14 Running Lessons from 2014 that I am using in 2015 (and you can too!)
2014 was a year that was all things running for me. Though I’ve been running for about 5 years, 2014 was a transformational year for me as a runner. I look back and am very proud of what I accomplished.
I also look back and see so many other unexpected lessons I’ve learned. Here is a look at some of my revelations and how I (and you!) can learn from them to apply them in the coming year.
1. You always have more in you than you think you do
I used to be a 3 – 4 days (MAX!) a week runner. I never thought my body was actually capable of doing the types of workouts I am now doing… and running 6-7 days a week sometimes. A coach can definitely help you find that “method to the madness” to make it not seem so daunting. It sure did for me.
2. It’s not easy
And it never really does get easier if you’re constantly pushing yourself to be better and improve as a runner. Keep pushing on, it’s worth it. Yes, it’s a lot of work. But if you’re willing to put in the time and dedication, you WILL reap what you sow.
3. …but some Runs should be Really Easy
This took me a while to wrap my head around. Embrace these runs. Easy running days are the runs that you should truly go out and enjoy a sunset. They will help you reset physically and mentally. Sometimes they will even restore you of that joy of running.
4. Set BIG, Audacious Goals
You hear this a lot on this blog. But it’s true. Boldly and bravely work towards those goals. Don’t let some little bumps in the road or other short-sighted frustrations sideline you. Keep your eye on the prize no matter how crazy it sounds.
If people look at you cross-eyed and “kindly” remind you of how much work/time/energy/dedication it will take… that’s when you’re doing it right. “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyways.” (This has been my mantra the past 12 months.)
5. Believe in your Coach’s Confidence in You
Truly: learn how to channel this. I’m still learning. But they are much wiser than you. They truly have a birds’ eye view of your potential. Sometimes that means doing scary things that you think are out of your comfort zone, but that’s the only way you grow.
6. You always Have more in You
Dig deep. Workouts hurt sometimes. But sometimes the hurt goes away after a mile and it gets better. Sometimes it doesn’t.
7. It may take 5 years to fall in love with Running
For me: a little (or a lot of) guided wisdom this year made all the difference. It took very disciplined structure for me to unlock that love for running.
Don’t give up on it if you think you’re burning out. Take a break. Reset your goals. Try a new method to the madness. You never know when or how that revelation will happen.
8. Be serious about your Goals.
…and your training. It’s the only way to reach those audacious goals! Be honest with yourself. Be tedious. Be diligent. Be disciplined.
9. But have fun too…
I found I run best when I’m simply having fun and can encourage others along the way. My first half marathon that I raced this summer, I was way too focused on my goal. I got so worked up about it, I didn’t have fun. And I know I was capable of a MUCH better performance than what I displayed. Enjoy the race. You train hard for that one day, don’t bonk over being too uptight.
10. Run Fast races with Fast people
Don’t be intimidated of highly-competitive circuit races. Yeah, large field race you may finish in the top 10-20% and still have good competition and a good race. But there is something humbling about finishing in the bottom 10% while racing in a USATFMN circuit race.
It was terrifying for me to race these, and I had many fears of finishing last… but last still beats the ones who didn’t try, right? I truly believe that these are the races you can learn from the best and even run YOUR best races. (Hint: fewer people packed into one area.)
11. Race shorter. Race often
I used to be plagued by this ignorant idea that “Why would I spend money to run a 5K or a 10K when I know I can run a half marathon or a marathon?” It didn’t seem worth it to me. You become a better runner by racing shorter distances. And those dang 5Ks will turn you into a much stronger runner. (I still can’t decide which is more terrible: 3.1 or 26.2!)
12. Third Time’s the Charm
It never occurred to me, until I started training with Antonio, that some workouts might be like race goals. Sometimes they take a few tries to get right. Workouts are intended to be hard. If they aren’t, you won’t get better. Just because one didn’t go right, doesn’t mean the second (or third) time it won’t!
13. Trust the Process
Somedays you think you might be an Olympian one day (ok, not me, ever)… somedays build your confidence up, while others can totally knock that down. Engrain those confidence boosting days in your brain and store them for a not-so-good day.
14. Stay in your Lane
Nobody got to where they are as runner over night. Nobody got there without diligence, dedication and hard work. Don’t compare your chapter 2 to someone else’s chapter 37. It will only tear you down. Don’t compare your race with someone else’s. You’re running YOUR race.
And in honor of 2015… #15 for good luck:
15. Don’t look Back
Keep looking forward. Start a blank page. Yes, use your past accomplishments and failures to help you get closer to your goal. But don’t dwell on them. Use them to your benefit to launch you into a faster, healthier, and stronger 2015!
What lessons did you learn in 2014 that you will apply to 2015?