What Should You Do If You Didn’t Achieve Your Running Goal(s) This Year?

runningfailure

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

Hello Runners,

If you have run your event(s) for the year, or will do so soon, I recommend that you take some time off from running after your event(s) are done. In fact, I recommend taking at least two weeks and as many as five weeks off. I would not recommend taking more than five weeks because you will lose a significant amount of fitness that you trained so hard to gain this year!

However, physically and mentally, your body can benefit from some time off from running. This might be a great time to reconnect with family and friends, or do some other activities you wanted to do, but didn’t have time for while training. Recently, I chatted with my brother, who lives in California, for about three hours. I chat with him every other week, however it’s often after my long runs and is usually for no more than an hour. I’ve also made more time to play guitar, which has been a lot of fun!

I hope that your season was successful and that you achieved your running goals for this year. However, if you didn’t achieve them, don’t get discouraged. Recently, I’ve been reading Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, which discusses the power of passion and perseverance and thus, seems relevant to this post.

This year I did not achieve my goal of breaking three hours in the marathon, but I’m not going to give up! Instead, I will reflect upon what worked and what didn’t work and learn from this, as I prepare for my next attempt. I think back to how it took me a few marathons to break 3:15, and how many days I looked at that goal on my refrigerator door. However, I persevered and not only broke 3:15, but once I did, I said to myself, I can train better and break three hours.

So, if you didn’t achieve your running goals for this year, don’t get discouraged for long. Instead, take a few minutes to reflect about the following…

What worked this year for you? What were your successes?

Were you more consistent with your training, speed work, warmups, strengthening exercises, stretching and foam rolling?

Did you explore some new areas with your runs, meet some new people that you ran with?

Were you better with your hydration and fueling during long runs and/or your event?

Were you making food choices that helped you better optimize your running performance?

I was happy with my training consistency and most of my speed workouts this year, although I could have done more speed work. I explored some new areas with my long runs, which made them more enjoyable! For most of this past year I was consistent with my training and noticed significant improvements in my core strength. I got to run with a friend on a consistent basis, which also made training more enjoyable.

What didn’t work and could be improved upon? If you could go back and change anything in your training, what you did during race week, the morning before your event, during the event itself, what would you change?

Were you set back by any injuries?

Was your training plan not appropriate for your goals, fitness level, and time you had available for training?

Did you not make hydration and nutrition a priority and this held you back?

Did life get in the way of your training at any point? 

As my training progressed, I was not as consistent with my strengthening exercises and foam/lacrosse ball rolling and stretching. This most likely contributed to some plantar fasciitis that developed. Fortunately, I addressed this quickly, and as a result, I only had to take minimal time off from running. However, this was a reminder that I needed to be more consistent with my strengthening exercises and foam/lacrosse ball rolling and stretching. I will prioritize these more next year, and either wake up earlier or perform these during the day.

I also had to cut a few speed workouts short because I ran out of time and will need to plan better for them next year.

Finally, I had an unexpected family matter that I need to go back to New York for, which occurred when my marathon was, so I missed it. At that point, I felt my body and mind needed a break from training and decided not to jump into another marathon shortly afterwards. However, I got in a solid year of training, took a couple of weeks off from running, and have resumed training again for an early spring marathon.  

So, take some time off from running to enjoy other aspects of life and take some time to reflect on your running for this past year. Again, if things didn’t go as well as you had hoped, think about what did go well, and continue doing that, and also think about what didn’t go well and how you might change it.

Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I can be of help in any way.

Your friend and coach,

Brian

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