On the eve of the Boston Marathon around the corner, and with the Marathon trial once again a media focus, it served as a good reminder to keep perspective. The world is a fast moving place. In the spring my schedule starts to fill up with more outdoor activities. I love the chance to get outside and run but I often find myself sneaking in my training. Much as I love running, I’ve been known to run home from work, all in a time saving effort. It’s easy to get carried away with busy schedules. When life gets really busy, I catch myself losing patience with people and obsessing over when I can fit my next run in.
The majority of people are so lucky to be healthy enough to run and thrive from the benefits of running. It is important to take time to reflect on the small highlights in our lives and all the things that make us lucky. My former professor, Dr. Terry Orlick was always encouraging athletes to record small highlights every day. Examples of small highlight include, fitting in a run on a sunny day, finding a new running route and meeting a friend for coffee after your run.
It is often the unfortunate case that it takes a tragedy (like the Boston Marathon in 2013) to serve as a reminder to appreciate the small things. Big events happen a finite amount of time in life, taking pleasure in the small things is definitely under-rated. I encourage runners to add a “highlights section” to their training log or add special highlights in their smartphone in order to gain a better, more balanced perspective. A runner with a positive perspective is a happy and fast one! Reflecting and grabbing perspective is an ongoing process, and one that every runner should be setting aside time for. When do you make that time to be reflective? I recommend taking a few minutes, immediately after a run or at the end of the day.
I’ve suggested various sections to have in your training log including demonstrations of ability, mentors and inspiration and highlights; these sections are similar to an appendix and can be found in the back of a training log. After each run, you can add more examples to each section, in demonstrations of ability, write down small accomplishments such as weight loss, personal bests in training or running five days in a row. In mentors and inspiration, write down what and who motivates you and write both names and quotes. In highlights keep track of small things like the trees budding or a clear sky. In addition to these sections, reflect on each run and write down: how long you ran, what went well and what needs improving. These guidelines will help give structure to your training log but also promote a creative approach to each run.
Jennifer is a former gymnast turned sprinter turned middle distance runner. She recently completed a Master’s in Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa where she studied sport psychology. She holds a Bachelor Degree in psychology from the University of Western Ontario where she was captain of the Track and Field team. She continued her running career with the Gee Gees and is the 2012 Canadian Interuniversity Sport Champion in the 1000m. She is passionate about bringing athletes to a new level of performance through mental skills training. Jennifer believes that enhancing mental performance is about sharpening these mental skills to help athletes constantly challenge themselves to be better.
Connect with Jennifer on Twitter, @jen_perrault!