I don’t feel the need to provide an elaborate and loquacious introduction to this blog post, so without further ado…
What I learned in 2014: PRs are awesome!
Except for the one 5k I did this past year, every other race I ran was a PR, whether it was a default PR because it was a new distance (6k, 8k, 10 mile) or due to a stronger effort (4 mile, 10k, half marathon, marathon). It feels phenomenal to say I knocked 20 minutes off my half marathon time, and PRed my marathon by such a significant margin that I don’t feel like the two races are even comparable. I don’t know who this person is who has been running races, but I sure do like taking credit for it!
What that means for 2015: Figure out a different way to measure success
This PR streak has certainly been fun, and although I’m sure I’ll manage at least one more PR in the upcoming year, I know it has to come to an end at some point. That means I’ll have to change my definition of success for races in which I don’t PR. By saying that, I don’t mean settling for a lesser result. What I hope to figure out is how to make the most of every race regardless of the outcome.
What I learned in 2014: Swag is awesome!
Race swag can be amazing! That includes everything from race shirts and medals to finish line food and anything else leading up to or following a race that comes included with the prices of registration. Out of the eight races I rain in 2014, I received 4 medals, significantly expanding my previous collection of one medal earned in seven years of running. Swag can also be seriously lacking, such as any race that does not provide chocolate milk at the finish line. That won’t prevent me from running the same race again in the future, but I will make a note of it in my post-race survey.
What that means for 2015: More considerations when choosing future races
In addition to race distance, race location, and the cost of registration, race swag now also makes my list of considerations when choosing which races to run. The other factors still take priority, but if I can also manage to get a little swag and some awesome finish line food, then I’m all about it!
What I learned in 2014: Injuries are annoying!
In addition to having the best year of running of my life (so far), I also had the year with the most injuries (so far). Nothing derailed my training for more than about a week at a time, but runners as a breed tend to run through injuries. While giving cursory effort to recovery and rehab, the thoughts going through my head acknowledged that any little twinge is cause for concern, and any persistent or progressive pain has the potential to ruin my running future. OK, that last statement might be a little extreme and influenced by too many scary articles about runners, but it is one possible consequence. Running is incredibly physically demanding, and that means I have to take good care of my body.
What that means for 2015: R&R
Should any injuries come up (or persist from last year) I need to take care of them rather than run through them. This requires a focus on the long-term impact of running because small little niggles will never stop me from running, but the cumulative impact very well might. I have some big races in my future that I would like to run, and run well, so I need to take everything seriously at this point, including rest and recovery.
What I learned in 2014: Racing is awesome!
Nothing beats the thrill of pre-race excitement and the indulgence of post-race celebration. PRs, swag, and milestones (like qualifying for the Boston Marathon or taking first in my age group to win the first athletic award of my life other than a participant ribbon) increase that exhilaration exponentially. Racing is plain ol’ fun!
What that means for 2015: Keep it up!
Last year was amazing, and I’m hoping for more of the same this year!
(Original post published here!)