Across the running blogging community, there have been a slew of posts recapping 2016. I’ve been trying to figure out the angle I want to take with it, and I’ve decided to reflect on the many lessons that have come out of my training and racing this year.
I’ve had a lot of success this year. Nearly every distance saw a PR. The second part of the year was injury free, which led to a very successful marathon training cycle. Mentally, I started getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and learned to trust my gut.
Here are what I believe were my “aha” moments of this past year:
My spring training cycle being derailed by piriformis syndrome: this was my “enough is enough” moment. I realized that I hadn’t ever had a training cycle that didn’t have an injury, and got serious about figuring out why. I went and saw a biomechanics expert and got detailed exercises to correct my muscle imbalances. After just a few weeks I started noticing the difference, and have been injury free since. Lesson: the right strength training makes a difference, and staying injury free will help me see the results I’m looking for in my running.
Hitting a 10k PR Unexpectedly in April: I ran a free 10k put on by the Atlanta Track Club. I finished way quicker than I thought possible and was scared out of my mind almost the entire time. But I managed to hold on and crushed my sub-60 goal. Lesson: push through the fear to find your limits.Lessons learned from a year of running #runchat Click To Tweet
Crashing and burning two hot half marathons: finding the right pacing for a half marathon has continued to be hit or miss for me. Even with tempered expectations, I have had a really hard time with hot half marathons, and crashed at both the Hotlanta Half Marathon and the Diva’s Half Marathon. Both of these races I went out too fast, and thought it deep down, but didn’t adjust. I’ve struggled to find the balance between pushing through fear and pain, and knowing it’s too much and backing off. Lesson: listen more to my gut for the longer distances.
Getting diagnosed with exercise induced asthma: I was having a really hard time breathing in my runs in September, to the point where my throat closed up a bit and I was dry heaving. I went to the allergist expecting to discuss seasonal allergies and got a surprise diagnosis of exercise induced asthma. I was prescribed an inhaler to use on hard effort runs, or runs where the air quality is poor, and it has made a huge difference in my running. Lesson learned: sometimes the struggle isn’t just mental…Go to the doctor!
My longest training run ever: After being sick for a week, I had my 21 miler on the schedule. I was so nervous for it since i hadn’t run all week and still wasn’t feeling 100%. During the run I had a flare up of IT band pain and seriously considered cutting it short. I pushed through and finished it. Lesson learned: I can do hard things (a lesson that running reminds me of over and over again)
Crushing the Richmond Marathon: I went into this race with many anxieties about my pacing and what was a reasonable goal. Once I started the race and stopped stressing about my stats, my body knew what to do. Halfway through the race, I made the conscious decision to push through the pain. I surpassed my A goal (and what even my coach thought was possible) by 5 minutes, and set a 24 minute PR in the process. Lesson learned: trust the training and believe in yourself.Running lessons from 2016 #runchat Click To Tweet
This year really has been a pivotal one for me in my running. I couldn’t end this post without an acknowledgement to my excellent coach, Jesica, who has helped me realize some of these lessons through her coaching. Thanks Jes for your help and patience through my pre race anxieties and post race reflections. 🙂
I’m so looking forward to applying these lessons in 2017 and growing more in my running throughout the year. There are a lot of exciting things in store…I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!
What were your running lessons from 2016?