Yesterday I read an article on iRunFar called, “Qualities of a Skilled Ultramarathon Coach.” It’s a good read because it’s not just an outline of qualities that make a good coach, but also points out things that runners need to know about themselves in order to reach their goals (whether they have a coach or not).
It prompted me to ask myself:
- Where are you now?
- Where do you want to be in five years?
- What are you running from and what are you running towards?
Where Are You Now & Where Do You Want to Be in 5 Years?
The article says, “a skilled coach will prioritize long-term goals, always keeping the end in mind.”
The writer includes a quote from Sean Harnett his collegiate coach who says, “I coach based on what my athletes will think of me five years after they’ve graduated.”
Whether you have a coach or are a coach, I think this is a good rule to follow.
Five years from now I want to be running ultramarathons.
In five years if I can run a 29 minute 5K but I can’t finish a 50-miler I’ll know I wasn’t focused enough on my long-term goals!
What Are You Running From? What Are You Running Towards?
The article talks about a runner’s need to understand what he or she is running from and running towards.
“Running in general – and ultrarunning in particular – draws people in search of healing. Often we run from previous addiction, abuse or poor health, or run toward strength, self-worth, community and affirmation.”
It goes on to say a skilled coach must know how running fulfills these aspects of a runner’s life — but really, in my opinion it’s the athlete who must know how running fulfills these aspects of their own life. I’m not sure that’s really the coach’s responsibility.
Most long term readers know of my history battling with an eating disorder, and I most definitely find running to be therapeutic.
I’m not saying I use running in place of professional help because that would be wrong, but I definitely identify with other athletes who are running away from previous demons and running toward health, strength and affirmation.
Here are some things I have been running toward:
-A me who isn’t afraid of embracing her running aspirations despite others perhaps thinking that she doesn’t fit the mold of an athlete.
-A me who BELIEVES that I can meet the running challenges I set forth for myself.
-A me who isn’t devastated or completely embarrassed by athletic failures, but rather understands that people of all athletic abilities have bad days.
-A me who feels confident being alone without a million distractions.
-Happiness, health, enjoyment of the outdoors.
-Being part of a positive community of people.
Most of the items in the list are things I am still working on, but I am making progress!
When I first starting doing Couch to 5K I was too embarrassed to tell anyone (other than Adam) because I thought they would laugh at me. I was even too embarassed to run outside because I thought all the other runners would make fun of me. Instead I just used the treadmill during the hours I knew the gym would be empty. Now I tell everyone I meet that I’m a runner!
Although, most people still don’t know that I have a running blog that I overshare in each day! 🙂 Maybe someday I’ll tell them!
What is YOUR 5-year running goal? Do you prefer to set short-term goals? Do you prefer to just run for the enjoyment and not set any goals at all?