Mark Allen used to make a list, at the end of every season, of possible area's of improvement, little things he could tweak and perfect. Lance Armstrong did the same thing, he made a list of things that he could do better than the next guy. What I like about this idea is the simplicity in which you can see possible time improvement. If I have a check list of 10 areas that I can improve, and each area will yield a ~30" improvement over a 26 mile race (VERY realistic) then there's a possible 5:00 PR. If you're an Ironman athlete then this number jumps huge! It would be very possible to have a 10:00 improvement over something as simple as a shift in diet habits, or weight training.. if you had 10 things to work on then this would be a significant improvement.
My list for January has a lot of areas based on my training.
1. Continue my brain re-training, perceptions of fatigue and pace.
2. More quality sessions on the track to develop relative speed.
3. Longer tempo runs that progress towards 15 miles.
4. More race pace work during long runs.
5. Include a structured hill interval session once per week.
6. Lift weights or do plyometrics regularly.
7. Healthier diet habits- eat more.
8. Better control over my addiction to pushing mileage. Not run so much.
9. Race more often.
10. Stretch my lower legs more often.
11. Include tempo training earlier and get away from MAF principles.
It also has a lot of mental and personal areas of improvement that are key to the big picture. As ds said "keeping it real"..
12. Be completely true to myself and my family. No compromises.
13. Never compromise a second of my time with my son- he's everything to me.
14. Don't lose sight of why I run... for fun.
15. Learn to handle stress better.
16. Stop putting so much pressure on myself and relax a bit.
17. Be thankful every day, and acknowledge how fortunate I am.
18. Continue to avoid haters and people with negative attitudes.
19. Develop better work skills so I can reduce my stress.
20. Continue to build my coaching business on my own terms.
That's a pretty good start and should keep me busy for a day or two. The last 8 items on there will have an impact on my running. Lis once told me that our running is connected directly to our everyday life and I disagreed at the time. My ego allowed me to think that I could disconnect the two. As I have demonstrated many times though, when my life gets stressful my running comes to a crashing halt. I was quite wrong and Lis was spot on. When we have a bad day at work, or we have an argument with someone, that negative energy doesn't just disappear once we lace up our running shoes. Many of my friends have seen me pissed off and angry on runs... Jeff (a lot), GZ, Kerrie, Bob, Lis. I tend to have an unhealthy way of releasing my frustrations- sorry guys. I think it is healthy to release them, but not at the expense of other people's feelings. Simply acknowledging this issue is a start but it will take work for me to correct it. One of the most important things we can do is be honest with ourselves and admit our faults. Even if you aren't willing to change them, at least admit it. Take responsibility. Correction of them may just be easier than admitting you have them! By working on my life I am truly becoming a better runner... they are connected.
No one has commented on my killer playlist!? What the h? Are you all too young to know the classics?