I’m really proud of this year in running. Hands down, this has been the year I’ve raced more than any other year. I busted my butt starting back in April to focus on getting fast. So it was also a year of speed. And then there were weeks of pain. And then recovery and back to speed. This year in running might also be the first time I feel like I truly figured out the balance of running and the rest of life (though I’m not entirely sure my husband would agree with this!).
I also set some pretty specific goals for the year and accomplished most of them with a few new goals peppered in as I checked things off the list. I totaled 14 races for the year and originally hoped to cover 1,000 miles for the year. I’ve happily covered more than 1,326 for the year.
2013 Running Highlights
- Half marathon PR: I got one in March and then beat it by 4 minutes in November for a 13.1 PR of 1:42:19.
- BQ training and qualifying: A summer worth of training, using the same “run fast run less” plan as my friend, and then racing with her in the race I’ve traveled the farthest for and accomplishing a BQ, albeit for a 2015 time in a new age group, but mission accomplished nonetheless!
- Speed training: I committed to making it to our local high school track at least once a week and another small victory in this was realizing I could use the ‘lap’ button on my Garmin to track my splits during track work-outs. There was no excuse not to know where I stood with Yasso 800s! I also really focused on doing tempo runs right which means using that first mile as a genuine warm-up and then building to pace.
- Cross-training: I did enough of this to know that it works and if I can figure out how to stick with it, it will pay off even more. I didn’t start it until I was perhaps in the last quarter of training but I used our rowing machine, squats, wall sits and different core exercises to prepare for racing downhill.
- Girls on the Run: I volunteered for the local GOTR Chesapeake’s winter 5k and was reminded about how much I love that organization and giving back. The current director, Lara Mish, is, in my view, an icon in our local running community. She is a friend and someone I admire greatly so I was glad to be able to help her out when she made the rally call for volunteers.
- Run / life / work balance: I think I figured this out. The trick remains getting up early for weekday work-outs and having the support of family for weekend long runs. What I think really helped make this work is the three-day-a-week plan.
- Cross-training: This will probably always be on my list of things I need to do better. End of story.
- Injury prevention: Going through the unexpected hip pain reinforces the above need to cross-train. It also reminds me that I should’ve continued foam rolling well into when I was feeling good again.
- Giving back: I didn’t volunteer this year quite the way I wanted to. I blame this in part on being a bit of an overcommitter and not really being able to volunteer as much as I want. I got in one run as a pacer for the Annapolis Zooma Half Marathon; my second attempt at pacing didn’t pan out; and I volunteered at the GOTR 5k but I know there’s always a need for more help at more races.
2014 Running & Tri Goals
In my head I have some very simple goals for 2014.
- A spring marathon (currently debating between Pittsburgh and Gettysburg) where I hope to match my 3:35 PR. This means I will need to be ready to start a 12-week training plan early February and will need to reintroduce myself to speedwork, tempos and hills. This is also a total shift from my recently announced plan to beat the winter mileage decline and I thank Coach Jim for his comment that helped me motivate for a change in plans.
- I’d really like to run a half marathon with a 7:30 pace. This is going to be a really hard goal to reach. I don’t think it’s impossible but is going to require serious speedwork and cross-training commitment. I also think I’ll need quite a bit of time and a few tries which is why I think a spring marathon makes sense. I can then build on my marathon training all summer and target some fall half marathons for this goal.
- Summer sprint triathlons, hopefully 3. I really miss triathlon. I do love biking and I enjoy swimming. While I figured out the run/life balance I have yet to figure out the tri/life balance. I think if I focus on sprint tris I should be able to achieve the training necessary. Ideally one in July, August and September or October.
- Work 1-3 races. I have to be realistic. If I can work the water stop at one race that would be awesome. If I can find the time to help out at more than one I know how much more rewarding the experience will be.
And that’s it! I’d love to hear your highlights, lessons learned and goals you have for 2014!