So I have been thinking for a while about what my goals and plans for 2016 should be. While I did have some great events, overall my running did not go very well in 2015. My mileage and speed are way down and the weight I previously lost is coming too far back – not good things.
I had indicated at the start of last year that I wanted to back off a bit because I felt I was putting too much time into the running and maybe falling down in other areas – family, hobbies, etc.
But the way I backed off wasn’t the way I would have wanted it to happen. There were some legitimate illness and injuries that had an impact but a big part of the issue was a loss of motivation and energy. Running used to be a habit but that fell off – meaning that I used to run out of habit even if I was tired or not motivated and I have lost that.
So that is the first thing I need to fix this year and to do that I am going to run streak.
Now I have tried run streaking before and it did not go well. But I did it differently during that attempt than what I plan to do it this time. When I did it before, I did it including double run days – I would do my normal 5 days a week training plan but would also add in a couple mile morning run every day before work – giving me up to 10 runs in a week. I did not adapt to the change in the sleep cycle well and I maybe lasted 9 or 10 days before I fell apart on a 2 mile run.
So I won’t do it that way this time. Instead I will ramp up to doing the 5 days a week run schedule and will do a single mile on the rest days. I am hoping this will get me to the point where, even if I am tired or unmotivated, I will run no matter what.
How long a streak though? It is a leap year and I love the idea of run streaking the whole 366 days. Granted I also ran Dec 31st so it would be 367 days. That is a bit of a daunting task considering how little I have been running, so I will start with setting the first goal as run streaking January. Once that is achieved I will break it down to run streak each month until the year is done.
That should make take care of getting back in the habit of running all the time, but how do I get myself back into running long distances? I did pull off 50+ miles in the 12 Hour Lemming Loop back in early October but that was more about experience and shear pig-headedness than about any sort of conditioning really. As I think about it, about the only thing that has made me truly commit to training has been the Goofy Challenge and the Dopey Challenge. So I am going to lay it out there that I am going to train to do the Goofy Challenge in January 2017. I don’t know yet if I can make that work financially but I am going to mentally commit to it – I have done 5 and want to do a 6th. That means everything I do through 2016 is going to be as part of a training plan for January 2017. Usually a marathon training plan comes in around 18 weeks but I am giving myself 50+ weeks so I will need to have several milestone races / runs along the way that will break the period down into more manageable chunks.
I don’t have that fully worked out yet but I have a few races running through my mind:
- Hypothermic Half marathon on Feb 21st – this one probably won’t work as we are vacation until the 20th and I don’t know if I would be able to hit package pickup or not. I will be investigating further.
- WPS Half marathon on May 1st – this race is where I hold my half PR (1:46:00 – 2014) but was about 10 minutes slower in 2015 due to illness. I will be looking for redemption on this race – maybe not a PR but back to sub 1:50 would be the goal) This means lots of speed work through March and April.
- Spruce Woods Ultra marathon event – the weekend after the WPS Half marathon – they trail marathon, 50k, 50 mile, 100k and 100 mile options all with decently generous time limits – so maybe, just maybe I might do something that will scare the hell out me here…
- Fargo Marathon – May 21st – just a bit of a drive away from Winnipeg but it is a flat course and the weather seems to average better than the Manitoba Marathon a month later which is a positive for someone coming off of several months of winter running. This one gives me a better shot at getting back to the low 4 hour range, possibly even PR or finally breaking below 4 hours.
- Manitoba Marathon – June 19 – If I have been training well and consistently at this point then hammering out a new full marathon PR would be the goal (currently 4:09:44 in 2014) – my marathon PR is for this race but my history with the weather on this one is not great (I have a tendency to get spanked by the heat or drenched).
- Treherne Marathon – Sept 11 – I haven’t done this one before and it is only a bit of a drive from home. It is done mostly on back country unpaved roads and I have, up to this point, ruled out doing this race because I keep getting an image of it raining and making the roads a mess. But this one may help me stay motivated through the summer.
- Fort Garry Rotary Half Marathon – not sure the date yet but is usually a couple weeks after Treherne Marathon. This can be a good race to show off summer conditioning as we head into the fall.
- Lemming Loop – Sept 30 / Oct 1 – I have done the 12 hour event 2 years in a row and I am thinking of doing the unthinkable and moving up to the 24 hour event.
- WFPS Half Marathon – October 16 – only a couple weeks after the 12 or 24 hour Lemming Loop and I could be exhausted for this race. But I have done this one several years in a row and it is a tradition at this point.
- Wine and Dine Half Marathon – my wife and I thought about doing this one for our 10th anniversary last year but it didn’t work out. So maybe this year as a couple’s trip?
So I don’t know what I will do for sure but those are the races I am currently pondering.
One other major motivation idea I am looking at is tracking my yearly mileage as the miles I would need to get to Disney World from my house. Google Maps lists this as 1928.75 miles – I did 1971 in 2014 so it is possible. I will call this personal mission the “Run to the Goofy Challenge”. The bonus with this challenge is that if I start seeing myself getting close to that number later in the year it might drive me to go further – maybe beat the 1971 to have my highest mileage year ever or maybe even beat 2000 or 2016 miles?
To ensure I hit any of these milestones I will definitely need to tackle the sleep and weight issues I have been having but I have done it before and can do it again.
Basically I will need to break things down into more manageable chunks with sub goals to achieve and celebrate along the way. I’m not exactly sure what that looks like yet but I know I will have the ramp the mileage up slowly as I try to rebuild – so January won’t be 200 miles but maybe closer to the 130-150 range, but by the end of the year I should be hitting 200 mile months at least a few times.
A slow, strong, steady progression is key here.
Lots of work to do – but I will make sure to blog about it more frequently to help keep me honest and motivated.
Cheers to strong 2016!