Looking backward; looking forward

It’s that time of year that I’m looking back, assessing what went well and what didn’t.  I don’t do this as an idle exercise; rather, I hope I can use this reflection to help me plan for a more successful year ahead. 

As you may remember, I did a significant reflection post a few weeks ago.  That was only the beginning.  Now that I’ve had time to let those thoughts percolate a bit, I’m ready to do a bit of revision.  In good news, I’ve already accomplished one of my big goals: my website has been redesigned, and it’s a much better reflection of who I am and what I do.  Hooray for achieving a goal long before the deadline!  It’s both satisfying and motivating.

One of the major areas I left off of the previous reflection was what *I* was hoping to accomplish with my running in 2009.  I spend a lot of time and energy helping others become more fit and have more fun doing it, and I can sometimes overlook my own goals.  Sure I still get out and exercise and eat mostly well and attempt to be a good example, but I also have concrete goals for myself.  Documenting those here is my committment to work on achieving them.

My first goal is to continue to gain running speed.  Over the last few years, I have not run speed workouts with intention.  Recently, I have begun working them back into my routine, and I am pleased with the small gains of speed I am seeing as a result.  To continue this improvement, I am committed to completing one speed workout per week.  The intervals will be 400-1600 meters, and I will run 2-3 miles at pace per workout.

The second goal is to complete the Zooma Half Marathon in 1:45.  As of now, this is a stretch goal for me.  I have run several half marathons at this pace– and significantly faster– but not recently.  To achieve this goal, I will complete the speed workout as mentioned above as well as one increasingly-longer long run per week, plus two other runs (one hills, one time).  With four quality runs per week, the goal becomes achievable.

The third goal is to continue strength training.  By testing the workouts for my well-balanced circuit training class, I am getting in three strength training sessions per week.  If I find that these sessions plus the four quality runs are too much– meaning I’m feeling fatigued or getting injured–I need to revise the way in which I work strength training into my workouts.

The fourth goal for running strong in 2009 is to complete a fall marathon.  Ideally, I’d love to run the NYC Marathon, as it is well-timed for training in Texas (read: no serious long runs in the summer heat), and it would work into my overall training schedule.  But I realize I may not gain entry to the race, so I need to develop some backup options.  At this point, the Marine Corps Marathon or the San Antonio Marathon seem like good options.

As far as marathon race training, I plan to continue running half-marathon training lengths for the summer.  By then, I will know which race is my goal, and I can adjust my full training plan accordingly.

The fifth and final goal for 2009 is to complete the Sunmart 50K trail run.  I will be running alongside my father and my uncle.  They were there back 1989 when the race originated, and they are stalwarts.  My father has run every year but one, when he and my brother took a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.  My uncle has toed the line for the past 19 years, and he asked me to join him for #20.  How could I say no?

So long as the marathon training goes well, 50K at a significantly slower pace is achievable. I think that the weeks in between the fall marathon and the ultra will consist of several hours-long walks with a few jog breaks sprinkled in.  The goal is to finish with good health.

Looking back over these goals, I believe they build logically and with reasonable progression.  I’m excited for what 2009 holds.  While I may never again be as fast as I was in my 20’s, I can still run and enjoy the view.

Good health and great happiness to you.


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