So, this post is purely to give a little food for thought on the subject. As for, if there is a right or wrong in any aspect of it, well that is up to each individual runner to decide.
As, all runners come in different shapes, sizes. All have different goals, speeds. Every runner out there is awesome, and it doesn't matter if they come in first or last, they are after all out there running and for that it deserves some respect!
However, if you have ever found yourself asking any of these questions, this post may give you a little bit to go on:
How do you know if you really did your best?
Was your best good enough? Could you have done better?
Or are you being too hard on yourself?
Or maybe should you consider be harder on yourself?
Asking yourself a few of these questions below MIGHT get you the answer your looking for.
I finished my race, and missed my goal time by X amount. Did I do my best? Maybe I could have done more??? If you find your asking these questions after your race, try asking yourself these.
Did you put in all the training time needed, not rushed?
Did you put the miles and/or speedwork in ahead of time in training to get you to your goal you wanted to achieve?
Were you healthy, injury free the day you ran the race?
Did you remember it was a race, did you push yourself as you practiced in training?
Did you put it all out there, as you crossed the finish line did you feel you gave it the best you could the entire race?
In your training, did you train for the terrain and climate the race had?
If you answered YES to all of those. You did your best, you gave it your all, there is no reason to come down on yourself or put yourself down for not doing better.
Be proud of your AWESOMENESS, because you did the best you could do.
If you want to do better in the future or hit higher goals, go back to the training board and start a new training program that will help you achieve the different goals you want to hit.
If you answered NO to any of those above. Then there is your answer, right in the question you answered no to. You can still be proud of your efforts, as all efforts are something to be proud of.
But try not to come down on yourself, because if you didn't put all the work in ahead of time or didn't train correctly for the goals you wanted to achieve. Those are things that are definitely something that is easy to work on for the future. Maybe knowing you can do better will be the exact thing to drive you and push you harder in the future.
If you were sick or injured, that is something totally and completely out of your control. So its best to never feel let down about how a race turns out in situations like those. Not every race will be this way, and you can just look forward to the next when you are healthy without the uncontrollable holding you back.
The key is to be happy with how your race ended. After all unless your an elite athlete your out there doing it for fun, and doing it mostly for yourself or as inspiration to others. If you want to do better, next time put the work in, do what it takes to hit new goals. After all, that is the great thing about running, you can try again!
Why am I not getting faster? Is it even possible for me to get faster?
If you find yourself asking this, POSSIBLY the below will help you with finding a solution:
Are you well trained?
Did you build up your mileage first and did you get very comfortable running the mileage before you began any speed work?
Did you do speed work? Did you practice in training to push and build yourself to new speed levels, and trained for the race pace you were hoping for?
Are you running consistently, are you training enough?
How is your weight, are you at a healthy weight for your body height and type?
Are you training specifically for one race, to hit your goals?
If you answered YES to all, then you are PROBABLY on the right track. However, if you're not hitting faster goals, consider your age. It's possible, you may have already hit all your PR days, and now it is time to re-look at things and start aiming for placing in the top in your age group or seeing how many younger runners you can pass and leave in the dust instead? (Don't worry about this, we will all hit that point eventually!)
Or consider taking a look at the races you are choosing, maybe they are not suited for you based on your training or where you train.
Also, so many runners these days get caught up into race after race and forget that the body needs time to heal correctly. It can become impossible to train for PR's if you are racing too often and not allowing the proper recovery time and training to make it for one big goal race.
If you answered NO, to any of the above, then POSSIBLY you aren't putting in enough work. Getting faster is possible for most anyone but if it was easy then let's fact it, everyone would be running sub 3 hour marathons or 15 minute 5k's.
Instead, look at your weight, do you need to lose a few pounds? Those extra pounds lost can actually shave minutes off your time alone with no additional effort or training than you are already doing.
Are you working on distance and speed at the same time? Because if you are, you are already training incorrectly, you should always work on distance first, then after you can start on speed, never both at the same time as it can easily bring on injuries.
Maybe you are running too many days a week and over training, adding 1-2 rest days weekly are actually needed for many runners to run at peak performance. Or maybe your running too few days a week, you can't hit most goals if you are only running a day or two a week.
Re-evaluate what your doing, and consider your options and come up with new plans and goals, after all that is the beauty of running we can always go at it with a new approach until we figure out what works best for us!
Those are just a few examples of questions and things to consider if you find yourself wondering if you did your best or if you can become better.
Because let's face it, we are only human and those thoughts come through likely many runners minds from time to time or after each race.
However, not everyone has it in them to push and PR and shoot for goals, nor cares to. If you don't then just enjoy your runs. Fun runs can be just as satisfying if that is the type of running your into.
The key is train properly regardless of fun or goals so you don't risk injury or death but I think the most important part is to just have fun. Enjoy the fact that you can run, because not everyone can!
Have you ever asked yourself if you are doing your best?
What process do you use to narrow down the problem area's you want to work on in your running?