If you would have told me in January what I would accomplish by the end of 2015, I would have told you that you are insane.
This was me in January:
I was injured and didn’t run for a total of 86 days. I spent 12 weeks in a boot, and three of those weeks on crutches to heal a very bad and very stubborn posterior medial tibial stress fracture.
The recovery process was slow. I stuck like glue to the 10 percent rule after starting with a short run-walk program. It took me 11 weeks to go from 11 miles to 30 miles. Only then did I start a five week short-distance training plan to try to get my speed back. Then, I did a four week period of easy base building before finally jumping back into marathon training.
For those keeping track at home, that was 20 weeks of recovery for 12 weeks of injury before I even started marathon training. Looking back, I’m really proud of myself for not rushing things, and I credit that gradual recovery with getting me to where I am today.
I started the year with three A goals and two B goals, and I hit them all.
On the A goal front, I succeeded in recovering from my stress fracture intelligently and remaining (knock on wood) injury free for the rest of the year. I had a goal of 3:15 for the marathon and sub-1:32 for the half, and I thought those were ambitious. At the beginning of the year, I thought it would be a miracle for me to reach those goals. As it turns out, I managed to run 3:06 and 1:28, respectively.
On the B goal front, I wanted to break 20 minutes in the 5k and run faster than 5:44 in the road mile. I managed to smash both of those goals, as well, running a 19:34 in late October and 5:36 in the 5th Avenue Mile in September.
All in, I took a combined 23 minutes and 42 seconds off my PRs in the marathon, half, 5k and mile, having run seven races and a Ragnar over the course of the year.
It’s funny, because for me this is so few races! A large part of it is that I spent so much time returning from injury, and I didn’t want to push it by racing. But I think I want to keep my race calendar on the lighter side going forward. I love racing, but ultimately, I’ve learned if I want to run and train well, it’s better for me to focus on tailored workouts rather than throwaway races.
Anyway, I’m still in awe, particularly of my Philadelphia Marathon time. I never thought I could possibly run such a fast marathon. I was so mediocre in high school, when I ran track and cross country, I think even my old coaches would be totally flabbergasted.
That awe makes it particularly difficult to set new goals for the New Year. Have I reached my peak? Or do I need to continue to set ambitious goals for myself?
I’m never one to back away from a challenge, so I think the answer is that I need to continue to set ambitious goals, and to try my best.
So here they are:
|A Goals||B Goals|
|A sub-3 hour marathon||Run 2,500 miles|
|An 85 minute half marathon||Break 19:00 in the 5K|
My focus will remain on longer distances, with the marathon being the race nearest and dearest to my heart. While I’m only looking to shave 6 minutes and 34 seconds off my time next year (versus more than 15 minutes this year), I do believe I’m at the point where each minute will become more difficult to shave off than the last.
Look at it this way: A 3:06:34 puts me in the 96.83 percentile for the marathon, the 98.62 percentile against my age group. A 2:59:59 would put me in the 97.94 percentile in the marathon, and the 99.31 percentile against my age group. That’s a big jump!
Still, I’m optimistic. I didn’t expect to run so well in Philadelphia, and I feel like I have room for improvement yet. Training for the Boston Marathon, the first step toward those goals, starts next Monday!
How do you determine your goals? What do you do when you unexpectedly exceed your expectations?