Saturday, January 4, 2014
Looking Back To Move Ahead
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!