‘New Year, New You’ always spring to mind at this time of year. 

Whereas years ago for me it meant a whole new year ahead of planning for races and PBs, nowadays it is much less exciting. 

However, we all need goals to try and stay on track and keep motivated and that still includes myself whether it be for my own personal challenges or of course for those who I coach and advise. 

These goals need to be realistic though as if not it will more often than not lead to burnout long before the end results. 

Either through mental overkill or when it comes to running, stress related injuries due to doing too much too soon. 

It’s great seeing people all excited and up for a challenge. But trying to perhaps curb and hold back some of the early over eagerness can be key to maintaining a long-term effort. 

Goal setting should also be ones where you have short, medium and long term plans. 

For instance, the new beginner runner, particularly if they don’t have youth on their side, could do far worse than following the couch to 5k programme. 

It is one which is carefully balanced to allow people to take on the training/exercise load at a very gradual rate whilst allowing the body to recover and adapt to what is a steady progression. 

At the same time, it is not a problem if you have to go back a week or two here and there. 

Then of course once the challenge has been completed, the next goal is ready to be taken on. Simple but very effective. 

Whilst January is always mega busy at Sportlink, apart from all the seasoned athletes who are gearing themselves up for the year ahead, it is the beginners who we really do go out of our way for when it comes to advice. 


Well, whilst getting a good pair of running shoes on your feet is an essential requirement, so is careful and gradual planning ahead as already alluded to in this column and all our staff are highly qualified and experienced when giving out such advice. 

Yes – this really is an exciting time of year for those who have set themselves some goals for 2024 but remain patient and don’t get downhearted if you don’t always come up with the goods. If anything, and if you do fall a little short, so what? Look at the positives - you are hopefully already further ahead than when you started out and more to the point any minor setbacks can be used for further motivation to keep going until you do succeed. 

Sadly, I must end my first column of the year with a short tribute to another one of Norfolk’s great running characters who has now departed to that great running track in the sky. 

Lou Miller, known to so many people through not only his many years of running but as a well-respected and very popular member of the community, passed away last weekend, aged 93. 

A long-time member of the Norwich Road Runners going right back to the mid-1980s for which he really has been a standout runner and personality in so many local races during what has been four and a bit decades.   

Eastern Daily Press: Lou Miller with a special jersey which was presented to him with some of his most significant races

Always finishing with a big smile on his face and a huge round of applause from those watching. 

Among his 700 completed races, which he did at Norwich Road Runners' midweek 5K race in 2018, were three London Marathons (PB 4 hours, 3 mins aged 65 in 1995) and two ultra marathons. 

However, and like many other people, whilst the pandemic put a stop to his racing commitments, not to be out done, he completed several virtual runs including what was the virtual England Half Marathon and then on his 90th birthday, he ran 5km. 

Not just any old 5km though. 

Eastern Daily Press: Lou Miller on the start line of the 5km run which was organised by his daughters, Sarah, Rachel and

To celebrate his big day, wife Cynthia, along with daughters Rachel and Sarah, whilst bedecked in marshals bibs, organised and measured out a course which consisted of doing laps round his garden along with banners, a drinks station and a start and finish line. Oh, and I am sure time keeping was covered too. 

Over the many years of knowing Lou, I have had countless running conversations with him, but none stand out more than when he used to tell me all about his challenge of running all the footpaths, tracks, and trails around Norfolk. 

From what I remember he would do a different footpath each week which of course also meant updating me on his progress each time I saw him. 

Eastern Daily Press: Lou Miller with daughters Sarah, Rachel, and wife Cynthia after having completed 700 competitive

Not only did I enjoy listening to his ventures, but it also led me to thinking that one day this was something I would like to do albeit back then most of the trails were not so well kept and trail running itself was nowhere near as popular as it is today. 

As I said to his daughter Rachel earlier this week – a super guy who was clearly well ahead of his time. RIP Lou Miller and keep on running wherever you are…