by Dathan Ritzenhein | Dec 11, 2012 |
Reflection and setting new goals are two things that are always on my mind as the year comes to an end and a new one begins. Being able to look back at your training, races, and bumps along the road can be very helpful to avoid making the same mistake twice.
As a professional athlete I find it very helpful to keep a detailed log of every run, workout, race and lift session. Its also important to include all the little things in your log, such as sore muscles, sickness, travel and injury. This tally of your daily training can be your most helpful resource when setting new goals. It not only allows you to reflect on all the training that led up to the best race of your life, but also allows you to look back and see what might have led you to injury or overtraining. It might seem tedious to log your runs and workouts daily, but when planning for the future, its essential.
When establishing your new goals, its important to remember that success is never a result of one thing, it comes from doing as many things right as possible and avoiding mistakes. This is where your log comes in to play. It is essential to come up with a plan, but try to keep it flexible. A big trap runners can fall into is being addicted to your plan. It is very easy to get caught up in the numbers. Trying to hit an arbitrary number for your weekly mileage, or insisting on getting in a workout on a certain day, are some examples of the factors that lead to injury, overtraining, and bad performance. I can look back at almost all my injuries and identify how they could have been avoided. So keep a detailed log about every part of your training! You can study it and try to avoid the same pitfalls in the future, or maybe catch it in time to avoid something big.
Another helpful thing to do is work backwards. Identify your goal and start planning your racing and training working from the goal back to day one of training. By doing this you might find that you have to adjust your goal, but thats okay; better to realize you have to adjust your goal to something attainable in the short term instead of getting in completely over your head. I’m not saying that big goals aren’t important. I think it is actually good to have lifetime goals that might be too big to handle or that you might never attain, because you never accomplish everything you set out to do, but making sure consistent progress is made, helps to keep the fire alive. So have those long term goals that seem like only dreams, but work toward them by setting short term goals that always keep you moving forward.
I have still only accomplished a fraction of my goals, but even with all the setbacks and disappointments, I have still been able to keep my motivation because I try not to look at the things I haven’t yet accomplished and instead I try to think about the next logical step. So put that log on your nightstand, and work backwards avoiding those mistakes and you will keep moving toward those “big goals”!