2016 Running Goals Update: … the entire rest of the year

Uh, so… what happened?

Well, I started looking for a new job in August, so between revising my resume, submitting applications, and lying in bed staring at the ceiling with every muscle in my face tensed, I didn’t have a lot of spare time. I started in on the new job in October, and simultaneously got into doing Crossfit. Between adjusting to my new work schedule and lifting so many things up off the ground – a previously foreign activity – I’m just now pulling my running life back together.

2016 Goal Review

1. RUN 5K IN UNDER 30 MINUTES.

Done in May! 29:53.

2. RUN A MILE IN UNDER 8:30.

I attempted to run a timed mile in the last week of December. It was SO COLD outside and I had been jumping rope trying to figure out double unders just prior, and possibly because of those two factors, it went pretty poorly – 10:04. That’s a pace I can sustain during a 10k race. I’ll just have to give it another shot this year!

3. RUN 10 MILES.

I’m a little surprised I never knocked this one out – 8 miles with Steph is still my longest. However, I’ve decided to train for the Napa Valley Silverado Half Marathon this April. I’ve started in on Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 1 half marathon training program, and I’m scheduled to get up to 10 miles in Week 8 of the program, which I should hit sometime in March. So, the outlook is good on this one.

4. TRY RUNNING BEFORE WORK.

Well, I technically did accomplish this, but only because I changed jobs and my work schedule radically shifted! I now normally start my workday at 10 or 11 in the morning, and finish up around 7 at night, so all of my running is taking place in the morning now.

5. RUN 5 DAYS A WEEK FOR ONE MONTH.

Done and done!

Let’s evaluate

While I definitely don’t get to check off all five goals, they did help me push myself to run faster, longer, and more often.

FASTER

I set 5k and 10k PRs this year!

I also realized recently that there is now a difference between my “easy” pace and my “race” pace. I’m not sure when this happened. For a long time, they were one and the same!

LONGER

As I get faster, running longer distances takes a slightly less preposterous chunk of time, and becomes more accessible. I ran six miles or longer nine times this year. Four miles is no longer a big deal

Running longer distances has also taken me to cooler places – I’ve loved running to Lake Ilsanjo in Annadel and I’m excited to try out some new trails this year.

MORE OFTEN

Looking back at the year, it sure looks like running more often makes me better at running. I know it shouldn’t come as a shock, but it’s cool to see!

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2016 Running Goals Update: June and July

I’ve felt really disorganized and unfocused for the last month or so, and it’s really surprised me. I think I’m almost out the other side now, though. I’ll have to see how it goes!

At the beginning of the summer, I exhibited what I now feel was some impressive willpower by continuing to run after work even though it was hot. But you guys… it’s still so hot. My mental game is weakening. I can neither be bothered to get up early enough to avoid the heat, nor get out and run in it.

So, I’m diversifying. I’m making an effort to still get out and do something, even if it’s not running. The following activities have made appearances lately:

  • Hiking
  • Going to the honest to goodness gym (okay this was only the one time but I plan to go again)
  • Standing in the pool (this might not be exercise)

Onward…

1. RUN 5K IN UNDER 30 MINUTES.

Done in May! 29:53.

2. RUN A MILE IN UNDER 8:30.

I’m just killing it on my no-timed-miles streak.

3. RUN 10 MILES.

Not yet. One 6.2 towards the end of June, and another at the Kenwood Footrace on the Fourth of July. Still working my way up…

4. TRY RUNNING BEFORE WORK.

Nope nope nope.

5. RUN 5 DAYS A WEEK FOR ONE MONTH.

Done and done!

May Running Madness: Weeks 2, 3, and 4

Let’s Count Things
May 9 – 15

Runs: 5
Miles: 12.9 (5.5, 2, 2, 1, 2.3)
Times I couldn’t not run to the lake: 1
Parks visited: 3 (Spring Lake, Annadel, Crane Creek)

May 16 – 22

Runs: 4
Miles: 10.7 (2, 2.2, 1.4, 5.1)
Buddy runs: 1, the very best 1
Baths: 2

May 23 – 29

Runs: 3
Miles: 6.7 (1.1, 3.1, 2.5)
Times I ran 5k in under 30 minutes: 1!!!!!
Beers: ??

Reflections
Let’s not get technical

As you can see from the numbers, my enthusiasm for this goal waned after the middle of the month. I technically failed this goal by missing one run in Week 3 and two runs in Week 4. Still, I feel that I got what I needed from this month, and I’m the boss of me so what I say goes.

The good

I’m glad I gave this a shot. It got me into the habit of running more often, and actually altered my perspective on not running. Running was the default, and the decision not to run was more calculated – I wasn’t just slacking, I was taking a rest day.

I did start out doing more longer runs, which were a LOT of fun but weren’t sustainable through the month. I also reached a major speed goal (look out for a goal update post on this)!

The bad

My legs felt the added stress of running with less recovery time. In the third week I had a little pain in my shins and my knees. After an ambitious start in Week 1, I tried to keep most of my runs to just a mile or two. But that was frustrating too, since the pre- and post-run process takes just as long, even if I only run for half an hour.

