Backward by Design

I am now working on my second graduate degree in education… and a concept in this field that we love to talk about is “starting with the end in mind.” Basically, if you can describe your desired outcome, then the process of lesson planning or program design follows in a logical, focused order to connect that distal point to the beginning by way of smaller milestones. As you can imagine, I think about starting with the end in mind a lot as a runner. In the literal sense, I typically register for a race and then start counting back weeks from that date to determine a training schedule. In the emotional sense, visualizing race day over and over again arms me with the strength and motivation to train. One of the best lessons I learned last summer was to author a mantra early on in the training process. Articulating my final outcome set me up to commit and achieve; planning backwards worked. Reflecting on this concept, I decided to write a few outcomes for the remainder of my summer training season.

On race day, I will be able to:

-Run at a consistent pace for 13 miles;

-Hydrate and fuel my body efficiently for two or more hours of running;

-Maintain positive imagery throughout the race;

-Listen to my body and heed any signs that I need to slow down, stretch, or ask for help;

-Offer authentic gratitude to volunteers, fellow racers, and bystanders encountered along the way.

Just writing those makes me feel even more excited for the race! I will continue to revisit these outcomes each week as I progress toward September…

In other news, I am keeping up with my training plan and completing a lot of shorter midweek runs. It’s been hot and dry (especially for the likes of a Pacific Northwest native), so last night I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill. I have to admit, I was really excited about not being in the sun for a change. Tonight I will probably go back and run a few more miles. This weekend, I would like to run eight miles (same distance as last weekend).

Farewell, July. August, I am ready.

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2 thoughts on “Backward by Design

  1. My training plan will start soon and I’ve been thinking a lot about the mental side of things. I’d love this marathon to go better for me mentally than the last two! Thanks for the great reminders. I had never thought about how the backward design model is truly what we do as runners. Wow!

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