Running 101: How to Review Your Year of Running

By Janelle @ Run With No Regrets | running tips

Dec 30

I hope you’re doing well! The current year is almost at its end, which makes it a great time for reflection as you gear up for the year ahead.

Today I thought I’d share another lesson in Running 101 on how to review your year of running! I think as runners, we’re often thinking about what’s next and how we can continue to improve. One component that may sometimes be forgotten is to review all the great work you’ve already done! It can be a great way to appreciate your accomplishments while also helping you strategize for how to conquer the next year!

Be sure to check out my other Running 101 posts, including How to Have a Successful Virtual Race and How to Be a More Eco-Friendly Runner!

I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With AttitudeRun Laugh Eat PieRuns with Pugs, and Zenaida for Fit Five Friday and Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running for Runners’ Roundup!

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A great way to reflect on your running journey is by reviewing your running for the year!  In my latest Running 101 post, I share my tips on how to review your year!  Find more at runwithnoregrets.com!

How to Review Your Year of Running

The first lesson that I want to emphasize is that every runner is different! I think it’s important to focus on what YOU have done, rather than try to compare yourself to others, even if you’ve started running around the same time as someone else. When you look back on your year of running, you may be surprised by all that you’ve accomplished despite the challenges and setbacks along the way and you should be very proud! We are very fortunate to be able to do this running thing!

So with that said, here are some steps I recommend for reviewing your year of running. Maybe you can make this an annual tradition!

Make a List of the Months of the Year

This is the easiest part! Depending on your preference, you can grab a notebook or create a spreadsheet. This is where your running and racing information will live.

For Each Month, Add Mileage Data and Races Completed (if any)

If you wear a running watch or using a running app, this is the perfect time to look at your stats over the past year. Strava is a great app to use that can import data from your running watch.

For each race, write down the name, date, location, distance, and finish time. Include virtual races too! Just looking at this list may cause the wheels to start turning as you notice months with some prominent gaps or high racing activity.

For example, from April to May 2012, I ran 4 races in 6 weeks, including a 10 miler and a half marathon. Mind you, I started running in 2011, so this was definitely too much on my plate as a beginner. After this series of races, I ended up with my first bout of Runner’s Knee. Looking back, it’s obvious to me that in my enthusiasm for running, I was doing too much too soon.

If you did not run any races, think about some of the memorable runs that you had in a given month Maybe you had a great run through a city while on vacation, or an awesome trail that you were able to explore over the course of a year.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How was my mileage over the course of the year? Are there any significant patterns from month to month?
  • Was this a good number of races for me or do I want to race more/less in the new year?
  • How was my variety of race types? Do I prefer one type of distance over another?

Reflect on Your Goals for Each Race

Me after finally PRing the half distance!

Some races are for base building, some are for breaking records, and others are simply for fun! As you look at the races that you participated in over the year, think about the goals that you had for each race.

For example, back in 2017, my goal was to PR the half marathon distance. As a result, I ran a lot of half marathons. This strategy worked well as I was able to finally break a nearly 6-year record!

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How well did I achieve my goals?
  • Did I set realistic expectations for my races?
  • Were there certain surprises that occured that impacted my goals?
You may also like:  DNS a Race? 8 Tips for Moving On

Reflect on Your Training and Race Performance

Sometimes we have races where it feels like the stars have aligned and everything goes perfectly! Other times, we wake up on the wrong side of the bed, have unexpected GI issues, or can’t get in the right mental zone during a race. You can have the perfect training program and have it all fall apart on race day…it happens! Remember that the finish time doesn’t tell the whole story – you may have a fast race where you felt like crap the entire way or a slower race where you did a better job of listening to your body.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Did my training plan properly prepare me for the race and my goals?
  • Were there any gaps in my training and why?
  • Did I give my training my best effort?
  • How did I feel before/during/after the race? Physically? Mentally? Emotionally?
  • At what points in the race did I feel strong or particularly struggle? Are there any patterns?

Reflect on Any Injuries or Changes in Health

Me running my first postpartum half marathon!
Me running my first postpartum half marathon!

Did you have any changes in your health over the past year? Pregnancy, post-partum, illness, injuries, and many other factors can seriously impact your life, let alone your running activity. Remember to give yourself grace and do the best that you can. Sometimes goals have to go out of the window, and that’s okay!

If you have an injury-free year, that’s great! But if you do get injured, it may cause unexpected shifts in your running plans for the year. Try not to be too hard on yourself. It’s an unfortunate fact that a very high percentage of runners deal with injuries every year.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Did my changes in health this past year hurt or help my running journey?
  • Are there injuries that I can work to prevent in the next year?

Think About Your Lessons Learned

Whether you had a good year or “bad” year of running, you probably learned a few lessons along the way. Maybe you learned your preferred distance for racing, discovered a new workout that you enjoy for cross-training (or as a replacement for running), or mastered time management when training for races. All these realizations are beneficial and will help you to grow as a runner.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What did I enjoy, and what didn’t I enjoy so much when running this year?
  • How can I incoprorate the lessons I’ve learned into the next year?

Reflect on Your Growth Since the Previous Year

When I think about growth, I don’t think just about running farther distances or improving on finishing times. I think about taking new opportunities to challenge yourself or making difficult decisions that you may not have wanted to previously face. Just a couple of examples include deciding not to run a race instead of using through and risking injury, or going outwith a running group when you previously would have been too imtimidated to do so. I’ve been running for over 10 years and I’m grateful that I’ve still found ways to grow as a runner in each passing year.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Did I make new connections with runners/the running community over the past year?
  • Did I practice more resilience when facing adversity?
  • How have my priorities in life shifted?

After Evaluating Each Race, Rate Your Year Overall

It’s finally time to wrap it up! With everything that you reflected on, how would you grade your year of running? You can even look at each previous section and grade those portions before putting it all together. Running is one of those activities where there’s always room for improvement, but don’t get too hung up on not having a “perfect” year. Like I always say, running is a gift! Any time you get to do it is a blessing and a privelege!

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Did I enjoy running, or did it feel more like a chore or obligation?
  • Did I achieve the goals that I set for the year that were in my control?
  • Do I have any regrets? (I couldn’t resist!)

Here’s a picture that sums it all up – feel free to save it on Pinterest or share it with others!

Here's your checklist of  how to review your year of running.  This is a great way to prepare for the new year's running and racing goals!  Check out more Running 101 topics at runwithnoregrets.com!

Do you reflect on and review your year of running? How was running for you this past year?

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