1. Buy a pen! And then write down your big goal for the year on a piece of paper that you won’t lose. Sounds simple doesn’t it? There’s plenty of proof it works. At the start of his training year, Kevin Young, the World record holder for 400 hurdles wrote down on a mirror he would win the Olympic Games in 46.7, exactly the time he ran.
2. Set yourself lots of mini-goals on the way that are achievable. If, for instance you plan to complete a 10km in the autumn, set yourself a 5km goal in the spring, then two or three similar runs in the summer. Or if it’s a best-ever 10km, plan in a few faster sessions and shorter races beforehand that will give you a guide to how the big day will pan out. All achievable, all easy to tick off! Don’t set times.
3. Follow a training programme for that goal. Over the next few months there will be plenty of options be it your first ever 10km or if you’re looking for your best-ever marathon. A training plan gets you into a routine and before you know it, running becomes second nature.
4. Join a recreational running group through RunTogether, jog Scotland or Run Wales, or find a running partner, or just join an online community. No surprises here - it’s much easier running with someone and sharing the experience. Plus, clubs or running forums are fabulous places for advice and expert opinion.
5. Go to a store and get your running form analysed. You’ll be amazed at the free expertise that’s on hand to make sure you have exactly the right kit for your needs.
6. Don’t go mad and do it all at once. Start any programme with a week that leaves you thinking you could do much more. Always progress slowly and add no more than 10 per cent of the previous week’s total to your training total.
7. If losing weight is part of your year’s plan remember, losing 1kg (2.2lb) will improve your running performance by 1 per cent.
8. Raise some sponsorship money. It helps with motivation. Sponsorship can involve the event you’re aiming for, or miles completed over the year - 1000 miles, for instance, is a great target at just over 2 miles per day.
9. And don’t forget to reward yourself. Your goal for week one might be run three times. Tick that box, treat yourself. Week two could be run five miles. Do it, tick the box, buy a cappuccino. Mini goal, mini rewards; of course that means, once that major goal is achieved, a major reward is required!