Thursday, November 15, 2012

Revising My Running Goals

About two weeks ago, I ran the Battleship Half Marathon, and it was terrible. It was the slowest of my five half marathons by a full seven minutes, a fact which was hard enough to face, but what made things even worse was that  I basically gave up at mile five and resigned myself to walking/running the rest of course. 

I blamed it on a combination of things, all of which were valid, but I'm tired of excuses. While running the Battleship, I made a decision. I had previously planned to run the Wrightsville Beach Marathon in March - the full 26.2 miles. But now, I'm reassessing that goal. Yes, some people can do everything I do (and more!) and still run marathons, but I don't think I'm that person. I have limits. If I'm going to commit to a full marathon, I want to have the time, the energy, and the mental clarity to do the distance justice. I don't run marathons for fun - the distance is too long and grueling for me to look at is as a casual jaunt around town. So for now, at least until graduation, I'm putting marathons on hold. 

But half marathons? That's another story entirely. Despite my poor performance at the Battleship, I do like the distance. Training is challenging, but it doesn't take up every spare moment. Recovery is fairly quick as well. I can run a half and still do something else later that day - walk the dogs, read for class, have a drink at the bar. Right now, at this moment in my life, 13.1 seems like the perfect distance. And that's great!

My new plan is to still run Wrightsville Beach in March, but to sign up for the half instead of the full. I've got some goals for the race, of course, and they are as follows: run four times each week, keep up with strength training and yoga, and focus on speed work, speed work, speed work. If all goes well, I should be able to get a new PR - I'm aiming for 1:55. And if I stay committed, train smart, and stay strong (mentally as well as physically) I should be able to do that.

Do you have any big races coming up? Goals for 2013? How do you create a training plan? I usually start with the SmartCoach feature on Runners World (which is free!) and adapt as needed, which has served me well over the years.


  1. Oh no! Does this mean no Chicago Marathon in 2013?

    If so, I'm disappointed, but I understand. Honestly, having run four half-marathons and now looking at running a full in 2013, I find the dedication required for 26.2 to be really daunting. I don't know how I'm going to balance training with all my other obligations and hobbies. I'm scared but excited too, especially because I will probably take the train from Chicago to Michigan to visit my family after the marathon. AND there's a good chance that my friend JD may run Chicago--and then take the train back to Michigan with me!

    Anyway, I think hitting the wall as you did with this race is not necessarily a bad thing. We find our limits by trying to surpass them. I think 2013 will be a better running year for you because of the hard-won wisdom from 2012 :-)

    (Still, I will miss meeting you in Chicago. So sad!)

  2. Oh no! I totally forgot about the Chicago Marathon when I posted this (my mind has not be itself lately). I don't really see a way I could train for and afford a marathon this year. I'm super bummed too, but I know I'll run a marathon again, and I'd love to coordinate our efforts in a few years.

    I will, however, follow your training with great enthusiasm, support, and excitement! It sounds like you have a good plan already. The rest will fall into place, even I can't be there except in spirit. <3