As I close out 2017 without a single race under my belt, I must say I’m a little bummed…but I’m starting to feel more optimistic about the future.
When I wrote my 2016 Review and stated my 2017 goals, I was injured and disappointed that 2016 ended up being such a mediocre year after blowing away all my goals in 2015. I was hopeful that I would begin running again in January and be able to make another attempt at all those failed 2016 goals in 2017.
Then my injury proved more stubborn than anyone, including my orthopedic doctor, realized. I didn’t start running again until June. That means all my goals were out the window as I turned my focus to rebuilding from zero.
For the sake of full transparency, here’s were my goals for 2016 2017:
|Sub-3 Marathon||Run 2,500 miles|
|Sub-1:25 Half||Break 19:00 in the 5K|
|PR in the 10K|
I still those goals in mind for next year, and hopefully the third times the charm. I’m also going to approach my training a little differently based on lessons learned.
While I was originally planning to target two marathons in 2018, instead I’m only going to target one: Grandma’s Marathon. Instead of rushing back into training in the fall (I was originally thinking CIM), I’m going to focus on another base-building cycle before training for some shorter races.
While I obviously haven’t raced in quiet some time, one thing I have noticed is that my body responds really well to aerobic base building, by which I mean it responds really well to prolonged periods of training exclusively in the aerobic zone.
Exhibit A: After three months off the winter of 2014-2015 due to a tibial stress fracture, I was able to build up and shave 15 minutes off my marathon time eight months later. Exhibit B: After six months off an no real speed work in over a year, I’ve been able to bring my “General Aerobic” pace down to about 7:30 – about 15 seconds per mile faster than it was during peak training for the Boston Marathon last year.
Base building is easily overlooked and ignored because it isn’t sexy! Who wants to run nothing but easy runs for weeks, months at a time? But my main focus, the marathon is pretty much entirely an aerobic sport! While speed work is important, there is nothing more important than improving my aerobic endurance.
I am also going to use this as an opportunity to boost my weekly mileage to a new level. Even with all the base building I have done, I’ve never had enough time to get all the way to where I want to be. There just isn’t time if you are trying to squeeze two full marathon cycles into a year. Two 18-week cycles plus two five-week recovery cycles leaves you with only six weeks left in the year. The most I’ve ever run in a week was 67 miles. For 2019, I’d like to be able to train at about 75 to 80 miles per week.
I view 2018 as a year of building. It likely won’t be particularly exciting, but it will set the stage for good things to come. Consider it The Half-Blood Prince setting you us for The Deathly Hallows. At least there will (hopefully) be plenty of shorter races to spice things up. The first on the calendar is a 5K the first weekend of February.
Here’s to a better, healthier and faster 2018!