Friday, November 26, 2010
Setting the bar high, and leaving it there
Before I delve into this post, let me stop and say Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I know alot of people really seem to struggle during the holidays with family stresses, financial worries and such, but I hope we all take some time to reflect on just how richly we are blessed to be able to get outdoors and simply run.
As 2010 is quickly winding down, I find myself stepping through a mental ritual that I embark on every year around this time. I've never really consciously realized that I was doing it, but I see it pretty clearly now, and I wonder if I am alone in thinking this way.
With December only a week away, I can't help but venture back in my mind to the previous 11 months or so of training, racing, recovering and wonder to myself "Was it enough?"
Did I train hard enough? ..fast enough? ...often enough?
Did I run enough miles? ...were they quality miles, or just mileage that I could "say" I ran on a training log?
And, for the races, did I really leave it all out there on the course during that marathon last March? What about that 10k in August- did I pull up too early at the Finish line because I was about to pass out?
No matter how good of a year I have logged, I always find areas in which I know I can improve upon. Typically, I'm reasonably satisfied with my mileage. I log roughly 1,700-1,800 miles in the calendar year, so I'm okay with that. Because I follow (for the most part) structured training plans for marathons, I'm okay with accepting that the training is quality-based. As for the number of races I run, I ran about 4 marathons this year, 2-3 half marathons, a handful of 10k's, a handful of 5k's and my first 50k. I'm okay with that volume.
But I still spend alot of mental energy trying to identify what areas are my "weak spots" and how I can improve upon them starting in January. I am definitely a goal-driven guy, and I have to set the bar high for myself in terms of my expectations for race day performance. Without the goal in front of me, my training will ebb and flow all over the place, and I won't be consistent in my running frequency, intensity, or purpose. I've just got to get to the point where I accept the fact that every so often, you have to lower that "high bar" down a few pegs and just go out and run for the sheer joy of it.
That's still a work in progress.