This is a short reflection on my running journey in 2019, to help me prepare for a goal race in 2020. I adapted the reflection questions from a reflection model provided in the New York Times Running Guide, aimed at helping readers plan for the 2020 Spring races.
What did I like about running in 2019?
This year marks my first attempt to run further than 21 km in a race. I ran 32 km in the Oxfitt Run II in November, and it proved to be exciting as I emerged unscathed and injury-free. It also gave me the encouragement that I can aim for a full marathon in the near future, if I keep to a training plan that allows me to clock more mileage and develop endurance.
What I also like about running this year is that I managed to score a personal best in a half marathon of 2 hours 4 minutes and 20 seconds. This was in the 2XU Compression Run held in April. This PB means I hit an average pace of 5.89 min/km during the race.
One possible contributing factor to my PB is my weight. I weigh on average about 63 kg during that month. Another factor would be the regular running sessions I had in the months leading to April. Put together, with the favourable weather conditions, I managed to hit my PB that month.
What did I not like?
I suffered from a serious bout of flu in the two weeks leading to the SG Run in October. As a result, I did not train as much for this run. Consequently, I encountered severe cramps during the race. My timing also dropped to 2 hours 44 minutes and 20 seconds. Still, this timing is much better than my first half marathon in 2018, which is slightly over 3 hours.
What this showed me is the need to 1) take care of my health by watching over my sleep, diet and physical environment conditions; and 2) to be more prepared during race day if I have not trained sufficiently for the race. While I may be unable to fend off some of the common viruses at home or in the workplace, I should take care and make sure I am well protected in the weeks leading to a race day.
This race also helped remind me of the need to prepare my cookie jar, to prep myself psychologically for a race. Doing so will reduce the anxiety I may have in completing a race under unfavourable conditions.
Do you want to be challenged?
Since my last half marathon in November, I felt I should push myself to do more than 21 km. Hence I should look for races that are longer, but these may not be full marathons for a start.
I have signed up for a 30 km race that will take place in February 2020. I hope that will help me gauge what my readiness level is for a full marathon. I would probably sign up for a full marathon in 2020. The only question is whether to sign up for one in the first half of the year, or in the second half of the year.
Once I sign up for a full marathon, I will commit to a written training plan, so that this becomes a SMART goal, not a new year resolution.
I hope this short reflection guide has helped you understand how to work towards a goal race. It has definitely helped me be clearer.
In fact, this format could be adapted for other activities too. Just substitute the word ‘running’ with other words. It’s a quick and easy guide to use.
Do share with me what will be a goal you will like to work on in 2020!