Take some time to think about what you want to get out of running in 2020.

Well, here we are—it’s the end of 2019. For runners, that means a chance to reflect on all of the miles, races, and training we’ve put in over the past 12 months. If you kept a running log (and if you didn’t, 2020 is a great time to start) now is the perfect opportunity to open it up and reflect back on your running year.

Look at the races you did best in, and page back a few weeks to see how your workouts looked leading up to those races. That’s going to tell you quite a bit about what you are doing right. On the flip side, look at some races that didn’t go as well as you planned. Again. Page back two to three weeks and see what your workouts looked like. Did you train to hard right before the race? Did you suddenly try a different diet approach? All of these things affect your actual race. Then look at any notes you took about the race itself. In this way, you’ll gain valuable insights into what works best for you, and what not to do.

After reflecting back on 2019, take some time to think about what you want to get out of running in 2020. Maybe you want to really nail a marathon. Or perhaps at the other end of the spectrum, you want to work on your 5K. Now is the time to map out your year, or at least get a general idea of what your goals are.

To start this process, let’s look back again. Ask yourself what you liked about your running in 2019. Maybe you discovered how fun trail running can be. Or maybe you realized you really like long runs. Now ask yourself what you didn’t like. If you feel disappointed in many of your races, it could be that you’re not being realistic with yours goals.

The next step is to take what you’ve learned from reviewing 2019 and apply it to 2020’s goals. Goals should be inspiring. They should make you want to strive towards achieving them. With that in mind, put them down on paper or save them on your PC.

Goals should be realistic as well as inspiring. Could be you’ve run a 3:05 marathon, and you just know you can break three hours. While that’s only five minutes, think of how gratifying it is to say you ran “two hours and…”

Once you decided on your goals, think about the time it will take to reach them. For example, a marathon build-up may take three to four months, while targeting a spring 5K PR will be less time consuming. Consider your work and family obligations when planning.

When you have your goal(s) and time-frame established, build in some check-points along the way; for a marathon that could mean hitting a certain time in a half-marathon, while those aiming to hit a 5K PR should look for high marks in time trials. An example would be hitting a certain time in your mile repeats.

And finally, consider a coach if you are serious about your running. Coaches are to running what guitar lessons are to an aspiring guitarist. Sure, you can do it on your won, but think of what a valuable resource a coach or even a training group could be.

A coach can be a valuable tool to help you decide if your path toward your goal is appropriate. Also be realistic about how much time you have to commit to training, especially during the highest mileage weeks.

So take some time and reflect. Plan well, and make realistic (and inspiring goals). And above all, enjoy your running and have a great 2020!

Upcoming races: Wednesday, January 1 at 9:00 a.m., the Resolution Run 5K at Wallace Middle School, 1500 Center Street in Kyle. Wednesday, January 1 at 2:00 p.m., the Resolution Rush Cedar Park 5K/10K at Brushy Creek Sports Park, 2310 Brushy Creek Road in Cedar Park. On Saturday, January 4, at 9:00 a.m., the same Resolution Rush 5K/10K is also taking place at Berry Springs Park, 1801 County Road 152 in Georgetown.