2016: Do the work!

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.

BQ (eventually)

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.


12 thoughts on “2016: Do the work!

  1. Great post! This is something I feel like I should think more about. I've always had trouble staying motivated to work hard for something that might not happen for 3 or 4 years *coughBQcough*. But I'm starting to come around and become more content with just slowly chipping away at my PRs until I finally achieve things that seemed literally impossible 2 years ago. I may never get those time goals but I'll at least get to look back and say I made improvement and achieved a lot along the way.

    Good luck in your new age group! This is my last year in the 25-29 age group and I'm kind of dreading moving up to the 30-34. The women in that age group here are freakin FAST, so I have a feeling it's going to be a lot more competitive. It makes sense, as I remember reading that women runners tend to peak in their 30s. So I like to think that my fastest days are still to come!


  2. Ohh I love this idea! I'm also trying to think long term, but for me I need a short term goal too to stay motivated. That's just how my mind works! I could see myself trying for a BQ in the future, so for now I'm focusing on finishing my marathon in one piece, then see where I can go from there 🙂 Now I know what I can do in the half with some hard work, so I have some goals in that, and I want to do the same for the marathon this year!


  3. Those are some serious goals!! I feel like I'm on the other end of the spectrum now. I used to love the 5k. And I had hoped to eventually go sub 20. But, as I get older I'm not as limber as I used to be , and whenever I ramp up the speed work, my body revolts…
    Welcome to the 30's club. I have about two years before I become a Master's runner. You're not old.
    And in my neck of the woods the most competitive (fastest) age groups are the 30-34 or 35-39 age groups.


  4. Thanks Hanna! The 30s ages groups are pretty competitive around here too. I think it is because a lot of the runners start running in their twenties, so by the time they reach their thirties, they have quite a few years of running experience to draw on. For local races I also see a lot of crazy fast 18-22ish runners. One of the perks of living in a college town I guess.

    I know what you mean about setting goals that feel impossible (1:37 half…am I crazy?!), but I'm sure if you keep chipping away at your big goals, you will reach them! I'd love to see a post from you talking about your long term goals.


  5. I'm probably going to set up some mini goal type things throughout the year to help keep me motivated. I've already started to designate which races will be goal races and which races will be training runs. Having a goal race to target helps keep my training on track even if I don't set an actual time goal until race day.


  6. That's actually one of the other reasons I want to focus on shorter races right now. I know running that hard in training and races is going to be tough on my body, so I figure I'd better do it now while I still can.

    Thanks for the welcome to the 30s club. I'm glad to be in such good company 🙂


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