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    Make Your Workout Count!

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    By: Nikki Reiter

    Ever wonder what motivates some runners to have a satisfying, purposeful workout…every day?  Do you find that some days, you’re running aimlessly, not sure about what you want out of your workout?  Well, you’re not alone.  Larry Abbott is a Mental Performance Consultant who has helped lots of runners confront these types of issues.  Larry is a runner himself, who believes in the powers of positive thought and focus to make huge gains in performance.  Larry started as the slowest runner on his varsity squad at McMaster University, stuck with it, and this past year travelled to Kenya to train with Reid Coolseat in his preparation for the London Games.  Below, Larry shares with you his Pre- & Post-Training Reflection Questions.

    Pre-Training Reflection Questions

    1. What do I want to get out of today’s training session or what is the purpose of my workout?
    2. What did I do well last training session and how can I replicate that today?
    3. What can I improve upon from my last training session?
    4. What technical cue can I focus on to run more efficiently?
    5. How do I want to feel today before, during and after my training session?
    6. What do I want to learn today from my teammates or coaches?
    7. What can I do today that will reflect my values or my team’s mission?

    Post Training Reflection Questions

    1. What did I act on today that helped me move closer to achieving my goals?
    2. How can I improve for my next training session?
    3. What did I do when I was faced with a challenge or a difficult position?

    a)      Would I respond the same way again?

    b)      If not, what would I do differently?

    1. What did I learn today from my coaches or teammates?

    Pre-Training Reflection Questions

    The saying “knowledge is power” has great application to sports such as running.  Whether you are an elite athlete or training for your first 10k race, reflecting on the purpose of your workout may properly direct your focus and ensure that you’re adjusting intensity to the appropriate level. For other athletes, this knowledge can greatly impact the level and type of motivation when completing a workout.  Knowledge sharing may also positively influence workout design and build trust between the athlete and coach. The second element to the pre-training reflection questions involves an action component. Here, the athlete is encouraged to identify tangible actions that may positively influence the training session. Runners should frequently reflect on what they do well and use this as a foundation to tackle areas that need improvement. This can be a healthy way to approach improving your training and keep confidence levels high during the process. Finally, answering questions like these prior to training can encourage athletes to revisit training logs and possibly discover patterns that are worth repeating.

    Post-Training Reflection Questions

    The four post-training questions are designed to engage the athlete in self-reflection and pull out the valuable lessons learned from the training session. Intentions are great, but sometimes even the best intentions do not always lead to positive action. These reflection questions allow athletes to identify what went well and what could be improved on for next time. When these two tools are used together, the athlete can be armed with very powerful knowledge to positively impact training. In any activity where personal growth is an objective, increasing the quality and consistency of performances is an exciting experience for athletes of all abilities!

    Bottom line?  By setting reasonable and specific objectives for the practice session, you can more realistically achieve your goals and feel that you got what you intended out of your workout.

    Happy Running!

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    Nikki Reiter is a Mizuno Running Brand Ambassador from Kelowna, BC.  She holds a master’s degree in biomechanics, coaches Cross Country at UBC Okanagan and is the founder of Run Right Gait Analysis Service (run-right.ca).