Dissecting and analyzing training and races gone wrong is inherent when participating in a sport like running. If you’re like me, you spend countless hours attempting to figure out the cause of even the slightest mishaps. The will to understand and fix the problems is unrelenting– we self-educate, reflect, visit coaches and physiotherapists, etc. It’s all part of working towards successfully executing the plan. We have bigger goals and smaller goals. These smaller goals are often building blocks to reaching the bigger, overall focus. These goals, I think, deserve as much pause for thought as the mistakes we make.
However, many runners, including myself, are often too quick to overlook these little achievements. We tend to be too eager to move on to the next challenge. There’s a lot to learn from acknowledging and celebrating these smaller accomplishments. Not pausing to learn from the experience and letting it resonate is a missed opportunity. Usually, the lessons we take from the small victories are valuable in the future.
I write about this from a recent experience as I enter into my base phase of training. Those who follow my blog know that one of the biggest challenges I face as a runner is slowing down, and being patient with training. It’s something I need to constantly remind myself of and I haven’t always been successful at doing so. I believe, this is partly because I haven’t taken the time to acknowledge the smaller achievements when they happen and file these lessons away for when I need them.
I recently managed to avoid what could have become a season-long battle with an overuse injury. That was a result of jumping into high mileage too quickly in November. Instead of trying to push through, I backed off and committed to only using the bike or elliptical week-by-week until I felt the pain in my ankle subsiding during small test runs. There were many days I was tempted to get on the treadmill thinking: “it will be okay, I’ll just give it a try today.” I would then quickly remind myself to use my inherent discipline to stick to the plan. I instead got on the elliptical to see if it would pay off, which it did.
Over the course of a month, I brought myself back to being healthy and able to enter into base training with solid weekly mileage. From here, I’ll continue to build my base, slowly and surely. And from this experience, I’ve banked into my mental files that determination is just as effective in reaching these smaller goals as it is in achieving the bigger ones.