As 2019 approaches, so does our collective annual habit of reflect, reset, and reboot. January 1 is symbolic of a fresh start: the year ahead an unmarked map for you to run across, up, and over. In the running world, New Year’s Day is bursting with running races, rituals, and routines. You can count on the running masses to take to the roads and trails for a 5k race, sunrise hike, or post-festivities jog to mark the beginning of a new year. Whatever it may be, as runners, we launch into the New Year with some sort of running-related ritual.
For me, New Year’s Day is a chance to pay tribute to the beautiful places I get to explore by foot every day. This year, in particular, I will carry new-found appreciation and perspective. As I make my way back to activity post-injury, I plan to celebrate the body’s resilience and the too-oft-taken-for-granted gift of being able to move about the earth on two healthy, powerful legs.
In this way, the New Year is an annual reminder to take a step back and consider changes. As a runner, what better time to assess your relationship with running?
Someone recently said to me that runners are “just running from injury to injury”. From a certain vantage point, this may be true. Our sport is highly demanding of the body – there is no faking the cumulative miles of pounding. Injury is an inevitable fate for the vast majority of runners. And yet defining a running career by injuries accrued betrays the spirit of the sport. There are many reasons why we run, each person drawing on their own unique motivations. We run not from injury to injury, but from stunning sunrise to stunning sunrise, from mountain adventure to mountain adventure, and from race well-run to race well-run.
With the coming of a new year – just as with injury – there is an undercurrent of hope: the hope of lessons learned, perspective gained, and appreciation renewed. No more stressing a run skipped or a workout gone bad. Go out and mark the beginning of 2019 with a ritual celebrating the simple joy of running.
Here’s looking at you, 2019! May it be a year filled with long runs at sunrise, run-ventures to unexplored places, blissful recovery days, positive training goals, and the company of running buddies new and old.