Saturday, January 4, 2014

Looking Back To Move Ahead

You've most likely heard the saying that you don't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been.

Going into 2013, I wasn't quite sure where the road was going to take me. Even though I had made the decision to take my running more seriously, I really didn't have much of a plan and it showed. Yeah, I was signed up for a couple of half marathons and yeah, I was going to try to run regularly but that was basically it. In hindsight I was fortunate that things started off as well as they did and I can honestly say that I may have made every possible mistake a runner could make.

Be it running in sub-par shoes and cotton socks, not eating properly, not getting enough sleep, not having a plan; you name it, I was doing it wrong. Fortunately, because of the interwebz and social media, there is a great network of runners to fall back on.

So what did I learn in 2013?

Most importantly I learned it all starts with what's on your feet. Think about it for a minute, a half-fast runner like myself takes over 1300 strides per mile and our feet are the link between our body and the road. If there is any piece of advise I could give a new runner, it would be to go to your closest running store and get fitted for a pair of shoes that are right for you.

Once I made the leap into a real pair of running shoes, Newton Sir Issac S, I immediately noticed an improvement in all facets of my running and couldn't believe the difference they made. My form improved, I got a little faster and I didn't get blisters.

The second lesson learned was that in order to improve, you need to have a training plan in place. Whether you get a free plan, buy a plan or hire a coach, I can't stress enough that you need to have a plan! I was foolish enough to believe that all miles were created equal and that you got better just by running.

Was I ever wrong.

For the first 7 months of the year I would run as hard as I could at whatever distance I felt like doing on a particular day. Sure I was seeing some improvement but once I actually committed to following a training plan, I made a stunning observation, I was becoming more consistent. Imagine that!

Going forward in 2014 what I need to work on most is to listen to my body. I have the tendency to try to run through ailments which then linger and get worse when a few days of rest would have been a better option. I need to realize that I run for fun and an extra day or 2 of rest will yield positive results. Besides, I can always work on strengthening some other body part if it is just an isolated injury.

I also need to improve my diet. We did get better in 2013 and generally we have a pretty healthy diet with limited indulgences (although the holidays didn't help). If anything we tend to not have a proper balance of nutrients as well as under-eat. Definitely have a lot of room for improvement.

All in all, 2013 was a good year with some lessons learned and progress made; now it's just a matter of carrying that forward into 2014.

So, stay healthy my friends and may 2014 be a year full of PR's for all!


  1. I can't agree more about the shoes! I bought into the "barefoot" style of running shoes, and I had these Nike Frees custom made for me. They're really pretty, but they did horrible damage to my knees. Once I got fitted for shoes that weighed a little more (and were NOT as pretty haha), my knees have been almost perfect!

    Happy New Year!

    1. Glad to hear that new shoes helped your knees.

      I went to the other extreme and bought a cheap pair at Walmart. Since I hadn't planned on getting this into running I figured they do. It wasn't until I started getting into longer distances that I realized they were killing me.

      Have a great 2014!