Recently, users of Strava, a popular app among fitness enthusiasts, would have received a barrage of statistics in the form of ‘Year in Sport’. The aggregate data comprising no. of activities, time spent, kilometres covered, ‘kudos’ received, etc., is presented as a comprehensive summary of the year bygone. While the objective may be noble, the interpretation can be a little hazy. For instance, it compares the metrics of this year with those of previous year. Given the way the year went, it is obvious that most would be disappointed about the lower number in 2021 compared to 2020. Then, numbers aren’t everything. As a Union Minister once said,
Maths never helped Einstein discover Gravity.
I want to help runners (as well as those engaged in other fitness activities) with a ‘feel-good’ scorecard to measure their activities during the year and stay positive for the year(s) to come. Let’s admit, at some point of time during the year, everyone felt lucky just to be alive, let alone pursue some fitness activity. More so, we have a generation of students who have been declared ‘all pass’ for the last two years. So, why let kids have all the fun?
This is a very simple questionnaire where you can give 1-point for each accomplishment and none if not accomplished during the year. Further, I have added some bonus points as additional tokens of appreciation for extra(ordinary) efforts.
Qn. 1 – Did you run regularly?
Ignoring the mandatory quarantine period or recovery time from COVID, if you consider yourself to be fairly regular in your runs during the year, you deserve a point for that. Fairly regular is a subjective term and depends from person to person. If you have attempted to run at least once a week, it can be considered as fairly regular, for I am sure you will be in the top 1% of the population taking those efforts. One point for the starters.
Qn. 2 – Were you kind to yourself?
Times are tough and frustrations can make it worse. It can be frustrating when not being able to run for a while. On resumption, many tend to over do and get injured. If you have been able to keep your head over shoulders, and stayed injury free throughout the year, yours is the one point.
Qn. 3 – Did you try learning more about fitness, health (other than COVID), and wellness?
Efforts towards education and enriching oneself by listening to podcasts (you can checkout my recommendations), reading inspiring/heartening articles, watching videos that adds positivity, or taking up a good book on running, should certainly be rewarded. Such initiatives merits one point, if not an academic degree. Unfortunately, education through WhatsApp University finds no appreciation; although half-a-point can be given if you have debunked any of those myths.
Qn. 4 – Did you run with a group?
Participating in group runs motivates oneself and the group they run with. Given the way the pandemic unfolded, most running clubs started scaling down group runs during the year. You deserve a point, if you participated in a group runs whenever they resumed.
Qn. 5 – Did you run with a new buddy?
These are times when everyone looks at their neighbour as a potential carrier of virus, or a super-spreader. If you got over the mental block and ran with a new runner during the year, you have certainly taken a step towards normalcy. One point for that!
Qn. 6 – Did you participate in a running event?
Running events were scarce during the year. In the limited time frame when the pandemic looked under control, few organisers braved to organise the event with COVID-related protocols and other safety measures. While it did rise the cost of these events, it certainly gave hope that running events will come back sooner. You get a point if you have participated in at least one running event during the event just to encourage the organisers. (Note – “Virtual events” don’t count)
Qn. 7 – Were you a conscious consumer?
This was a tough year on the economic front too. Many lost their livelihoods, and those who had jobs saw their disposable income reduced. In these times, it is certainly prudent to avoid unnecessary indulgence in exotic gadgets or swanky outfits. You deserve one point for demonstrating modesty.
Qn. 8 – Did you try pushing your boundaries?
Any fitness routine is about stepping outside the comfort zone. If you have tried a new activity, a new routine, ran for a cause, or simply, discovered a new running route during the year, it deserves recognition. Pushing boundaries is not about overdoing or going extreme for the sake of it. It is more about getting the mental block out while being aware of physical limitations.
Qn. 9 – Did you make efforts in changing your food habits for good?
If you were able to regulate your eating habits or avoid junk foods, you have certainly taken the first step. It is indeed a complex subject with myriad opinions, confusing facts, and guilt feeling engulfing every meal. You can give yourself one point if you have made any conscious effort to improve your eating habits, however trivial it may appear.
Qn. 10 – Did you practice socially responsible behaviour?
The biggest challenge of the pandemic is bringing in socially responsible behaviour, be it sporting masks or not visiting crowded spaces or not spreading rumours on vaccination. Runners are generally very disciplined, given the rigour that the activity demands over the years. Being socially responsible is the first step towards getting out of the pandemic and it is time to reward you with another point.
Even if you haven’t scored enough points above, you are still eligible for bonus points below.
10 Bonus Points
If you didn’t bother about the statistics from Strava or have not installed any tracking apps; if you never worried about commonly accepted evaluation of your fitness activities, give yourself ten points. You know why you do what you do. You enjoy running and that alone matters for you. You deserve 10 points more than anyone else.
10 ‘Additional’ Bonus Points
If you were never into any fitness activities, and still wanted to read this blog out of sheer curiosity, I certainly owe you ten points. You have made a beginning and I am sure you will take up running very soon. Ten points for the curiosity and the first step towards a healthy new year!
That should ensure points on everyone’s scorecard. Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy 2022!
Wow Balaji, this evaluation is so holistic and not mere numbers. Different perspective.
Very well written article and makes a lot of sense, Balaji!