I’ve had less time and energy to devote to other things I like to do, particularly cooking and the guitar. I gave the apartment less attention, too – I was busy and tired enough to not care about messes that would usually irk me.

And honestly, I’m tired of washing my hair and my running clothes all the time.

Looking ahead

I’m going to try going down to three or four runs each week. I’d like to focus more on the quality and purpose of the run, rather than running a couple miles just to be able to say that I ran today. And I’d like to take advantage of these long summer afternoons and keep running longer distances!

 

May Running Madness: Week 1

5. RUN 5 DAYS A WEEK FOR ONE MONTH.

I made a strong start to the month with five runs last week, so I’m aiming to cross this one off by the end of May!

The stated objective for this goal is to see how I feel when I run more often, but I’m also hoping that taking the opportunity to build up my weekly mileage will help me accomplish my distance and speed goals.

Running at Spring Lake and Annadel

I did all but one of my runs last week at Spring Lake Regional Park before coming home from work. This means that running becomes the fun thing I get to do after work before I have to go home and do stupid grownup things like laundry and cooking dinner. I also get lots of new trails to explore, because Spring Lake connects with Howarth Park (which apparently also has a train, a carousel and a PETTING ZOO) and Annadel State Park.

An unexpected downside of being so excited about running right now is that I think I may be overdoing it a little. I had intended to start off slowly, keeping it to 2 or 3 mile runs with maybe a 4 on the weekend, but I ended up doing 5.5 miles on Friday and again today.

My knees and ankles are speaking to me, so I’m going to try to keep it at just a couple miles a day for the rest of the week.

In summary…

May 2 – 8

Runs: 5
Miles: 16.2 (3.3, 3.1, 2.2, 5.5, 2)
Canada geese seen: Like a million and oh so many goose babbies

Times I kind of got lost: 2… ish. Once I worried I had perhaps ended up at Lake Ralphine in Howarth Park. Another time a trail spat me out into a neighborhood about a mile from the park and I had to run back in through the entrance!

2016 Running Goals Update: March and April

1. RUN 5K IN UNDER 30 MINUTES.

Matched my 5k best from February with another 31:32 last week. This was my first run following a full month of literally not running even once and skipping a lot of runs in March. For the first mile I was a gazelle bounding across the savannah on my fresher-than-fresh legs and the rest was an absolute grind.

2. RUN A MILE IN UNDER 8:30.

Absolutely no further progress or attempts made. I guess running a mile for time is not my idea of fun.

3. RUN 10 MILES.

I’m still working back up to anything longer than 3…

4. TRY RUNNING BEFORE WORK.

Come on, surely I can meet the goal of just trying it one time.

5. RUN 5 DAYS A WEEK FOR ONE MONTH.

I think I might be trying this one right now… we’ll see!

2016 Running Goals Update: February

1. RUN 5K IN UNDER 30 MINUTES.

Knocked 25 seconds off my PB last Thursday with a 31:32 actual 5k. This was a challenging pace, but was not an all-out effort, which feels pretty cool to me.

2. RUN A MILE IN UNDER 8:30.

Managed a 9:13 mile as part of a two-mile run last Monday, but haven’t tried a mile for time yet.

3. RUN 10 MILES.

I ran 8 miles with Steph on Saturday! It’s the farthest away from home I’ve ever been, Mr. Frodo I’ve ever run. I felt solid up through mile 6, which is the farthest I run on any kind of regular basis. After that I was just hanging on!

4. TRY RUNNING BEFORE WORK.

No progress here yet.

5. RUN 5 DAYS A WEEK FOR ONE MONTH.

Nothing yet here either, but it’s light enough now that I can get in a couple miles after work!

2016 Running Goals Update: Two Lessons

1. Run 5k in under 30 minutes

For about five minutes yesterday, I thought I had this one in the bag.

So close!

Is this thing working? It says my average pace was 9:48. That’s basically lightspeed. That’s the fastest I’ve ever run for three miles.

However… three miles does not a 5k make.

Lesson 1: Remember how long the distance you’re going for actually is.

I was pretty psyched until I realized that in my excitement I had forgotten how long 5k actually is. It’s not 3.01 miles, it’s 3.1.

After further consideration, I realized that even if I had kept going for another tenth of a mile and made the 5k distance, I might not have come in under 30 minutes. At a 9:48 average pace, I would have finished 5k in 30:27. I was definitely going faster towards the end, and maybe I could have kept that up… but maybe not.

But, that brings me to…

Lesson 2: Willpower is, um, like, pretty important.

I hadn’t thought about trying for this goal when I went out yesterday, but after the first half mile I realized I that was moving pretty quickly, and that it didn’t feel horrible. I kept it up for another half mile, and decided that I had already come this far and I should see if I could maintain the pace and make the goal time.

I got about another half mile in before it got rough. I kept up the pace, but it wasn’t pretty.

I don’t think it was really any easier yesterday than it would have been last week or the week before – but for some reason, I was willing to put in the effort and be uncomfortable for a while yesterday, and I hadn’t been before. That feels significant.