A new year always galvanises us to find ways of making ourselves better in some way – running further, losing weight, giving, or taking, something up. That’s why I love sitting down with my new training diary after Christmas and planning the year ahead. All those blank pages, waiting to be filled!
I write down all my goals and aspirations, from the lofty to the mundane, and then reflect on which ones to prioritise (or ditch) and how best to achieve them. Looking back at previous training journals is a great help – you can see, for example, what training enabled you to smash that 10k PB, or what mileage you thrived on in marathon training (and what became a little too much).
Some of my goals are very specific, with a concrete time frame – namely, races. But others are less easy to define and put into practice: for example, stay injury free. It’s not specific enough to pass the ‘SMART’ goal setting test but it’s certainly measurable – and it reminds me to think about what got me injury free and what’s helped me stay there thus far – so I can continue to do it. It’s amazing how amnesic we become about all those exercises, drills and stretches, once an injury has become history…
I also use the journal to note down things like what shoes I’m currently using and what exercises make up my home strength training regime and, of course, in Bridget Jones style, my weight and body fat percentage!
2012’s first entry is a 4.4 mile run in pitch dark and driving rain on New Year’s Day – with the last vestiges of a tummy bug AND a slight hangover to contend with. But it was worth it – it’s got the ball rolling for another year.