It’s been a few years since I did any serious running. Things went off the rails due to a heel injury and had to hang up the shoes for a few months, winter came and went and getting back out there was difficult to me.
In the meantime, I gained weight, felt poorly about myself and made a few attempts at running and then missed a run, then a week of runs, then a month, etc.
Laziness is a curse.
Let’s face it, if you want to change an outcome you need to change your actions. So this year I changed things up …
I know myself pretty well and I know what worked before so here are some of the things I did or are doing.
Set a Goal
To me the most important thing is to set a goal. “Do you have a goal race” is runner chat but it’s crucial for me. If I am not working towards something it’s hard for me to be honest with myself if I stray.
For this year in late December I decided to sign up for the 5 Peaks running series. As it sounds it’s a five race series in and around the GTA often scampering up hills, ski and otherwise, and has a good reputation for being well run. Now I had a goal … five goals actually … and because they are in the Spring and Fall I need to build a plan for most of the year.
I worked for HP for 18 years and there was a saying attributed to one of their founders, which up on internet searches may confirm he didn’t say it at all but its “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”.
To me this is why a plan is critical. Any runner from a ‘couch to 5k’ to an Olympic athlete needs a plan. For me, building a plan, updating my progress and adjusting the plan is incredibly motivating. Sometimes positively “holy crap look at all the running I did’ or negatively ‘that red mark on the spreadsheet is shaming me’.
There are lots of plans out there and they are variations on the same methodology. I use Hal Higdon’s plan. It’s online and its free. I put it into a spreadsheet and track my progress. It keeps me honest even if I am not honest with myself.
I think at the core of running, whether for fitness or competing in races, it’s an individual sport. In those moments when we are challenged to keep the pace in a race or on a long run working to get home, it’s a personal struggle and overcoming these challenges is what makes it so rewarding.
Second only to that is the joy and comfort you get socializing with other runners. I am building my way back up to run with the Barrie RunNinjas group, which I was an original member. The amount of encouragement and growth seen within that group is incredible.
The other aspect is social media. Strava is a favorite app for me. I enjoy uploading my runs and having it as a database for every run I ever did. I also love seeing, sharing and encouraging the work and accomplishments of others. At the heart of it we all have our own goals. We all need encouragement whether is ‘Just Nailed A Boston Qualifier’ or ‘First 5K Run This Year’ it’s all amazing.
Relearning The Lessons
Here are a couple of lessons I have relearned:
The hardest stride you’ll make is the first one out the door.
You may regret starting a run at the beginning but you’ll never regret finishing a run at the end.
You don’t know the wind is at your back until you turn around to face it.
Thanks for reading and I hope to see you out there!