Runners are constantly chasing big goals, from setting a new PR to dreaming of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. It’s easy to get caught up in the hoopla of grand running goals, but it’s the little milestones we hit while training and racing that add up to those sexy accomplishments.
We all have to start somewhere, and we’ve all celebrated running our first mile without having to take a break at some point. Trouble is, we quickly forget those breakthroughs. So, from now on, make it a point to celebrate your little wins with new running gear or a massage as you make your way toward your big wins.
While most runners tend to celebrate their first pair of running shoes, every other pair after that deserves a bit of fanfare. Most experts agree you should replace your running shoes every 300–500 miles. If it’s time to retire your shoes, that means you’ve spent a lot of time on the roads, track and trails or your favorite terrain of choice. You can either go old-school and write the date you bought your shoes inside the tongue or note it in MapMyRun. When you’ve hit peak mileage, congratulate yourself for all of your hard work and feel free to splurge on your next pair (because you’ve earned it, after all).
Crossing the finish line of any race — your first or 100th — is a huge accomplishment, but so is signing up for that race. Committing to training for a race takes hours and months to cover miles and build strength at the gym. You’ll probably find yourself declining invitations for nights out and waking up long before your workday starts to get in your miles. Taking that first step and deciding to commit yourself to all of the sweat and grit that goes into preparing for and finishing a race definitely deserves recognition.
When it comes to running speed, it’s not just your overall pace on any given run that matters. Consider going after a negative split, which means you’ll run the second half of your run or race at a faster pace than the first half. The first time you achieve a negative split is a big deal — not only were you able to pace yourself at the beginning so you didn’t go out too fast and burnout, but you also harnessed that saved energy to pick up speed to crush the second half of your run. It’s a good marker of building endurance.
Almost every runner has had that ‘oh no’ moment on a run where you need a bathroom and you need it fast. Figuring out what agrees with your stomach before a workout and during a race involves a lot of trial and error. So finding your fueling sweet spot means you’ve dialed into the nitty gritty and have fine-tuned your training and racing. Give yourself a huge pat on the back and celebrate that you can skip that sprint toward the port-a-potties.
It is easy to celebrate our own milestones and get so wrapped up in our achievements that we forget there are others who have helped get us there. And those running buddies who slogged alongside us during those particularly tough training runs have goals and achievements of their own that deserve to be celebrated. So next time your running buddy gets a new record or absolutely crushes a workout, take time to celebrate them … beyond the obvious ‘like’ on MapMyRun, of course.