American Author Henry David Thoreau said, "never look back unless you are planning on going that way". Clearly with all respect to Mr Thoreau, in my opinion, he's wrong.
I listen to a wonderful podcast Gaincast with Martin Bingisser and Legendary Coach Vern Gambetta. One episode they discussed, looking back to move forward may at first seem counterintuitive, but by looking back you can gain perspective.
A wonderful analogy is the rower - facing the complete opposite direction they intend on going, but with guidance, with training and knowledge they know exactly how to reach that finish line. Do they get it wrong sometimes, well I'd say so - but they still move forward all be it a little slower perhaps.
What does this mean for the recreational runner? Great question and this is exactly the time you should be thinking like a rower. What direction are you heading in 2020? What are your goals? I suspect like all runners and the runners at runLOCAL, it's to run faster or longer this year. Perhaps it's to start running after a few false starts - forced or unforced.
Perhaps you had an injury ravaged 2019 or you didn't hit any goal you'd published all over social media on January 1st 2019 and you want to put all behind you, don't!
Don't dwell on it, but don't forget it - LEARN FROM IT! What went wrong? What you can change? Did you have a plan or process, perhaps that's where it went wrong and it's time to put pen to paper or finger to iPhone and plan your 2020 running goals and process.
Looking back, where should you start? Well if you're like most runners you'll probably have every run you did on Strava, Training Peaks, RunKeeper or the many others apps used these days.
If injury, illness or even motivation got hold of you at any point during 2019 - go to that point and look at what you did in the preceding 2-3 weeks. That's right, the majority of running injuries (>70%) are training volume/load errors so it's a cumulative effect rather than an acute injury like kicking the corner of the coffee table on one particular day. That does really hurt by the way...
Take 30 minutes (that's less than a Mona Fartlek will take you) to write down 3 things you can improve or do better this year and 3 things you absolutely nailed! But remember just because you nailed something doesn't been it can be improved.
I coach a range of runners that all have their own goals, just like you do - some want to break 25mins for parkrun and some want to run their first marathon and how's this.. one has her sights set on completing Marathon Des Sables - known as the Sahara Marathon, 251kms over 6 Days. (AMAZING!)
As a coach, how do I help my runners "look back like a rower"? Late December I sent them all a survey and asked, What are your goals this year? What will you do differently this year that will help you achieve that goal. As a coach I also asked my runners what it was I COULD DO better to help them.
Being more consistent was a popular thing the runners highlighted as something they wanted to improve on - it's now time for both myself and the runner to put a "realistic process" in place to achieve - improved consistency - amongst the other improvements they themselves identified by looking back to look for positive changes.
If you'd like to chat over the phone, over coffee or email on how I can help you to look back to move forward - pop me a message.
See you on the start line.