Brittany Moran is a chiropractor at The Runner’s Academy, a run coach, founder of StrideWise Running, and a 12-time marathon finisher, with a personal best clocking at 2:33:37. In the past nine years, she’s brought down her finishing time by 23 minutes. So when she says she has tips for enjoying your 2023 season, and is willing to boil them down into bite-sized nuggets, we listen. This is the story of your upcoming success, according to the great Brittany Moran.
Reflect on your past season and year.
What was good about your routine, what was not? Don’t commit to something for no reason. Reflect on what’s compelling your goal and how you could improve on the day to day.
Before setting your 2023 compass, look at your 2022 results. Where do you think you can improve?
Look deeper into your previous year than just saying, for instance, I felt fatigued at 35K. Think about your training—day by day, week by week: What could be better? What could you spend more time on?
Your race in the new year is just one day. So visualize and reflect on your process.
This year, keep a training log, stay engaged. And remember what the big goal is: Do you want to run fast this one season or run for the rest of your life?
Consistency over time is where you see improvement.
I’m nine years into my journey and still growing everyday.
With regards to 2023 goals, don’t try to do everything. Choose something big and commit to it, but be thoughtful about what you’re going to stick to—then stick to it. Having process goals keeps you accountable and engaged and the side effect is typically improved performance.
It also gives you something to focus on and achieve week to week rather than having the only achievement be race day.
There’s a real risk in biting off more than you can chew. And doing none of it. More effective strategizing is to choose one or two things you can actually commit to, and follow through.
If you set out to do ten things, and do none of them, your net win is nothing.
Think about strength training. If you’re currently doing none, anything is improvement.
It doesn’t have to be three times a week for one hour. Set yourself achievable goals.
Something, as opposed to nothing, is always beneficial.
I like to think of it as process versus outcome goals.
Process is something you do weekly that helps you get to the outcome you desire.
A lot of us want that shiny new PB, without first crafting a well thought out plan. What are you going to change between now and race day—on a daily basis—to make the outcome goal happen?
Don’t fixate on the outcome goal. Fixate on your daily routine.
Which means you have to enjoy the process. The outcome is one day.
What if the weather is weird, you don’t feel well, your shoes pinch, anything. You don’t want to get to the finish line and say your season was a failure. You’re about to spend four months on something.
Active recovery will help you stay healthy through the season.
Even on day’s off, keep moving well. Mobility and active stretching is different for everyone, but everyone needs something. I do active isolated stretching every night and mobility exercises before I run.
It’s important to check in on yourself through your season as to how you’re doing. Listen to your body. Your body won’t lie.
Remember, and this is important for runners who tend to believe if you can’t do something perfect they won’t do it at all: Something is better than nothing and trying something new is better than skipping an important part of the process just because you’ve been skipping it all along.
Sleep is HUGE, it is honestly the most potent performance enhancer and injury prevention strategy, and guess what? It is free and legal! If we are not sleeping enough, we are not able to recover and therefore all the hard work we are doing is not effective.
Fuelling better, for me, meant I just ate more. Whatever it was, I ate more of it.
I’ve had three stress fractures over the last nine years and don’t want that to happen again. I’m happy to exchange being heavier at the start line for being at the start line, every day.
Eat healthy. But I’ve stopped putting restrictions on what I eat. From a performance standpoint, it’s been helpful. Pasta, stirfrys, eggs. And Shalane Flanagan’s cookbook.
I also make homemade granola on the weekends. Having healthy, easily accessible snacks available is key so I always know I have something I can eat.
Success, I think, comes down to preparation. And consistency. Even something great won’t make a difference if it isn’t done over time.
A few more things? OK. I think generally people run their recovery runs too fast. I sometimes do too.
If you’re training, you have to make time to recover. Do your slow runs slowly, that way you can run faster on the fast days, and that is truly where you will see the gains.
What other things? I like to include workouts in my long runs. But be careful with that, it needs to be eased in. Generally I find every other week is good for that exercise but talk to your coach.
Adding pickups to a long run is hard. You know what else is hard? Racing.
At the end of the day, you’re working on the process, so enjoy the process—the journey.
The race is a celebration of the hard work you did.
Last thing: winter running shoes are a game changer for working towards those spring goals—yes, they are worth it!