If you remember back to November, I shared with you how at a loss I am in this. And really, here on Jan. 3, I still am in a bit of wonder.
I've had some lofty goals in the past. Well, lofty for me. Some I've reached. Some it took me a while to accomplish. Some I need to work on. While I love running and want to run every day, I still need goals to keep me motivated.
"Motivated for what?" you ask.
Motivated for life.
Goals are what give us focus, drive to reach for things we never thought possible. And this applies to everything in life, not just running. If you're not working toward something, you're working for nothing.
Part of my struggle in coming up with new goals was I was getting a little burned out trying to reach my big one for 2013: running 1,750 miles for the year. I did hit the mark but only after I took the attitude of "Good if I do, OK if I don't." I felt like I was pushing myself too hard to get those miles in just to say "I did it."
Now, I did hit the mark finishing the year with 1,756 miles, but I credit the start of marathon training for that.
Another thing about goals is they shouldn't be easily attainable. If it's easy, is it really worth it?
Make the goal big.
Make the goal real big.
Make the goal so big it scares you.
Now, I have a number of goals in mind, but some of those are just regular things to shoot for. Things like:
- Run 1,800 miles for the year. (Got to top last year's total, right)
- Keep my streak of running at least 100 miles each month going. (31 and counting ...)
- Run at least 2 marathons this year. (I'm in love with 26.2.)
- Continue the family runs. (I so love these. They are the best.)
Here are the goals that frighten me.
Goal No. 1 - Post a sub-4:35 marathon. Last year, I posted a PR of 4:51:11, which is just a tick over 11 minutes per mile. I'd like to post an average pace of 10:30, which would put me in the 4:35 range. In order to help me get this, I've amped up my training program, switching from the 'seasoned' training plan to the 'hardcore' one. In this plan, I'm doing more hill work and speed work than before. It's my goal to build up endurance and strength to help to me sustain a steady pace throughout the marathon. On shorter distances like the 5K and 4-milers, I can easily post sub-9 minute splits, and I keep flirting with a sub-2 half marathon. Yet, the second half of the marathon tends to always bite me in the butt. Along with the needed endurance and strength, I need to learn to trust in my pace.
Goal No. 2 - Run an ultramarathon. Since running my first marathon, this has been on my radar. My biggest issue has been finding one at a time my work schedule would allow. This year, I'm determined to find one this fall to run. Other than when, the only other question is what distance. I've thought about simply sticking my toes in the ultra water and running a 50K, but in the last day or so, I've been thinking about a 50-miler. Yes, I apparently have been drinking the ultramarathon kool-aid. I blame this on 2 things: 1. The Idiots Running Club. There's all types of runners in this fun little club, but there are a high number who've run an ultramarathon or two or three. And 2. My running buddy Chris. He's currently training for a 50-miler in March, and I've been joining him for a number of his training runs. Call me crazy, but it looks like fun. (Our wives think we're nuts for the runs we do. They even call us "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum" or "Dumb and Dumber.")
Goal No. 3 - Sub-2 Half Marathon. This will be a goal until I get it. I am planning to run a half in February, but I'm uncertain on if I'll go for it then since I'll be in the midst of marathon training. I coulda, woulda, shoulda had my sub-2 back in October, but I totally psyched myself out of it. But a sub-2 will be mine. Oh yes it will.
Goal No. 4 - A 200-mile month. I came very close last year when I recorded 187 miles in a month. My goal then was 175 miles, so I surprised myself with the 187. Like I noted already, I've racked up dozens of 100-plus mile months, so I would like to put up a crooked number in front of the triple-digit tally.