NYE and 2017 running goals (part 1)

img_1251Happy 2017!! I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday. I started the day off with a killer workout with Alexa, who is already kicking major butt with her Boston Marathon training (she’s running for an amazing org working to end sexual violence–more here!) We did 11 miles total–3 to warm up, 4 interval miles with 3 minutes at 7:20ish pace and 2 minutes at 8:20ish pace, and 4 to cool down…. all of this on the infamous Newton hills. More details and splits are here, but suffice it to say that we earned our champagne!

J and I spent the evening with lots of friends (and FOUR adorable dogs) and partied way past our bedtimes. It was a great night/weekend/end to the holiday season. Leaving the larger world for just a sec, I can’t wait for 2017. It will be the year I turn 30, finish my MBA, and of course, marry my best friend. img_1275I’ve also been thinking a lot about my running goals for the year. Laura over at This Runner’s Recipes (highly recommend her blog) wrote a great post about goal setting, which inspired me to think about the year in chunks rather than as one long slog. I’m a really different runner than I was 6 months ago, so it really resonates with me to set goals more often than every 12 months.

One big piece of this year’s goal-setting is thinking about whether/when I want to run a full marathon. I am going to leave this one up in the air for now, although there is a real possibility I will not be running a full marathon this year. While the master plan is still to 1. get my BQ, 2. run Boston, 3. maybe retire from marathoning, I know this year is going to be really busy so we’ll see what form this takes.

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New year. Same swishy ponytail.

In the meantime, I will most definitely be running and chasing some BIG goals–here are my goals for the first four-ish months of 2017!

  1. PR the half: My 1:36:55 finish at the Cambridge Half Marathon this fall really cemented something I already knew–I LOVE the half distance and have real capacity to improve at it. I am running the New Bedford Half in March and I would love to set a new PR at that race with an A goal of breaking 1:35.
  2. Break 20 minutes in the 5K: This goal is a little bit murkier for me, but I do think that I have capacity to improve at shorter distances now that I have a stronger base of speedwork under my belt. Tentatively, I am looking at the BAA 5k which takes place during Boston Marathon weekend in April. I have absolutely no idea what a 5k training plan even looks like, though, which is why my next goal is to…
  3. Hire a coach: One thing I hear time and time again is that the best way to make real leaps is to hire a coach. My tentative thought is to use a service like Runner’s Connect, although I’ve thought about hiring an individual coach to map out a plan for me. I don’t think I’m ready to commit just yet to a full-on coaching program (like this one or this one) but any advice is very, very welcome!!

Also, somewhat related–I just joined Classpass for the next few months to have additional indoor workout options. Let me know if you have any particular recommendations for places to check out!

Happy 2017 and HAPPY RUNNING! Linking up with Tuesdays on the run!

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It’s ok NOT to PR: setting race goals

header-maine-half-marathon-logo-v3I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing holiday weekend! I was thrilled to be in town after so much traveling–and doing my 14 miler on familiar turf didn’t hurt either (more to come in the weekly recap on Thursday). I finish up my first summer course on this week, which means I have one weekend of freedom without having to worry about school before my next class starts up. Of course, we’re going to be out of town–first heading to Portland, ME for a half marathon to celebrate my OG running bestie Bry’s 30th and then to Lake Winnipesaukee in NH for another good friend’s wedding.

Dis is Bry. She's really smart.
Dis is Bry. She’s really smart.

Bry and I were chatting a couple of weeks back about our goals for this race. She has been dealing with an injury and is planning to take things nice and easy. I mentioned something about taking things a little bit easy too and she said something like “Wait a minute, have you ever taken a race easy? Come to think of it, have you ever even taken a run easy??”

Whoa.

While it’s a little bit of an exaggeration, she’s pretty spot on (as usual). Running has shown me that I have a very hard time giving myself a break. Whether it’s racing, work, school, or yoga, my biggest challenge is knowing when to back off and be ok with not giving 110%. For example, my past three half marathon times have looked like this:

  • 1:55:45
  • 1:46:29
  • 1:40:27

Basically, I’ve been stuck in a rut where I feel like I have to PR every race that I run. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with this–it feels incredible to see what I can accomplish, and I hope all of this fast running will get me a qualifying time for Boston. But sometimes pushing myself to the limit can take just a little bit of joy out of the experience.

So this coming weekend, I’m looking at my race as a joyful, extra special marathon training run. My goal? To run at my marathon goal pace and feel like I still have gas in the tank at the end of race. Will this be a PR? Nope. My 8-ish minute miles will put me around a 1:45 half, which will be at least 5 minutes slower than my last race. And as it turns out, that is 100% ok.

Oh yeah–one more goal for this race: to have FUN! I can’t wait!

Linking up with PattyErika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the run!