Sunday, November 13, 2016

2016 Running Goals and Race Review

I know, it seems too early in the year to do a "2016 Review".  But I've completed all my races for the year, and I've taken this week off after my HM last week.  Early in the week my Achilles was sore, that's healed up but I still have a sore calf (peroneus longus?).  I should be able to start back running next week and build my mileage up.

This year is my first "full year" of planned training and racing, and the first year I've done a race beyond 5k.  When I started the year I had only planned on doing 5k's and 10k's, but as the year progressed I ended up doing 2 half marathons and a 20k as well. well did I end up meeting my 2016 goals?

2016 Goals...

Goal #1. Injury Free -
  • I've been pretty much injury free all year.  At least no injuries that kept me from running (with the exception of maybe turning a workout into an easy run).
  • I added running specific strength training, ITB work, warm-up routines, and anything else I could think of - to hold off injury.
  • I've been careful to back off as soon as something doesn't "feel right" - usually an ITB.
  • Right now I have an Achilles "flare up" sort of  - and a sore calf.  But they didn't keep me from running, and I had planned a week off anyway after my last race of the year last week.
  • So....I'll call this one "achieved", with an asterisk.
Goal #2. Improve Form and Pacing -
  • Going into this year I had yet to run a negative split, or evenly paced race.
  • Every race was a positive split, usually hanging on, and hoping a don't slow down too much.
  • The first half the year, this trend continued until in September I finally ran a negative split in a 10k race.  Looking back I probably held back too much in the first 4 miles of the race, since I had a lot left and practically sprinted the last 600 meters or so.  But still...progress.
  • Then in November I ran a pretty well paced HM, finishing strong and completely spent....just about right. 
  • I've improved my form this year -which for me means 180 striders per minute and "running tall". 
  • I still have work to do here....but improved quite a bit.  Achieved.
Goal #3. 5k in 18:36
  • My best 5k was back in March, with a time of 18:41.  I did this as a "build-up" race to a 10k a few weeks later.  I was surprised by the time, and I figured I'd have many chances to take off another 5 seconds in 2016.
  • But,  even tho I tried a few more times, I couldn't get below 18:41.
  • So.....missed my goal by 5 seconds.  Not accomplished...but damn close.
Goal #4. 10k in 39:30 -
  • I only ran two 10k's this year, but I still thought I could have made this goal.
  • In September I ran a pretty smart race, negative splitting, as mentioned above, but I held back a little too much in the first part of the race, and finished in 39:36.
  • So....again missed my goal by 6 seconds.  Not accomplished. 
  • Based on my 5k and HM times, I should be able to run close to 39 flat...something for next year.
Bonus -
  • During the year I started running longer races....2 HM's and a 20k.
  • My best race of the year was probably a HM last week, with a PR of 1:25:41.
  • This was a breakthrough for me, and a big learning experience.  I'm getting better at "feeling" the effort and an understanding of how hard I can push.  A big confidence boost.
  • Finally feel like a "real" racer - I've completed a number of longer races now and I'm getting the "feel" for them.  I have A LOT to learn still, but big improvement this year.  Last year at this time I couldn't even think about RACING a half marathon.
So, overall a pretty solid year of running and racing.  I learned something about myself, my perseverance and ability to stay disciplined (most of the time), and doing the right thing (most of the time) by cutting back the mileage when something didn't feel right.  I was able to push through the burning lungs and tired legs at the end of a race to achieve a PR - and learning how to hang on the "edge" of blowing up and finishing strong.  I missed a few time targets, they will be on my goals for next year.....always have next year.  Speaking of which....
  • As of today, my biggest goal in 2017 is to complete a marathon.
    • Based on my HM time of 1:25:41, I think if I have a good race I can finish in 3:00 to 3:05.
    • RNR DC Marathon is March 11.  That will be my first goal race next year.
  • I will probably fill out the rest of the year trying to improve on my 5k, 10k, and HM PRs.
    • I will target the Fall to go for PR's in those distances.
  • Highest priority will still be staying healthy and having fun!  I turn 50 next Summer, so I have to really pay attention to aches and pains, and not try to pack too many hard workouts in my plans....I need a lot of time for recovery.
Other Related Topics
Wharton Rope Active Isolation Stretching
  • After my Achilles and calf strain I decided it might a good thing to try Phil Wharton's "Active Isolation Stretching".
  • I kept seeing it pop up in various articles by people I respect.
  • I did the 40 minute routine a couple days ago (Friday), and the 20 minute routine and focus on feet and ankle Saturday.
  • Too early to tell if it's really going to help me....and if I'll stick with it.  It does take A LOT of time, but if I feel healthier - and have a better chance of staying injury free - it will be worth it.  Especially now that I'm training for a marathon.
  • We'll see how it goes....stay tuned.
Generation UCAN
  • I've used the UCAN Super Starch half a dozen times now and I seems to really work for me on long runs and for half marathons.
  • I've been able to run up to 17 miles (two hours), and race a HM without needing ANY fueling during my long runs.
  • I've found that a small breakfast two hours prior to run start, and a scoop (almost a full scoop) of UCAN in about 12 oz. of water 30 minutes prior to start is all is need.  No re-fueling needed.
  • I still hate the taste of it...but I'm kind of getting used to it.
  • Next challenge will be to figure out how / what I need to get thru a full marathon using it.  I will probably take another scoop in water around mile 10-12 of the marathon.....practice in future long training runs will determine what works.

Man, a week off from running and can really seem like a LONG time...glad I'm back to it next week.

Happy running everyone.

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