Looking Ahead – Next Year’s Training and Racing

So, I’m a big fan of making plans, setting goals, and testing my limits. B-Hags (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) are a way of life for me! The other side of that coin, though, is that in order to meet my goals (or most of them), they have to be realistic (for example, I’m never going to be a surgeon, or a jet pilot, or…), and there can’t be too many of them.

And right now, I’m feeling overwhelmed. Trying to run 3 full marathons in 7 months, as well as doing a triathlon and a couple half marathons? It was too much. Especially considering these were my first ones! Now, I did get injured, which led to one marathon being “downgraded” to a half marathon instead (which is still a huge accomplishment, and a lot of work!). And I’m facing facts – there is no way I’m setting any speed records when I run the Goofy in January. Not for the full OR the half. In fact, if I want to finish both of them uninjured, I’m going to be walking a LOT. You know what? That’s OK.

But over the last two weeks, when I’ve been blowing off training, and trying to motivate myself, worrying about every ache and pain and creak in my bones, I came to a conclusion. I tried to do too much this year. I know for a fact that my injury was due to over-training, and I also know that my lack of motivation has to do with just being tired all the time. Add to that some significant changes at work (and a few at home too), and I’m being pulled in too many directions.

So, what does this all mean? Well, I have spent some time thinking about what I really want to do next year. And I’ve set a few goals for myself. I still really, really want to do a half Iron distance race, hopefully the Calgary Ironman 70.3. So if that is my primary goal race for the season, then trying to plan for a spring marathon is pointless. The amount of effort and training required to do a marathon will take away from the time I have to train for the 70.3, and my biking needs a LOT of work before I can tackle that distance.

The decision to not try for the Fargo marathon in May, or the Manitoba Marathon in June was a huge mental relief. I also wanted to try to break 2:00 hours in a half marathon next year, but I’m finding that if I’m training to go long, I’m not able to go nearly as fast, so if I were to do a spring marathon, I don’t know if I could hit the 2:00 half mark. I got close last year – I ran the Air Force Half in under 2:04. And since training for a half is part of the 70.3 training too, these goals actually go quite well together.

I have also realized that I really do need an off season. In the past, I have run a couple of spring races, and run casually through the summer, and taken the fall mostly off (I was going to school part time, so I had little time to run more than a couple of times a week to keep my weight down!) This year, because of the Goofy being in January, I had no down time. I went straight from the Manitoba Marathon to triathlons to the Queen City Half Marathon (reduced from the full due to injury!), and even then, I was already working on my Goofy training. And you know what? I’m tired. Seriously, physically tired.

So, next year I’m planning a true “rest” period. First, right after the Goofy, I’m taking 3 weeks “off”. Now, I’m still going to swim once or twice a week. Bike once or twice too. And I may even run…. a little. But the first week after the race I’ll still be in Florida with the family, and other than walking through theme parks, I’m doing nothing! When we get back, I’m not starting any kind of real training program until the beginning of February at the earliest.

After that, then I’ll start training for the Ironman 70.3 and spring half marathons. I’m looking ahead and thinking:

Sunday May 6, 2012 – WPS Half Marathon (always hit & miss due to the weather)
End of May – Air Force Run Half Marathon
Father’s Day – Manitoba Marathon Half Marathon
July 29, 2012 – Calgary Ironman 70.3

As well, I expect to participate in a couple of short distance local triathlons, work schedule permitting.

I’m not sure I’m going to run all three of the half marathons listed above, those are just the three I have run before. Spending most of my training time focussing on just these races should allow me time to get to where I want to be, but still recover!

Goals update:

3/3 yesterday, which was great. For today:

1) 1 afghan strip
2) Email 2 people I need to contact
3) 1 workout
4) Menu plan for December

Goals for Friday:

1) 10 mile run
2) Finish decorating for Christmas
3) Make 1 Christmas gift

Goals for Saturday:

1) Run 18-20 miles
2) Clean 1 room
3) 1 blog post
4) Generate ideas for 10 blog posts on PF site

I hope all my American friends have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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