I don’t love how New Year’s resolutions are marketed these days (nor how congested they make gym classes…), but I do see value in setting new intentions for the year ahead. I’ll be gentler on myself, I’ll be more complimentary to my spouse, I’ll focus on being more appreciative — that sort of thing. And, although you won’t hear me resolve to lose 10 lbs. in 2016, I also see value in setting goals. (Obvi… This is a blog entirely dedicated to my goal of running 50 marathons in 50 states…) I’ve decided on three running-related goals for 2016.
As I’ve already written, I am planning on running four marathons in four new states this coming year.
- Mississippi Blues Marathon, January 9 (Mississippi)
- A TBD marathon sometime between March and July
- Suggestions? I’ve got a few possibilities on my list, including races in Ohio, Kentucky, California, and Rhode Island. Depending on the schedule, I might sneak two in this time span because I’m feeling the impending doom of potential motherhood hovering over my running plans for the next decade…
- Mesa Falls Marathon, August 27 (Idaho)
- Portland Marathon, October 9 (Oregon)
I will get my marathon time back under 3:45.
But — and this is key — I’m not going to go out of my way to pick a flat, fast course to do it. Which is really a new challenge because my PR, 3:44:47, was on the fast New Orleans Marathon course. I also benefited from being particularly lean (for me) at the time — about seven pounds less than I weigh now. (According to Runner’s World, some estimates project that losing ten pounds can result in a savings of 20 seconds per mile, or almost 9 minutes over the course of a full marathon.)
A goal doesn’t get you far if you don’t have concrete steps to achieving it. Accordingly:
- If I’m going to try to get to a PR weight, the challenge will be to get leaner without losing muscle. A few tips if you are in this boat with me: go super gradual — no crash diets or extreme calorie restriction (those will cause you to lose muscle mass and mess up your metabolism); eat plenty of protein (not necessarily meat!) and veggies; and incorporate intervals and weightlifting into the workout routine.
- I need to do a better job of figuring out my race nutrition. I should have this down to a science at this point, but I don’t.
- Orangetheory. Orangetheory. Orangetheory. Intervals make you faster, plain and simple.
- Run a few shorter distance races — maybe a 10 miler or half marathon — to work on my speed.
- Finally, to achieve this goal, I need to be more creative with my long runs, so that I stick a little closer to my training plan than I have lately (see, e.g., here (17 miler with a salad break) and here (non-existent 20 miler) and here (another non-existent 20 miler)). I’m going to (1) join a few group runs in the city, (2) try to persuade my old running buddies to get back out there with me (get ready, running buddies!), and (3) keep going with the podcasts for entertainment and motivation.
Goal Three (This is The Biggie! Well, maybe the last one was The Biggie. OK, they are both Big.):
I’m going to run or walk 2016 miles in 2016.
That’s an average of almost 40 miles per week, or over 5.5 miles per day. When I first had this idea, I thought my goal would be to run that amount, and not to include walks, but after thinking it over and listening to some Katy Says podcasts, I think it makes sense to include walks because walks have legit value, and I don’t want to feel pressured to replace all of them with runs. However, I won’t count incidental walking, like going to get water or walking to the bathroom at work, even though incidental walking is really great and important. I will include miles walked home from work, miles earned while walking the dog, etc. I’m planning to track this all using Strava. (UPDATE 1/1/16: Unfortunately, it looks like Strava will only record total miles logged as “running” or “biking,” so I’ll need to log all walks as runs to have Strava keep track of my total. Sort of a bummer and something I really hope Strava will fix in the future.) But what about Orangetheory treadmill miles? you might ask. I’ll manually input those into Strava, something I’ve never tried but I see is possible. If I can’t get a reading from the treadmill (for instance, if we stop the treadmills between blocks), I’ll just default to 3 miles per Orangetheory class. Based on how much I usually run and the pace I usually go, I think 3 miles is conservative.
This goal is a good reach for me because I’ve never really focused on my total mileage. I’ve had folks ask me “How many miles do you run a week?” and I’m like, “Uhh… well, I just did a long run… so like 17 last week?” But I’m also not going to focus on miles for the sake of miles. I’m going to work on balancing slow long runs, easy shorter runs, tempo runs, interval runs, and restorative walks. I’ll try to avoid “junk miles” (although, I’ll admit, I’m still trying to figure out what that means).
I also think this is a good goal for me because I quit the gym and might be tempted to veg out more than usual. To keep my activity level up, I need to replace any gym sessions I might have had with other activities. Walking or running are easy substitutes.
OK, I also have some BONUS INTENTIONS tangentially related to running:
I am going to:
- learn more about the gut microbiome and nutrition (instead of just blindly sucking down gallons of kombucha)
- get more massages and do more restorative poses and movements
- go camping
- read Move Your DNA (maybe audiobook?)
- spend less time sitting in my desk chair and on the couch, and more time standing, squatting, and sitting on the floor in various positions
- understand more about anatomy and biomechanics
- hike and run on the trails more
What are your goals and intentions for 2016? Any tips as I tackle mine? And seriously, what should I run this spring?!