2014 Running Goals

My brother and I are very goal oriented, but we've always lived by the saying "a goal isn't a goal until you write it down." I don't know why, but it seems like when you write it down you're etching it in stone and solidifying your plans. Anyway, I thought I would go ahead and share a few of my running goals publicly on the blog, so it really holds me accountable to break out of my comfort zone and go above and beyond in this new year.  I know it's February, but I promise these goals were written down in my handy dandy composition notebook in December.


Zen Runner: Spirit of the Marathon is one of my favorite documentaries and one of the runners they highlight in the film talks about this small portion of the running population, the "zen runners." She describes these folks as those that ditch their GPS watches and instead of constantly glancing at their wrists they're just running free without a stress care in the world. Sounds pretty great, right? Towards the end of 2013, I started the process of breaking up with my watch. I thought back to the days when I was "just a charity runner" (pre-Garmins, blogs, etc.) and I have to say I had more fun then. I chatted more with fellow runners, I met some really great people, I did the best I could and I really enjoyed running. I want to get back to that. I no longer want to stress about the numbers on my watch, I want to run by feel. I no longer want to wait five minutes before I start my run for my Nike+ GPS watch to connect; or better yet when it doesn't, I no longer want to wave my wrist in the air in hopes the satellite Gods will magically strike and connect it. I no longer want to run circles in a parking lot at the end of a run waiting for my watch to round up to the nearest mile. I want to be that zen runner. I love running too much to let good/bad numbers affect my mood towards it. After my injury last year, I was reminded just how much I love the simple ability to run...gazing at nature, not my watch and soaking in every second. Will I give up my watch completely? No. For races, yes. During training, I'll bring my watch in every now and then to give me an update on my progress. Otherwise, this wrist is going naked and the breeze feels good.

Less Music, More Listening: Along with ditching my watch, I'm hoping to kick my music to the curb every once and awhile. This one for me is going to be much harder and I'm definitely not saying I'm giving up running with music for good. I just want to have a few runs a week where I'm not listening to any music. I want to be more alert with my body and my surroundings.

Cycle/Cross Train: This year, I really need to beef up my quads and my hamstrings to protect my knees. I've had multiple problems with my knees in the past and my brother always says to me, "that's a shame, because these are the knees you'll have for the rest of your life." It always haunts me...because he's right. If I have a future family, I want to be able to bend down and play with them. If I want to get faster, if I want to have healthy knees, I have to build muscle to protect them. I plan on incorporating more cycling and cross training.

Touch My Toes: I hope I gain more patience for yoga this year, so I can stretch out this stiff running body and finally touch my fingers to my toes again.

Core Work: Every elite runner, especially sprinters, exclaim you need a strong core to be a strong runner. Buuuuuut a lot of us tend to skip abs because they hurt and we'd rather pound a beer the pavement if we have the free time. Therefore, I am going to make a concious effort to take the time to focus on my abs this year. Instead of buying 6-packs, I'd like to obtain one.

Track: Speed work makes you want a barf, and maybe for a few of you...it actually does. When we are on the road, our schedule is all over the place, we're in new cities and I don't always have a track to work out at for speed work. Excuses. Whether on a dreadmill or just running a fartlek or tempo--I have to incorporate it if I want to get faster.

Vegetarian: I want to make it to at least 1-year as a vegetarian (almost at 6 months) and continue educating myself on food, what's going into our food, the process, and learn how to cook more delicious meals with exotic/good foods. I've seen such amazing affects since I became a vegetarian and at this point I can honestly say I can't imagine ever going back.

The Nitty Gritty: I WANT TO BQ. I want to push myself beyond my limits and damn it, I want to qualify for Boston and when I do...I'm throwing a party with my family and closest friends in Beantown. I've never followed a training plan, I've never done some of the things I've listed above and I have to do them in order to see if this goal is even possible. In January 2013, I ran my first sub-4 marathon at 3:55:44. Not long after, I became injured and am slowly building my mileage and speed back. In order to qualify for Boston, I would need to shave off at least 25 minutes from my marathon time. That is A LOT and it sounds like a lot, but you're also talking to a gal that once ran a 6-hour marathon. I know I can shave off time, it's whether I have the courage, the motivation and most importantly the discipline to do it. With the newer BQ rolling registration system, even if I hit my BQ time for my age group of 3:35, that doesn't mean I'll get in. Therefore, I need to aim for a 3:30 marathon time (avg. 8-min/mile). In a small way, I kinda hope people laugh at this goal or tell me I can't do it because it will only motivate me even more.

Year of the Half: With that said, I will not run a couple of marathons just to run them. Unfortunately, my body is not robotic like I wish it was and I'm not invincible like I like to think I am. I am going to respect that 26.2 distance moving forward. I do not want my knee to flare up or to get injured again. I want to focus on the half marathon as I build up my mileage post-injury and try to increase my pace. Once I build up my speed in the half marathon to a place where I'm comfortable and progressing, then I'll think about running another marathon.

Run More Races Without Racing: I love life on the road and I wouldn't trade it for the world, but there are some downsides...like having your friends around full-time or having running buddies. I have to motivate myself 100% of the time. Therefore I may run a few races in 2014 to hold myself accountable (when I'm in a funk, needing mileage, and wishing I had a running buddy to hold me to it).  I may not push myself in every race. I may just run some for fun (imagine that) or just to get in the mileage.

Half Marathon: I hope to run a few half marathons in the 1:40-1:42 range and I'd be really happy (although not a solid "goal") if I ran a 1:39 at least once.

5K: I have want to run a 5K in 22 minutes or less.

A.M. RUNNER: I have never been a morning runner, but I would love to be one. I just have to lay out all of my crap, stop hitting snooze and make it happen. I have always failed at this goal, so hopefully this year will be different...hopefully.

Well, there you have it ladies and gents. Etched in stone for all to see. I have A LOT of work ahead of me in 2014, so I better stop poking this keyboard and get to work...



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