As the 2018 race season comes to a close, it is time to reflect upon all things training and racing. Reflection defined means “serious thought or consideration.” Whether you are an age group athlete or a pro, a middle of the packer or you’re just happy to finish, reflection will provide great insight into the next steps of your journey.
Designate a time on your calendar to sit down for 45 minutes and allow yourself time to reflect. If you are like many athletes, you may need that appointment to be listed on your training plan to add the accountability. Protect the time and deem it to be as important as any of the training segments that you completed. Take the 5/5/5 approach. Focus your reflection on 5 celebrations, 5 challenges and 5 goals from your past year.
Celebrations. If you are not a professional athlete and racing is not your livelihood, mostly likely you race for the fun and the challenge. Did your celebrations involve crossing a specific finish, achieving a new personal record, traveling a new distance that used to seem out of reach, or a connecting with a new friend or community? Did your celebrations support your why? Pat yourself on the back! You have achieved great things this year and you deserve to celebrate!
Challenges. As an athlete, you know that things do not always go as planned. I truly believe that the unexpecteds are the greatest contribution to our growth and development. Reflect on your 5 biggest challenges that you faced throughout the year. Was it an injury, an equipment issue, time to train or life balance? Were the challenges things that were in your control or things that you are unable to control? Are you able to make changes or adjustments going forward that will avoid these challenges in the future? We all face bumps in the road. Did the bumps support or hinder your overall journey? Most importantly, did you learn from the challenge?
Goals. After looking at your celebrations and challenges, what is next? Do you want another shot to address and overcome one of the challenges? Is there a bigger finish? Is there a greater why? The journey in racing is a continuous project. Each step that you take training and racing is adding another brick to a foundation that will continue to grow as you continue to grow.
Take time to share this reflection with your accountability team. Whether you share with your spouse, your friend, your family or your coach, we cannot travel these journeys without some type of support. Be vulnerable - share your challenges, fears and Big Hairy Audacious Goals! Build a support crew who will support you in achieving your goals and will also be able provide feedback when they see you stray off course. Continue to reflect along the way. Evaluate if you are on track and if the decisions you make are supporting your overall why. Know that your why may change and know that the adjustments will cause growth whether expected or not. Embrace the opportunities that the growth presents and “never ever give up!”