Audit Your Running Program

At least once a year, millions of Americans work diligently to review the financial information for the previous year, and then file their taxes for the IRS.  Some will get refunds, and others will have to pay.  At the time I am writing this, i just finished doing my taxes for 2010.  I am thankful that I am in the group that will be getting some back from Uncle Sam.

Doing my taxes is definitely not one of the things I look forward to each year.  However, as much as I hate doing taxes, I do appreciate the chance to review our financial information for the previous year.  It is good to take some time and get our paperwork in order, see where we spent too much money, where we should have saved more money.  It is also a time to see how we are doing with our financial goals.  Basically, we are doing somewhat an audit of our family financial plan.

So I was thinking that it might be beneficial of other areas of your life as well.  And since this is a running blog, in this post, I wanted to share with you how you can audit your running program like you audit your financials.

Here are a five things to review in your running program:

Review Your Running Goals
Every so often, it is a good idea to pull out our running goals, and see how you have progressed in those goals.  This is true for those that have just started running as a beginner as well as those who have been running for a while now.  Hopefully you have met some of the goals.  And, if you set some of the goals optimistically, chances are you may not have met all of them.  If always meet all of your goals, then you may actually be setting the bar too low.  On the other hand, if you never reach any of your goals, you may be setting the bar too high.  Take this time to adjust your goals as needed.  If you do not have any written goals, yet, then I would encourage you to write some out.

Review Your Running Log
Hopefully by now, you have been recording your progress in a running journal (or log).  Take some time to look back at your log and see if there are any patterns or things in your log that you can learn from. Some good questions to ask yourself while reviewing the running log include the following: How is your mileage coming?  Are sticking to a normal routine?  Do you need to add an extra day of running?  Are you allowing for recuperation time between workouts?

Review Your Running Schedule
After you review your running log, you may want to revisit your running schedule, and decide whether you need to make some adjustments.  Maybe you need to add some longer runs, or maybe you need to add an extra workout during the week.  Tweak your schedule to meet your needs and preferences.

Review Your Health
It is important that you listen to your body and learn if it is trying to tell you anything.  You may want to get a regular checkup each year and find out if your doctor has any concerns about your running.  If you have any aches or pains, ask your doctor about those, and learn what could be the problem.  Many running injuries start out as small aches, and then worsen until they are serious.  Listening to your body early and getting the proper treatment is important.

Check Your Running Shoes
The time between purchasing some new running shoes will depend the mileage you are putting in.  the average time between new shoes will vary between 3 and 6 months. However, look for signs of significant wear, and signs that the cushioning is breaking down.  Some people repair the treads which give you a little extra time.  However, if the cushioning starts to break down in the sole of the shoe, then it is likely time to go grab a new pair.

Check Your Form
Remember, one of the biggest reasons for injury to runners is due to poor running form.  Try to always be thinking about your running form, and improving your posture and technique.  But, as with the other ‘checkpoints’, go ahead and do a formal review of your technique.  You may even consider having a running coach or therapist review your form.  You can also run in front of a friend, or run on a treadmill in front of a mirror to evaluate your form.  Try to pick out one thing that you can really work on, and focus on that for the next few weeks as you run.  Once you master that area, then you can move on to a different issue.

I am sure you did not think that there was possibly any link between doing your taxes and running, but now you see that with running, as with your taxes, it is important to do a regular audit and make corrections as needed.  The ‘refunds’ you get from doing a running audit, however, will be better fitness and health as opposed to monetary refunds!

What do you think?
How is your running program coming?  What areas do you need to make corrections to?

Take action?
Take a few minutes and review the five areas noted in this post.

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