As I take stock of this past year and begin anew, I’m aware of the valuable lessons I carry with me– some serious, some fun, some inspiring and some practical. All of these, however, add up to usher me into the new year with more knowledge and confidence as a runner. In no particular order, here are some of the takeaways I’m stowing along with me into 2017.

Running with family is a reward like no other: There’s nothing quite like sharing what you love to do with the ones you love. Making the transition to Omaha, Nebraska from Saskatoon this past year has surrounded Candace (my partner) and I with an energetic and supportive family. Their support has made running all the more worthwhile.

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Concrete is bad news: Too much training on concrete is a pain in the butt– and other areas of the body. Omaha is a beautiful city to run in, but after experiencing some minor injuries this past summer, I’ve learned to temper my enthusiasm for running along some of the more picturesque routes because they are mostly lined by concrete paths.

Base building is actually fun: Often billed as the boring part of long distance running, base building is something I have found to be an enjoyable phase of training. It’s rewarding to see my weekly mileage going up over the weeks while knowing that I’m doing it patiently. This mileage will benefit me most in the spring, and years to come.

Running without socks = ouch!: Last week, I forgot to pack my socks for a treadmill run at the gym. I thought I could get away with bare feet in my shoes. I was wrong. My blisters are still healing.

Keep races in perspective: I ran my first race in Omaha this past fall. It was supposed to be my big race, but going into it, I knew it wasn’t going to be my best due to some nagging injuries. I wasn’t able to get the result I had trained for, but instead of getting down about it, I embraced it for what it was. Enjoying the race for what it was allowed me to soak up the experience of running in front of family for the first time. 

Trust yourself: Nobody can understand how my body is responding to training better than I can. This isn’t to suggest that I ignore the advice of experts, but having that understanding of myself allows me to take what I learn and make the best choices in order to stay healthy and consistent.

Wear reflective gear: I was almost hit by a car a couple of weeks ago. Even though the walk sign was on while I crossed the street, the driver didn’t see me. I was dressed in mostly black. It’s simple enough to throw on a couple of reflective straps, or head lamp.

Nobody does it alone: This is a truth that follows me every year. As I get deeper into my running journey, I’m more and more convinced that it’s the people supporting me who are of utmost importance in helping me reach my goals.

Big bathtubs are always welcome: Jet blasting tubs filled with warm water, epsom salts and bubbles are a sweet, sweet treat after a long, or cold run. I discovered this after running in a rain storm on Christmas Day. Upon completion, I was greeted at my sister-in-law’s home to one of these beauties waiting for me upstairs.

If I had to pick one takeaway to carry with me into this new year it would be this: There’s no greater joy in life than to follow your passions and dreams no matter what the perceived risk may be.


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