Last year I decided to stop setting yearly/short term running goals and instead try to focus on what I hope to accomplish in the next 3-5 years. Mostly. I still had some business with a 1:45 half marathon to take care of in 2015. I gave myself the goal of running more and not getting injured and assumed that this would bring me a step closer to my long term goals. With new PRs in all of the distances I raced, it was certainly a successful year.
This year I want to continue to make progress towards my long term running goals, which are big and kind of scary. I don’t expect to actually reach any of these goals this year, but hopefully I will make some progress towards achieving them.
Sub 20:00 5k (2-4 year goal)
My current PR is 21:02. My progress over the past few years would suggest that I could come very close this year (2013 – 22:59, 2014 – 22:12, 2015 – 21:02). I am going to keep reminding myself that progress is not linear and there is no guarantee that this rate of improvement will continue.
1:37-1:38 Half Marathon (3-5 year goal)
My current PR is 1:42:20. I’d like to take another 5 minutes or so off of this time. Entering my current 5k PR into McMillan suggests a 1:37:23 half marathon. I am taking this not as a prediction of what I might hope to run in the next year, but as an indication of what might be possible if I continue to train smart and build endurance.
After running my first marathon last year I reached the conclusion that marathons are not quite for me…yet. When looking at race predictions, the longer the race, the further away I am from the predicted time. It is clear to me that I struggle more with endurance than I do with speed. I’m okay with that; I like shorter races. I’m also hoping to start graduate school very soon which could make training for a marathon very difficult. For now it makes sense to focus on shorter races.
With all of that said, I do see more marathons at some point in my future. Instead of continuing to beat my head against my lack of endurance, I want to take some time to build endurance with my lifetime running miles. So long as I keep running and keep training, my endurance should continue improving. Hopefully, the next time I start training for a marathon, I will have reduced the gap in my speed/endurance discrepancy. I am not planning to go after another marathon until I reach my half marathon goal.
But what about this year?
My goal for 2016 can be summed up as do the work. Train hard, but smart. Rest when needed. Eat healthy, drink more water, get plenty of sleep. Put in the miles. Put in the cross training. Get to the starting line healthy and prepared. Hopefully run some PRs, but if not evaluate what went wrong and learn from it.
I will also be running in a new age group this year, because today I turned 30. So here’s hoping for some nice age group awards and minimal freaking out about being old.