Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What's Next?

I've spent the last 12 weeks running 5x a week, covering weekly distances of 20-28 miles. I was burning lots of cals, but I think I came fairly close to my running burn-out point. I never thought I'd say this, but I've really come to enjoy running. I like how it gives me a chance to "take it out on the pavement" and clear my head. And I especially love the feeling of accomplishment that follows a tough run. I want to keep it up, but I don't want to burn myself out mentally or physically. 

So now that half marathon training is over, what's next?

For starters, I'm taking a little break from the long (10+ mile) distance running. I still plan to run 3-4 times a week, but I'd like to focus on a max distance of a 10K. I'll mostly be running 3-6 miles, possibly with some longer distances (7-9 miles), periodically. 

I actually went out for my first post-half run this morning because I've been antsy pantsy and my muscles were feeling much better than Monday (God bless icy-hot). I really dogged it, but at one point when I stopped to walk I was feeling some serious and semi-alarming foot pain. I've got a 10K at the end of the month and do NOT want to injure myself, so I'm not going to attempt running again until at least Saturday.

What are my goals?

My goal for the next 4 months is to work on my pacing and speed. I'm an atrocious pacer, and my fastest and slowest miles regularly fluctuate 45+ seconds during runs. I'd like to become more conscious of my internal metronome in order to pace myself more consistently. This will help me become an overall more efficient runner, because I hopefully won't be speeding up and slowing down to keep pace. Running with my dad really taught me the value of good pacing-- he's a machine! 

As for the other goal, I'd like to work on my speed. Saying that terrifies me a little bit, because I feel like I just got comfortable running the way I naturally run. But I'm shifting my goals from distance-based, to speed-based. When I first started running a year ago, I was running a 12-13 minute pace for a 5K. Now I can run a 9:30ish pace for a 5K, and that was natural progression with absolutely no speed-work. So, I know that with some work, I should be able to bring down my average pace for 3-6 miles to 9:00/mile or less. 

Will I run another half?

Absolutely! My training went relatively smoothly, and it was certainly a challenge, but a do-able challenge. I think I'll run at least two half marathons in 2014 (and I'd love one of them to be a Rock 'N Roll half!)

Ultimately—and I put no timestamp on this, because it'll probably take years—I'd love to run a sub-2:00 half marathon. I know it's lofty now, but my dad has done it (in his mid/late 40's!). I think it's a long-term goal that will certainly require a lot of effort and work, but one I think I can get to eventually.

What about outside of running?

My goal is overall fitness, with an emphasis on running. In addition to the above running plan, I need to join a gym or fitness group of some type. I know I'll be at my strongest if I'm cross-training at least 2-3 times a week, but I've historically had issues committing to cross-training plans/programs.

I'm going to try a week of free group classes at a reasonably priced gym nearby. If I hate them, I may either: 
a) bite the damn bullet and join a gym to do my own thing
b) try a Groupon for a package of discount classes until I find something I like

So, some of these goals are vague, and some are pretty specific. In some ways I feel like I have no clue what I'm doing, but I know where I want to be. One thing I know for certain is that I'm going to be doing a lot of reading up on consistent pacing and speed-work from blogs, Runner's World, and other resources. I'll also obviously be consulting my favorite running resource, dear old dad.

Do you have any advice on pacing or speed work?

What are your short term fitness goals? Do you have a long-term plan?


  1. Those are great goals and it is awesome that you found something you really enjoy doing! Taking your time to find a cross-fit program that fits you is smart!

  2. I have to admit I'm kind of jealous about all your "running" talk. It makes me want to get back out there and work on my running! I wish I was better at setting goals, mostly I just go with the flow! :P

  3. Now Im scared, I have not trained nearly as hard as you did, Im going to die, I know it :( Take care of your foot!!

  4. Awesome goals! I have to admit the sub 2 hour marathon makes me nervous for you!! If it scares you a bit I think it's a true goal ;-)