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. So...how well did I end up meeting my 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.