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Posts Tagged ‘running goals’

Inspired in part by my friend Claire W.

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Goals.

Ideally, you set them high, you work hard, you knock them down. As we entered the Taper Phase of Boston Marathon Training a couple weeks ago, a number of bloggers and dailymilers posted their goals for Monday’s race. The goals ranged from finishing in under 2:40:00 to just plain finishing. ALL good goals, and based on what I read, appropriate for the runners in question.

So what are my goals for the 2011 Boston Marathon? Like most marathoners, I have a tiered set of goals:

  • A+ – a 3:10. This would require perfect conditions, both in terms of the weather, how my body felt, how the pack moved. If everything falls into place, this is what I will shoot for. The likelihood of achieving this goal is probably less than 10%, largely because seldom do the stars align just perfectly.
  • A – a sub-3:15. I really do feel like this is within reach, based on how my training has gone and how I have felt during my long runs. If I can hit sub-3:15 I will be over the moon!
  • B – A PR – that would be anything better than the 3:19:19 I posted at Smuttynose. I feel like I’m in better shape than I was in October. Still, I have to keep in mind that Boston is a much harder course than Smutty.
  • C – Beat my New York Marathon Time – I should be able to beat the 3:26 I posted in New York, unless, like New York, I get nauseous and cramp up during the race.
  • D – Finish – ’nuff said.
  • E – I don’t crap my shorts – this may seem like a silly goal, but you just never know what the body will do to you over the course of 26.2 miles. Don’t believe it can happen? Google “runner craps his pants” and take a look at the first image that pops up. I am warning you in advance that the image is NOT for the faint at heart or those easily offended – you’ve been warned.

So, those are my goals. I have to admit, looking at this list, it is somewhat similar to my buddy Claire’s list (sorry Claire!).

What are your goals for your next race?

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Why do you run?

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30 days until the end of the year.

Maybe it’s a little early to reflect on 2010, I don’t know.

I know I have accomplished a few of my running goals for 2010, and I am closing in on another – a sub-20 5K, a sub-40 10K, a BQ, check, check, and check!  And I’m just 85 miles away from 1,500 for the year.

But there is one goal that I’m afraid I may have to make a run at again in 2011.  Truth be told, it is an annual goal that I hope to accomplish EVERY year.

Back on New Year’s Day of this year, wrote this:

For my running friends:  My goal is to get you to get 10 of your non-running friends to start running regularly in 2010.  If 40 of you get 10 of your friends to start running and they do the same next year, and so on, we can have this whole nation running by 2016.  Healthcare reform?  We won’t need it!  It starts now.

Some of you responded saying you would take up the challenge.  I hope you were successful.  I can think of 3 or 4 that I’ve succeeded with, but I’m afraid that I will fall short of my goal of 10.  Still, I’m pretty sure that I’ve had a positive impact on at least 10 runners and non-runners alike.  Hopefully there are some out there that were inspired by my running and blog to simply get more active in 2010, because honestly, as much as I talk about running, it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s running or swimming or biking or rock climbing.  My hope is that those people who were inspired to do more, turn around and pay it forward.

Whether you are a sub-3:00 hour marathoner or a 6:00-plus marathoner, you inspire someone. Whether you run 10 miles per week or 100 miles per week, you inspire someone.  Whether you have been running forever or you have just started, you inspire someone.  Whether you run at all or find your regular physical activity elsewhere, you inspire someone.  All we need to do is reach out and lend a spark to that inspiration.

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One year ago yesterday I ran the Manchester City Marathon – my first.  I was convinced that I was going to qualify for Boston in that race.  Looking back, I realize that I really had no idea what I truly was getting into.  My strategy was rudimentary at best.   It didn’t really matter.  I abandoned it within the first few miles.  I flew through the first half in just over 1:35.  I pumped my fist at my family as I flew by them. There are no pictures of that moment because I was 5 – 10 minutes ahead of schedule. I was flying.

Then I had to run the second half. The second half took me just over 2:20, including 20 minutes to get from mile 20 to mile 21.

I came nowhere near qualifying for Boston. As proud as I was for finishing my first marathon, I was devastated.

It was on that day that I finally realized that running a marathon, forget qualifying for Boston, was hard.

***

In 6 days I will be running the ING New York City Marathon. It will be my 5th marathon in 53 weeks. To say that my experience in New York will be different from that in Manchester is a bit of an understatement. Yes, the cities and crowds are different, but I am speaking more directly to the experience of running the 26.2 miles themselves.

In 53 short weeks I have made a tremendous amount of progress. I have gone from a 3:54 marathon where my quads froze up, to a Boston Qualifying time of 3:19, to possibly gunning for a 3:15 this coming Sunday.

A 35 minute improvement.

Progress.

The best part is that I know that my running is a work in progress.  There is still much to be done, many miles to be run, a number of milestones to be reached.

But I don’t say all of this to toot my own horn.  No.  I say this to tell you that anybody, ANYBODY, can get there.  If you train hard, eat right and run smart, progress is inevitable.  The speed and measure of progress is different for each individual.

If you have a running goal, any goal for that matter…believe! Believe!!!

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Along the right side of this blog’s homepage is a list of my long-term running goals. They used to read as follows:

5K – 20:00 (PR – N/A)

10K – 43:00 (PR – 46:58)

1/2 Marathon – 1:35 (PR -1:40:47)

Full Marathon – 3:20 (PR – 3:54:04)

Within days of starting this blog I quickly knocked down the 1/2 marathon goal with a run of 1:33:14. It was somewhat of a breakthrough race for me. I had managed to take over 7 minutes of my previous best and it was the first time I had made it to the first page of a race’s results. Even with that race however, I figured that 43 was still a pretty good goal for a 10K. Last week I shattered that expectation with a run of 39:29 and in the process beat my long-term goal for the 5k with splits of 19:55 and 19:34.

So I need to redefine my long-term goals for the 5K and 10K. Fine. 19:00 and 38:00. Done. I think 19:00 is achievable, not sure about the 38:00, but what the heck, they’re long term goals, right?

But what about the half and full marathons? That’s a little trickier. When I ran the 1:33 half, I changed my long term goal to 1:30. It’s a leap, but not one that is too dramatic. It would still require me to take over 15 seconds off of my per mile pace. The full? Well, I crashed and burned in my first and only marathon, freezing up at mile 20 but still managing to finish. 3:20 still feels like a fantasy. When I got home from the Super Sunday 10k, I used to my time to find out what my vdot (performance based VO2 Max) was and how that translated into a 1/2 and a full.

1:27 and 3:02.

Really?

Are you frakkin’ nuts?

Yet there it was. Staring at me. Daring me. Taunting me.

1:27 and 3:02.

So, what do I do?

What. To. Do?

My goal all along has been to qualify for Boston. That remains in place and quite honestly, until I do that, I don’t think an even faster marathon has any place on my long term goals. If I finally qualify this year, then maybe I shoot for 3:00 marathon someday.

I will, however, put the 1:27 in for the half. It is somewhat out of reach I think, but I’m going to put it out there. Who knows? Maybe I’ve run as fast as I ever will, but I think it’s worth a shot.

By setting our goals slightly out of reach, we are forced to stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zone, beyond what we know we can do.  It is in that uncomfortable area that we discover more about ourselves and quite possibly arrive at a moment of redefinition.

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*I’d be curious how you go about setting your running goals.

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