running? No.
I ran in college preseasons which made me much better.
The best thing is to run and do another activity, like swim, bike, or lift weights.
You could even join a yoga or pilates class.
Do something else that will get the heart rate up.
Don't rot in front of a TV or computer monitor.
Still worried about being motivated to run.
Grab a teammate to run with in the off-season.
It is much easier to keep on running if someone else is doing it too.
Get a good group of your friends running in the preseason, and your team will team will improve right along with you.
Don't just do long slow runs.
Long slow runners are made when all you do is long slow distance runs.
Work some speed in there.
If it is just doing strides after a run, great.
You can do even more by including tempo runs, or hill runs in your preseason activities.
The final tip, check your shoes.
Are they worn down? Probably.
Remember to get a new pair every 350-500 miles.
When you go get some new ones, see if there is a running specialty store near where you live.
Visit this store and have them analyze your foot type so you get the right training shoe.
The right shoe can prevent injury or unneeded pains like shin splints.
So now you know my top tips for the preseason.
Set smart goals.
Don't run to many miles.
Live an active lifestyle.
Get a running buddy.
Work some speed in those workouts, and make sure you have some fresh training shoes.
Good luck and get after it!