The Wisest Wrap-Up

The Wisest Wrap-Up

The Wisest Wrap-Up

By Cheryl Hart

As 2005 comes to a close, let''s take time to reflect on our running year to assess what worked and what didn''t. The “out with the old and in with the new” theory should be based on an honest personal inventory … a reality check to determine what to leave in and what to throw out.

We all face the dilemma of time. Each day is teeming with potential, but it is up to us to us to we spend it wisely every day. Managing time is about focus, purpose and priorities. It is about getting rid of the clutter in our lives that robs us physically, mentally and emotionally. Investing this time now to wisely wrap up 2005 will save you time, energy and frustrating setbacks in 2006.

So, where do we start? One of the best resources is your running logbook or journal. If you ran your personal best time this season, look back at how you trained in the months prior to the race. Congratulate yourself for accomplishments before moving too quickly to criticize those areas where you fell short.

If you incurred any injuries, note sudden mileage increases or skipped recovery days. If you didn''t achieve your goals, what were the deterrents?

Careful scrutiny highlights strengths and weaknesses. Athletes tend to steer away from those areas that create difficulty or feelings of inadequacy and devote the majority of time to areas that reinforce ego. Let''s face it. It''s more fun to do what we like, and we like what we do best.

To improve, you must train your weakness. If speed is the problem, commit to track work. If you slow on hills in every race, it''s time to climb. If you tire too quickly before the finish, you need more endurance runs.

Next, ask yourself if the commitment was worth it in the end. How much time, money and energy are you willing to devote to accomplishing your goals?

Plot out all races and goals for the year, assigning each a priority. Then create a detailed plan of action.

If 2005 was an unsuccessful race season, it might have been due to a faulty training program rather than your abilities. It''s time to try a different approach.

Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for different results.”

CHANGE IT UP

Consider adding core-strength and flexibility exercises, cross training, a personal coach or a running form analysis. What is your primary focus? Is it sprint or long-distance? Plan your training specifically to peak for that priority race and use the B and C priority races as steppingstones.

If your running has gone stale, try a new distance and a new event. Consider an out-of-town race with fresh scenery and new competition.

Do you need a running partner to stay on track and to push you? Would you accomplish more by running solo? Maybe you''d benefit from the time to think and the silence to focus on your pace and form. Do you have an unreliable running partner or one who slows you down or drives you too hard?

Is something always popping up to prevent you from squeezing in a run at the end of the day, or do you find excuses not to log some early miles before work? Be realistic about what time of day best suits your schedule and body clock.

If you never use the workout equipment at home, sell it or give it to a charity. Consider a treadmill as an alternative on those cold or rainy days when you can''t push yourself out the door. If a group setting motivates you, consider joining a fitness club.

Clean out and reorganize your workout clothes. Get rid of all those items that you never wear and take inventory of pieces that you need. This is a good way to come up with your Christmas wish list.

This means discarding those threadbare tights, shorts with the dead elastic waistband and the pile of worn out running shoes that you save for mowing the yard. Take an old pair with you when you go to purchase new ones. A knowledgeable salesperson can glean valuable information about how you wear out shoes to determine your specific needs and offset any biomechanical problems.

Finally, buy your 2006 running logbook now so you can anticipate the New Year and sign up for The Hangover Classic Ten Miler on January 1.

The race, which starts at 10 a.m. from Turners Club on River Road, is the ideal way to kick off your running season. I have friends who really bring in the year with style by racing in tuxedos. The Cherokee Road Runners put on a great event and add a special sparkle to the award ceremony by giving winners champagne to go with their award mugs.

Now that you have the incentive, the focus and the plan for the New Year, take a moment to reflect on the miles and memories of 2005 before turning your focus to the roads awaiting you.

Cheryl Hart, owner of 2nd Wind Motivation, helps individuals and corporations establish and achieve goals. She is also a certified personal fitness specialist and spinning instructor. Cheryl is a member of Team USA, winning silver medals in the 2004 World Triathlon and World Duathlon Championships and most recently the bronze in the 2005 World Duathlon Championship in Australia. She was named All-American in triathlon and duathlon (2004). Cheryl has a B.A. in English from Centre College where she served as communications associate, sports information director and cross-country coach. She was Kentucky''s NCAA Woman of the Year (1993) and National Inspirational Athlete of the Year (1994). To contact Cheryl, call 693-7443 or visit www.2ndWindMotivation.com.

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