I first drew up this list relatively early in my professional career (around age 25) and, throughout the years, have made small alterations to it. It was originally created during a very low point in my life when I was seriously considering giving up the sport that I love. While struggling though a particularly long and grueling winter of base training, I had come to feel old and tired. Looking back, I understand that this was just a symptom of fatigue. At the time, I was confident that my best running years were behind me. I assumed that I had nothing left to look forward to and this feeling sapped me of all motivation to train. I knew that I had to find passion and motivation once again, so I made a list of running related goals that I wanted to accomplish in my life. I knew some of these goals were lofty and would take years of hard work, while others were quite easy and pretty much anyone could accomplish. The point was that each goal was important to me. Even if I never ran another personal best again, I could still find that same sense of accomplishment by checking an item off.
As I had hoped, the list gave me renewed motivation and I began to train diligently once again. Though I went on to run many more personal bests after creating this list, I kept it, knowing all too well that I was sure to find myself in a dark training funk again. Some days certain goals feel unachievable and I must temporarily put them aside and focus on the ones that I know I can attain. In doing so, this list has brought me much inspiration during good times and bad and I have managed to cross off several items. In fact, as I write this I am in the process of checking one off. I am currently training with Leo Manzano in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. My motivation behind doing so was to see what kind of training a world class 1500m runner puts in, but also to check off item number one.
My Running Bucket List
Return to Train in Mexico (CHECK, January-February 2013)
-In the summer of 2005 I, along with two college buddies, moved to Toluca, Mexico to train at altitude for the summer and practice our Spanish. After those three months I went on to run personals bests in everything from the 400m to the 8k and shaved three full seconds off my 800m time which was, ultimately, what launched my professional career. When I signed my first professional contract I made a promise to myself to one day return to train in Mexico.
Incorporate (CHECK, May 2011)
-Though I had been running professionally and, technically, operating my own business for several years, I never felt like I was truly running a business until I incorporated. In May 2011, with help from my accountant, I created Nick Symmonds, LLC. Having done so, I set out to grow the business. Obviously, the number one way to do this is to run fast, but like any good business model, I made sure to diversify my marketing strategy and set out to grow in other, innovative ways as well. Examples of this can be found on my website nicksymmonds.com, which was designed by my marketing partner, Hanson Dodge Creative, or on my other website nicksymmondsproducts.com where you can purchase items, like a copy of my 2012 Training Log, which covers 100% of the training I did to prepare for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Make 2nd Olympic Team (CHECK, June 2012)
-This is one of the goals that took years of hard work to accomplish. I could not have done so without a lot of help from my sponsors, my coach Mark Rowland, and all of my teammates on Oregon Track Club Elite.
Train in Australia (CHECK, Winter 2010 and 2011)
-I had always wanted to train in Australia and, thanks to the generous support of professional 800m runner Lachlan Renshaw and his incredible family, I was able to do so.
Win a World Medal (PENDING)
-I will have another shot at this one in August at the 2013 World Championship in Moscow, Russia.
Workout at an Olympic Training Center (PENDING)
-Though I have had the credentials to get me into an Olympic Training Center for eight years, I have not yet taken advantage of this incredible opportunity. I hope to do so very soon!
Run a Marathon (PENDING)
-While this may not seem all that difficult, considering millions of people run these every year, it is one of the most daunting goals I have set for myself. Though I consistently log 60+ miles per week, the longest run I have ever finished is a 14 miler. I struggle to wrap my mind around running almost twice that distance!
Run a Sub 5 Minute Beer Mile (PENDING)
-After the 2012 Olympic Games I took a crack at this one. The results can be seen on this video here. Though I failed to run sub 5 and secure the World Record, I am confident that I was able to learn from this attempt and now know where I can make improvements.
Participate in a Charity 5k (PENDING)
-This is one that most people probably have on me. Despite the fact that I have raced thousands of times, I have never run a 5k on the roads for fun. Those of you who get out of bed early on a Sunday to participate in these events are what the sport of running is really about.
Win an Olympic Medal (PENDING)
-My loftiest goal by far. I have had two cracks at it, hoping third time is a charm!
While some of these goals seem trivial and others are much loftier, each one is important to me. Though I may never check all of them off, the list inspires me to get out of bed every morning, lace up my Nike trainers, and find passion in what I do. This is, of course, the most important goal of all. I encourage every runner, whether you are brand new to the sport or are a seasoned veteran, to make your own running bucket list and let it be a source of motivation and provide you with a sense of accomplishment for years to come.
Your friend in running,