Having written my 2021 Year in Review, it’s time now to look forward, set some goals and intentions for the year ahead. You may find this a useful exercise for your own running, athletic, or even personal development. I have been doing this for years, and in the past I used to focus a lot more on races and events. These ones are more broad. Take your pick; either will get you going in the right direction.
1. Stay healthy
My #1 goal has to be pain-free running. I’ve had a lingering injury for longer than I care to admit, and I’m ready to throw everything at it, EVEN IF that means running less. That’s a tough pill to swallow for a person with obsessive tendencies. On the bright side, I have a ridiculous smorgasbord of fun and engaging cross training to choose from. These activities should help me maintain fitness without making my injury worse: mountain biking, road biking, hiking, surfing, swimming, free diving, aqua-jogging, elliptical, etc. No pity party for me.
2. Think globally, run locally
What’s the best camera in the world? The one that’s in your pocket… because you actually use it! What are the best running routes? The ones right out your door, for the same reason.
Since Covid hit, more and more athletes have been getting creative about the routes they can do close to home. Sometimes very close! FKTs, OKTs, local races, discovery runs, fast-packing, and on and on. This has all exploded and I love it.
I’ve always been torn about traveling to a race. Is the environmental impact worth it? Is my marathon or ultra experience so precious that I should spend massive amounts time, energy and resources just to run in some picturesque destination? Am I just buying into the marketing? Maybe there’s another way…
I will absolutely do some races this year, preferably close to home. But first and foremost I want to get to know the incredible trails in the area we live. GR 34 is at the top of that list.
My UTMB dream is on standby as I consider whether jumping through all the hoops is really worth it. There are countless local races to do, and infinite options for solo and small group adventures.
3. Stop and smell the seaweed
I love running for the places it takes me, and the things I get to see along the way. Don’t forget to really see them. Get up close and investigate.
Some of the best history lessons I’ve received have been stopping to read some random plaque in the middle of nowhere that put the landscape I was traveling through into a whole new context. Be open to the serendipity of a run and what you might discover or observe by slowing down.
4. Be my own Race Director
Some of my best runs the last couple years have simply involved saying “YES” to a plan that someone else put together. I want to take the initiative to plan some epic outings and invite friends along.
When you race a lot, as I used to, the calendar falls together based on those dates. When you’re not racing as much, as I don’t plan to this year, it takes a little more intention to plan adventures. In the end, they’re as just as important as races. Just because a race is organized and there’s a competition doesn’t make it any more valuable or memorable than a fun day out with some friends.
5. Share the love
Trails aren’t just for overachieving adults. They’re for everyone. Whether you’re doing a 30 mile mountain run or a 2 mile hike with your kids, or anything in between, most people come back feeling a little better (though after the 30 miler it might take a while). I want to share that joy.
I’m getting into coaching to help others progress in their relationship with running. That could be helping athletes who are trying out a new distance or event, gunning for a PR, or just building consistency in their running practice for overall health and well-being.
I remain so inspired by the Mountain Ultra Trail community; I am stoked to have an opportunity to help some people learn the sport and do their best.
What about you?
What are some goals you have this year, running-related or otherwise?