Did it work? Does it matter?

It’s the most simple question that can be asked to assess the usefulness of a training concept: did it work?

However, is that always the right question to ask? What if it appears that it did work but for the wrong reasons? What if it appears to not have worked but some other variable was the problem?

There is so much going on in our training at any one time. Not to mention all that is going on in our lives that might affect our running.

While we should absolutely always be reviewing the things we did and trying to decide whether they worked or not, it can be difficult to know if any one single thing worked or not, just because the final result did or did not work.

We need to dig a little deeper. We also need to look at the bigger picture. Maybe something was a good idea but just didn’t combine with other variables of our training in a good way. Maybe something that was a bad idea didn’t cause major issues that derailed your running but didn’t help you as much as another method would have.

I know this makes it very hard to figure out how to look back over a season. If we can’t count on looking at the results to decide how something worked, what do we do?

We look at the big picture. Don’t dismiss something that seems on all levels to be a good idea simply because you had a bad season. Consider whether it was a good idea that just didn’t mesh with something else you were doing or something completely different resulted in the problems.

On the flip side, even the best season doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement. Not everything went as perfectly as possible, did it?

While it makes analysis of your season more difficult, it’s more true to life if you hold a critical eye to snap judgements. Yes, you do need to think about how things worked so you know what to keep and what to change going forward. However, don’t always fall for the first snap judgement. Dig a little deeper and really think about why things worked or didn’t. Maybe the thing that didn’t work is a good idea that shouldn’t be discounted too quickly and maybe the thing that did work isn’t the best way forward.

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