Reflecting on Your Running Year

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before the New Year
Ask yourself what worked (and what didn’t) this year to set inspiring goals for 2017.

I usually answer questions in this column, but this time, I’m writing them. As we begin to dream of all the successes the new year may bring, it is smart to reflect on this past year. Ask yourself the following questions before the ball drops, and they can lead you to a year of improvement, achievement and consistent motivation.

What were my three favourite athletic moments of the year?

Whether this means looking through your training diary or your Instagram account, identify three successful and happy moments you experienced in the last 12 months.

One of my favorite moments this year happened in the middle of a women’s mountain-biking clinic. All of the women on the trail, including me, were apologising (I’m sorry!) to each other at every turn, root or rock. Our instructor stopped us and suggested we change our language and thank each other for being patient instead of apologising. As we rode forward and began to do just that, it completely transformed the energy of the group and boosted our confidence to practice the skills we had learned.

This stayed with me because, within a minute, that one change of phrase completely rewired my thinking and empowered me to venture outside of my comfort zone and embrace the support of the group.

The truth is, sometimes our favourite moments aren’t impressive, but they can lead us to new heights. Take time to honour and celebrate the positive moments this year. Let the good energy carry you forward.

What were my challenges this year?

As you review your year, it’s also smart to look at the tough moments. We may not like thinking about setbacks or failures, but when we do, we can more easily learn and grow from them.

One of my challenges this year was the slow and painful process of coming back from breaking my wrist (and the resulting surgery) after falling off my bike. It was a much more complex journey than I expected – I didn’t know I would have to relearn how to balance my body while walking and running, or regain my range of motion and dexterity, or tackle a newfound fear of riding on technical terrain. Still, these challenges taught me how to be more patient with myself and the healing process and how one weakness often leads to many in the body, but that in time, the healing process happens.

Challenges can often lead us to discovery and growth. My fall on my mountain bike led me to start riding a gravel bike, which led to training with a fun, new group, getting hooked on Strava, and riding a nighttime gravel race. It opened a fresh, new way to live actively and revived my fitness routine. Whether our struggles are running-related or more general, they can be our greatest guide.

What inspires me now?

It’s natural to go through phases with exercise – what seemed fresh and exciting at this time last year may now seem tired and stale. You may have run your 100th half-marathon and you can’t quite get your mojo going to run another. This is the perfect time to write down three things you think you want to achieve in the new year and then let them percolate to see if they stick. A goal that truly motivates you will do so not just today, but also days and weeks in the future.

Write your goals down, post them on your fridge, and see if you’re still jazzed about them two weeks from now. If not, continue to seek out something that inspires you. Take your time. It may be weeks before something comes to you, and that is okay. You may choose to simply run for fitness, or to start cycling, or to try a new yoga class, or to train for a triathlon. Taking some time away from your usual goals and distances is sometimes what you need to feel inspired.

Happy holidays.


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