3 Lessons I Learned By Running 1,000 Miles This Year and How You Can Accomplish a Similar Goal

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday season, I accomplished one of my running goals for 2013.

photo by flamurai, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I ran 1,000 miles for the year.

As I mentioned in the post linked above, I was well aware that others have set much  loftier goals with some people running the year (2013 miles in 2013) or running a tenth of that in a 100 mile race all in one day.

Since I’ve started tracking my runs with my Garmin watch, I’ve averaged a little under 900 miles a year, so I also realized that while 1,000 miles would be the most I’ve ever run in a 365 day span, it wouldn’t be a huge jump. It was something that I wanted to have under my belt more than anything, but I also wanted to make sure I was in good shape for the Marine Corps Marathon this past October. It was a baseline for me to maintain my running endurance throughout the year.

Running over 1,000 this year also taught me a lot about myself, about running and about my relationship with running.
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Is Skipping a Run Really That Bad?

The short answer to that question is yes.

The plethora of training programs you can find in books and online are filled with tempo runs, speed workouts, long runs and cross training days for a specific reason – to get you ready to run your best race.

If you start selectively picking and choosing which workouts you want to do, you could be tempting fate on race day.

Having said that, most people probably aren’t professional runners. Life can throw you a curve from time to time and that 5:00 AM run you planned to get in before work may not happen if you’re nursing a sick kid back to health, you have to unexpectedly travel for work or any other countless variable that you might encounter. The fact is, even the best laid training schedules will have to work around other events in your life from time to time.

So what happens when life gets in the way and you miss a workout?
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Hope Is Not a Strategy for Runners

A few years back, I worked as sales representative. While the job was very demanding, it was also very rewarding. Closing a big account or having a good month as a team didn’t happen by accident. Due to a clear sales plan, succeeding wasn’t an aberration or an accident. In many ways, training to run a race is the same way. You’re probably not going to PR in a race without a proper plan – or good training schedule to follow.

“Hope Is Not a Strategy”

Rick Page’s sales book, which is a sales bible for many, was almost a mantra to our sales manager. We we weren’t allowed to simply hope a sale would come through. Before each sales call, we were expected to have a  clear plan in place where we knew the prospect inside and out and determine their hot button selling points. Most importantly, we had to give ourselves the best chance to succeed by removing all known barriers to a sale before the meeting ever took place. While our planning and strategy sessions were a culmination of personal experiences and other sales books, it was Page’s book that our sales manager would constantly point to.  If you’re in sales and are interested in developing your own sales strategies, I’d highly recommend picking up a copy – if you haven’t already.

What does this all have to do with fitting in runs? A lot, as I found out. When I started running, I didn’t really have a plan. While just stepping out the door to run can be fun, if your goal is to run any long distance races you’ll need to have a plan. Without a plan, you’re not going to accomplish your goals anymore than a salesperson will close a sale by simply showing up. You had to do your homework in sales and you have to do your homework with running.
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