The end of the season is always an enjoyable time for a runner as it is an opportunity to become ‘just’ a person for a short period of time. Tomorrow [Monday] I am flying to Hawaii/New Zealand for a 2+ week long vacation with a buddy, to visit our college roommate who now lives and works down under. But in addition to being able to do some stuff that I don’t normally get the chance to, I can now take a moment to peer back into the season that was and find some lessons that can be used moving forward into the next year of training and racing. I wrote an email to Coach Gags today with some of those ideas, many of which we have previously talked about. I figure the best way to recap this past season is to do so from the perspective of looking ahead. It was a great year and I owe all the thanks in the world to Gags, the entire NJ*NY TC and my sponsor, Hoka One One. Couldn’t be more excited to see what happens next!
“Gags—I wanted to put down to paper some of the thoughts I have had about this year now that the season is over and I had some time to analyze what worked really well, and where I can improve. First off, I am obviously incredibly excited with this season and year in total. I have full confidence in you, the team and the system. Not only was it a great year of racing, but also it was extremely enjoyable work to do day in and day out. I find that I am finishing up my season in the ideal state of mind; happy but not content. This is the first season that I have finished on healthy legs since my sophomore year of college [I stepped on glass a month later though].
In reflection, I think I did a lot of things really well that were instrumental in having a successful year. The thing that stands out is that I got my consistency back. Minus the hiccup in November, and the 6 weeks injured after indoors, I only had a few occasions of missing days. My running log is covered in 70-75 mile weeks, and that showed itself in consistent racing. I was also able to keep my mileage up and training going through race weeks. Making the switch from pre-meet workouts to keeping the tempo on Wednesdays was helpful for maintaining strength until September. I responded well and felt fresh still despite not having any major tapers.
I think the single thing I am most proud of this year has been my management of pre-race anxiety. I was able to stay calm in high-pressure situations, which wasn’t always a strength of mine, but it’s made racing significantly less stressful and overall more enjoyable. Knowing what the next couple years have to come, I find this to be of upmost importance.
On to the things I need to work on! As we discussed, I think a small bump in mileage will go a long way. But in addition to that, I need to be better about my long run being legitimately long. I had relatively few runs over 15 miles this spring, and I should probably be aiming to hit 17-18 more often. I also need to get better about doing strides more regularly after easy runs, and staying on top of the drills and dynamic stretching immediately before and after. I also missed a lot of the hill work this year, so next year I need to be less of a coward because I think that’ll be great for speed development and gaining some power.
I definitely need to be better about weightlifting and establishing a better routine in the gym. I’ll open a discussion with Eric/Rich about this. I slacked big time once the racing really started and my body weight dropped pretty significantly because of it. Eating and sleep were good throughout the year, but there is always room to do a little bit better.
I found the workouts to be perfect throughout the year, and I had multiple moments where I was shocked at how fast I was able to run. Although, I am hoping to improve my tempo pace a bit next year, as I sort of stagnated at 5:00/mile and I am confident there is a lot of room to grow there. Figure if you want me to run the occasional 3k/5k next year that I should get that down.
Finally, I am hoping to get away a few times during the winter next year just for a week or two here or there to get out of the cold and break things up. After my last indoor race, I’d love to go somewhere for a few weeks and get a small block of base in.
Those are my thoughts! I am interested to hear yours. Very excited for this vacation, and I’ll do a little running when I see something pretty that looks like it needs to be run on. Should have some Internet so I’ll let you know how things are going. See you in a couple weeks and thanks for a great year!