Do you like to set fitness goals? I do. Goals help me stay focused on those things that I know are good for me (exercise, healthy eating) but that are easy to let go when things get busy or stressful.
As a goal-oriented person, I do have to be careful to find the right kinds of goals, otherwise it can be like this:
I also prefer the language of intentions since the word is a little more gracious. Intentions point us in the right direction, but leave room for the fact that life happens.
This time last year, I was looking at my previous year's fitness goals/intentions and realizing I didn't meet a single one of them. Injury will do that.
At that time I also set some goals for 2016. Here is the post. Time to see how I did! Overall, it has been an intense but joyful year, running-wise.
To remain injury free, as much as that’s within my control. How I did: Nailed it. There were only two times when I had to take a few days off, and one was when I twisted my ankle a month ago--it was a clumsiness injury, not an overuse one. The other was the very beginning of plantar fasciitis, which I nipped in the bud, thankfully. That injury's a bugger. Repeat in 2017? Absolutely. This is my #1 goal for the foreseeable future. This article by Greg McMillan calls durability "the most underrated 'talent' for distance running success." I will never be that fast; I will never win my age group; but with care and some luck, I'll be able to run as long as I want to.
To run three times per week and cross train 2-3 times, including strength. How I did: I have friends who can run most every day, and I also know some runners will run every day even when their body is trying to tell them to dial it back. More power to them! Three times a week was the perfect rhythm for my particular situation. Having a recovery day allowed me to run long distances on the days I did run, including some 35-mile weeks at the peak of marathon training. Repeat in 2017? Yes, for sure. I didn't do as much strength training as I would have liked in 2016, so strength will be higher in the cross-training rotation, along with swimming, biking and elliptical.
To do a race a month, though not always running for time. How I did: Yes! I love races--the energy, the camaraderie, the costumes... and when racing for time, the chance to push myself. As Meb Keflezighi says, "Winning doesn't always mean getting first place; it means getting the best out of yourself." I ran these races with James, Robert, Margaret, and lots of friends along the way, and many of them solo as well. Repeat in 2017? Yes. I'm planning for two of them to be triathlons again, and one will be Ragnar relay. And I'll participate in at least one of them as a volunteer.
When I do race, to do so without my Garmin. How I did: I was about half and half on this. I definitely improved in my ability to run by feel rather than be a slave to the watch. Coach Jenny Hadfield talks about "running by color," and I took this approach with several of my races. Repeat in 2017? I don't know that I will set this as a goal per se, but I do intend to keep focused on my body rather than the time on a watch.
To run Marine Corps Marathon. How I did: I did it! It was hot that day, but I still managed to take 10 minutes off my previous marathon time. Repeat in 2017? Not this year. I'm planning another marathon in 2018. Every two years is nice--there's more to life than 26.2.
To keep my easy runs truly easy. How I did: As I wrote last year, "I’m a big fan of 80/20 running, in which 80% of your workouts should be at an easy conversational pace... Most recreational runners are at about a 50/50 ratio, and there are various physiological reasons why that’s not as healthy or effective." I ran with friends a lot this year, and while sometimes that pushed me to go faster than I should, mostly the conversation kept us at an easygoing pace. Repeat in 2017? Yes, and I'll be focusing more on increasing the intensity of the other 20%, which makes that easy 80% all the more important.
Here are some new hopes and intentions I have for 2017:
To complete four half marathons. Not all will be raced for time, but I do hope to PR for at least one of them.
- To improv my 10K time. 10Ks are my least favorite distance. I'd like to make friends with it, since it's a good sustainable distance if the longer distances start to create too much wear and tear on me.
- To intentionally support other runners. I'd like to do this by volunteering at races and perhaps supporting someone starting the Couch to 5K program. I also hope to write more about running as a spiritual practice. Lots of people I know (especially women) have learned to love and respect their bodies as a result of this sport, including me. I want to think more about that.
- To get trained as a coach. I want to go through the RRCA certification program, mainly for my own edification (I don't see myself coaching others, I'm mainly interested for myself). This will be subject to schedule.
- To be able to do 15-20 "big-girl" pushups. My upper body strength stinks. Enough said.
Do you have fitness-related goals? What are they?