This is the first year I won’t be reflecting on my previous goals or setting new ones. I’ve always loved setting goals, but this year reminded me that a year is a really long time. So many things can happen to throw us off track. At the end of this year I “revised” my goals and made them short-term. This was more manageable, but I also didn’t feel as much pressure to stick to them. For some people, goals are really important and help them to be successful at what they want to achieve. I think for me, it adds undue stress because my Type A personality likes to accomplish everything I set out to do.
I’m not even going to look back at my goals for 2016 as I write this. I don’t want to feel like the year was unsuccessful. It certainty wasn’t. By focusing on all the things I didn’t achieve I feel like it would undermine all the things that I accomplished. Instead, I am simply going to reflect on what I learned this year and how I changed along the way.
Reflections on the Past Year
Thinking back on the early part of 2016, I probably needed more of a break than I realized. I had completed a marathon in November 2015, and took some time off from racing, but was still trying to keep up with long runs and other workouts. When I wasn’t progressing the way I would have liked, I became frustrated with myself. I started adding in some workouts to prepare myself for a 10k in April and the first month or so was a real struggle.
The spring was pretty successful with 3 PRs. (I already wrote about that in my Year of Running post). After race #4 I ended up with a relentless foot injury that lasted well into the fall. All summer I was fighting it, and I think it was a mental battle more than anything. Logically, I couldn’t understand why it happened and why it wasn’t getting better. I still don’t know the answers to those things, and I have learned that sometimes these problems just don’t make sense. Those months forced me to slow down, really learn to listen to my body, and let go of some of my own expectations of myself.
When I finally started to just let go of it all, I started to see real improvements. I don’t even know how much I can attribute my recovery to PT (although I’m sure that helped), it really seemed like there was more to it than that. From October through December I ran without caring how far or fast I went. There would be random days where I “noticed” my foot, but rather than get angry and frustrated all over again, I just let it be. Sometimes that meant an extra day off from running, other days I did run but just did what I could.
Last week I finally got back to running in the double digits. This wasn’t something I felt like I should do before the end of the year, but after I finished I thought about how great it was to be able to end the year with a strong run. I think the Lisa of 2015 would have set a goal to run 10 miles before the new year, and would have ended up forcing myself to do that even if I wasn’t ready.
Intentions for 2017
So my intention for 2017 is to be able to carry over this training style and mindset. I want to be able to continue running and enjoying it. Maybe that will involve training for more races or maybe it won’t. I still have time goals I want to achieve but this year has taught me that I would rather run 3 slow miles feeling good than fight with myself to run a specific workout. If I could figure out a way to prepare for a race using this laid-back style that would be great. However, it’s so new for me that I would fear getting caught up in my old ways.
2017 is a blank slate and anything is possible. I’m excited to be looking back on it in 365 days or so and seeing how it turned out.
Did you work towards goals in 2016?
What do you want to accomplish in the new year?