My initial thoughts for 2016 – run streak and a shot at Goofy Challenge 2017?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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…
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!


  1. Bill says:

    Good to see you’re working out a plan. I’m not crazy about runstreaks as I have found I don’t get enough recovery time. Brain wants to run every day, body says no. And I hope you’re planning on trimming that list of races down, especially if you’re thinking about doing the 24-hour this time. Would be great to see you down here in a year though. Looking forward to the updates.

    • Ted says:

      Thanks Bill.

      The trick for the run streak for me is going to be remembering that they aren’t training miles – they are just about making myself move. So no hills, no speed training – I can do them slowly, as run/walk cycles, on the treadmill, outside with the dogs, etc. It really is just about trying to create the habit. Another option is cross training on off days but that is less likely to hold my attention for very long. We’ll see how it goes.

      For the list of races – that is just a list of what has caught my attention that I could slip into the mix. The thing is that while I like getting better and trying for new PRs, I really enjoy doing races just for the experience of the crowd of runners and the adrenaline of the start line. I don’t need to race the races full out to get that. I have no issue just going and participating if I am tired. So if the 24 hour event does occur – unless I am injured I would still most likely do the WFPS half 2 weeks later, if just because it is a well run race with lots of great participants.

      Again – we’ll see how it goes as the year progresses. Making decisions for October at this point is premature. I need to break the year down chunk by chunk and rebuild as I go.

      Thanks for following along and hopefully I can make the 2017 Goofy Challenge a reality!

  2. Trevor says:

    Hey Ted,

    Best of luck to you, and your goals for 2016!!!

    As for me I am once again at a new starting point. I have been working with a new physiotherapist on a gait analysis for a month now. I have felt that real improvement with my present running style was not really possible. With a natural cadence of over 200 with no kick or hip motion, I do not see real improvement (1:53 for a 1/2) that possible. At 43 years old I want to try to take the next step, so this winter is my high risk gamble.

    So my goals for this winter is as follows:

    1) RUNNING TECHNIQUE. Right now I am running 1/2 a mile per day, which is ridiculous and humbling. I am focusing on using my glutes with increasing my kick. Also to increase my hip motion without increasing my impact and vertical head motion greatly. It is like starting all over again. Right now I can run this distance and that is all. So my distance goals are going to be what my body allows. I am back at running on a treadmill for the first time in over a year and I will give it til May to see if this new technique is even possible. I am optimistic at this stage, but not sure. I have thought this over for a few months and this is what I want to try, even though it is not recommended to change too much all at once. I have done big changes once before in my running style over the winter 2 years ago and it worked really well for me. I changed from a strong heal striker to a mid foot striker. This time I want to focus on the hips being right with the result of a mid foot landing. I have to condition my body in accepting these changes.

    2) FLEXIBILITY. I am doing daily stretches, and have started hot yoga. 3-5 times a week. This is way beyond my comfort zone by the way, but so far so good. It’s been 3 weeks now and I actually have been enjoying the difference in this type of workout. The hurdles for me is scheduling, and it seems to be the exact same type of yoga each time. I think variety is what I need to find.

    3) WEIGHT LOSS. Like you this has been a big problem for me for many years. 4 years ago I went from 245 to 175, and now I am up to 185. I have a goal to be at 170 by May 1st. I know what I have to do and I just have to get back on track. I am quite disciplined, and actually going to hot yoga helps me in this. It is quite difficult at 40’C to have a shirt on, and it is very difficult to be in a room with a bunch of woman and many mirrors and not feeling good about your weight, so the trick for me is to keep going so I have a reminder of where I am at with this.

    4) CROSS TRAINING. This is not my biggest priority but I do not want to lose much of my cardio or strength since I am not running my usual amounts. I will not make this my focus but I have to manage not falling apart in these areas.

    May 1st will be the date that I decide on what is next. There is a lot of ways that this can go. Maybe I just revert back to my old running style because it is comfortable. Maybe I shoot for the rainbow and surprise myself. Who knows? For now I am not dreaming until May.

    I thought that I would share my thoughts about me with you because you have been a huge help to me with your blog since I stumbled across it after last years hypothermic half marathon. Even though our training in my opinion is night and day different, I have really enjoyed you sharing your achievements and struggles.

    Well lets see how we are in 2016!!! I wish you the best.

    Trevor from work.

    • Ted says:

      Hi Trevor! Hope you are having a good New Year so far.

      Congrats on the 1:53 half – was that WFPS? I hadn’t had a chance to talk to you since that race to see how it had gone.

      Sounds like some drastic changes in store – sometimes major changes are needed to slip the body out of its comfort zone to reach new heights. Let me know how it works out, it is maybe something I could benefit from as well so I will be very interested in how it goes. I have never had a gait analysis done and I am sure my running technique is atrocious.

      Hot yoga would definitely be outside my comfort zone as well! Full credit for putting yourself out there to try it! Stretching in general is outside my comfort zone frankly. I turn 45 in a few months and frankly I feel the cold mornings in my joints way more than I would like so I should be doing some kind of flexibility training as well but I’m not brave enough to try yoga – so I’m quite impressed!

      That damned weight hey? I’ve definitely slipped way too far in that department (like 20 pounds, it has been a bad year). I have been doing some reading lately and the way I understand it, those of us who have carried extra weight end up being at a disadvantage for maintaining that lower weight when we achieve it. There are mechanisms in the body that kind of lock in at whatever your max weight was and decide that is the weight you should be and when you lose weight (even in a healthy manner) it doesn’t “reset” – so if you are down 20-30 pounds or more your body actually constantly thinks it is starving. This basically means someone who has been overweight needs to be constantly trying to maintain that lower weight once they achieve their goals. This is apparently one of the reasons for the “yo-yo” effect. Basically, the battle isn’t over when you get to your goal – the battle will continue for years apparently before you body gets comfortable again. This is where I fell down this year – my running backed off and my weight spiked up – I have come back up 15-20 pounds this year and making the running a habit again is one of my main ways to try to fix that.

      On a side note – holy crap – that is a fantastic weight loss man! 245 down to 175? Truly impressive! Obviously at work I had noticed you had lost weight but I hadn’t realized it was that much. Fantastic!

      I’m glad you have enjoyed the blog Trevor – one of my intentions is to pick up the writing and the posts more over the year as well my activity on the site has been dwindling.

      All the best in 2016 Trevor and I will be looking forward to hearing how the gait training goes!

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