As we near the end of another year, we naturally move to reflection. In setting goals for the year ahead we ask ourselves whether we were successful in accomplishing what we had originally set out to do. The following questions may help you reflect on the previous year as you move toward an even better year to come:
Were the goals I set realistic and did they hurt or hinder my goal of a healthy lifestyle?
Did I achieve my goals? Why or why not?
What did I accomplish this year outside of running?
Did my running bring balance or imbalance to my life?
Once you have reflected upon the previous year, determine which challenges or adventures you want to tackle. And then ask:
Do I have the time to train for and prepare adequately for the challenge?
How will I balance my training and the rest of my life (work, family, friends, rest, diet, etc.)?
Are there qualifying standards or races I need to run to be eligible? If so, have I qualified or will I be able to include them in my schedule?
Do I need to be selected in a lottery? Have I already been selected or have I qualified and registered for the lottery? What is my backup plan if I don’t get in?
Once you have selected the challenge(s) that most interest you it is important to prioritize them. Decide which challenge is most important and what you need to do to meet that goal. If something on your list conflicts with your main goal, move it to next year’s list.
Once you have identified your priorities begin to plan backward with the end in mind. Ask yourself:
What will I need to do to feel mentally and physically prepared for the challenge?
How long will that preparation take?
What other activities will compliment this preparation?
Am I committed to make it happen?
Do I know others who have done what I want to do? What can I learn from them?
Adapt and Adjust
As with most things in life, even our best plans must be adjusted. We get sick, we have to travel, we have last minute meetings or family emergencies. This is normal and our lives and plans must be flexible enough to account for such unforeseen occurrences. Remember that we run to live, not live to run. Let’s not get so invested in a race or a goal that if and when it doesn’t go as expected, we spend the rest of the year disappointed. I hope that each of us will be able to make running and its many benefits a part of our lives for years to come.
Jacob Puzey is national champion road and cross country runner and an IAAF, USATF, & McMillan Running certified running coach. Jacob coaches athletes of all ages & abilities from all over the world to help them achieve their goals on all distances and services. To learn more about the coaching services he provides visit www.peakrunperformance.com