We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin auld lang syne.

It that time of year when bloggers create lists.  Best of lists, worst of lists, lists of lists, to-do lists, accomplishment lists, resolution lists, and so on and so forth.  They usually reflect a significant bit of thought and reflection, which is, in general, a good thing.  But that’s not me.

All the same, I thought it might be good to kick myself out of my slump by doing the whole accomplishment/resolution thing.  But since I’m big on the whole “looking forward” thing, I’ll focus on that.

Reflecting-wise, I hit a marathon PR in January, then ran three more before July, getting slower each time.  I qualified for – and let myself get talked in to joining – the Marathon Maniacs with the last two of these, then swore off them for a while in an effort to hit my goal of a 19 minute 5k.  But I didn’t plan well enough to have a target race for this goal, so the fall was essentially a spattering of races run with last minute sign-ups, less running overall, a lack of anything resembling a “training plan,” and a twelve mile obstacle course with an ego problem.  But, to cap it all off, I also ran my first half marathon (with last minute sign-up) since 2008 and managed to PR by 30 seconds or so.

Which brings us to . . .

Goals

Not resolutions, but goals.  Not because there’s anything wrong with resolutions, but because my biggest problem is not having concrete goals to chase, so I get all fuzzy and flounder about.  Plus, resolutions are implicitly something you set at the year’s outset and need to accomplish by December 31, whereas goals can be set at any time and can each have their own timeline.  So I’m using this year’s close as an opportunity to set new goals.

  1. Mileage – I love the DailyMile community, but am not a fan of the distance-obsessed goals.  It’s a fun way to chase a goal, but for me there should be more to running that total distance.  I set a 1000 mile goal in 2009 and found myself stubbornly doing five-some-odd miles on my in-laws’ treadmill on New Year’s Eve, despite having a cold, just so I could hit it.  This year I wanted to up it to 1200, to average 100 per month, and I hit that a while back, finishing up with 1320 for the year, but it’s anything but evenly distributed across the year.
    Yeahhhh… so rather than upping the mileage goal again just because I think I can, I have a twofold mileage goal:

    1. Consistency.  A 203 mile month does not balance out the lethargy of a 73 mile month1, so I’d like to try to get 2011’s chart a bit smoother.
    2. 1,249.57747 miles.  Why 1249 and change?  Because it’s 2011 kilometers.  This is my compromise between not liking mileage goals and needing mileage goal.  @NimbleRunner started a 2011 kilometer challenge, and I know I can do 1200 miles, so 1250ish isn’t a huge increase.  It makes the math a little trickier, but 104.131456 miles per month seems reasonable.
  2. Race Weight – I don’t like thinking of running as a means of controlling my weight, but I’ve finally accepted the fact that my weight controls my running.  The most recent issue of Running Times pointed out that 10 pounds on a runner can equal a minute’s difference in your 5k time, given the same effort of training.  Not in an “everyone should lose 10 pounds” way, mind you – it’s a balance of finding your best race weight.  For me, I’m pretty sure it’s closer to the weight I was in January than the weight I was now.  I’m holding off on weighing myself until next Friday, but I’m committing to doing so weekly through 2011 to figure out what my best weight is.  I’m guessing it’s somewhere between 140 and 145, but that depends on the success at my next goal.  In the meantime, I’m going to execute this goal as reducing the random snacks and heavy drinking2.
  3. Cross Training – I despise cross training.  Mostly because I’m weak.  Gotta fix that.  I’m simply not built to be a hulking mass, but a bit of muscle tone and upper body strength wouldn’t hurt.  It would be nice to be able to climb a 12 foot wall without needing a boost.  Active.com had a freebie cross training program available a couple of weeks ago, so I grabbed that and scheduled it to start on January 3 to kick things off right. Goal-wise, I’m shooting for a minimum of three non-running workouts per week.
  4. Water – This one is pretty straightforward. I need to drink more water. Which, presumably, will help with the whole not snacking thing. For measurability, I’m going with 100 ounces per day as my target.
  5. Workouts, not just runs – I enjoy running just for the sake of running, but I also enjoy trying to improve upon my past performance. I’ve gotten to the point where simply running a bunch isn’t enough to improve any more. To break the plateau I need to do more specific workouts, and not just be happy to be out running. To give it a measurable stat, I’m going to say at least one, but ideally two runs per week will be specific workouts of some sort.
  6. 19:00 5k – Yeah, I’m that damn stubborn. I still need to break this time mark like a junkie needs his next hit. And I need to do it in an accurately measured 5k.
  7. 1:32 half marathon – Last year I kept trying in vein to hit a 3:10 marathon time in order to get that ethereal Boston Qualifying time before 2011 registration opened. (I’ll be 35 for 2012.) In hindsight, this was ridiculous. While it’s one thing to make a 20 minute improvement from your first marathon to your second, it’s a whole other ball game to take 20 minutes off your fifth. Now that I’ve crashed and burned that foolisness out of me, and can run a half at the pace I’d need for a 35 year old to BQ, Io want to reach the half marathon time that Greg McMillan claims can be reasonably projected for a 3:15 marathon. Then I’ll start considering marathons again3

That seems reasonable for now, eh? Some things to measure on a daily or weekly basis, some goals to chase. Yeah.

But now it’s 2011 on the east coast, intermission at this improv show is almost over, and I’ve got to get up early for the Rose Parade tomorrow. Perhaps I’ll see you on the road some time next year.

Happy New Year, kids!

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Granted, I was on a Nile cruise in September, but there’s no excuse for December’s 75!
  2.   My wife recently discovered she’s allergic to alcohol, so not going out to trivia night and other events where drinking for a few hours is the primary activity ought to help!
  3. Unless of course I get picked for New York in 2011.