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.