For the first time that I can remember, I successfully kept a New Year's resolution for all of 2012: I embarked on, and nailed, the Great American Apparel Clothing Diet. (Clearly I am not among the original crowd, as you'll see if you click the link.)
There are several reasons, almost none of which pertain to running, that I believe were reasons for my victory. But there's one tweak I made to my personal clothing diet that I'm going to apply to this year's running goals.
When I set out not to buy new clothing — unless it replaced worn-out or ruined items — for a year, I realized that if I caved in, say, June, I would be tempted to see it as a failure ... even though that would've been five-plus months of not purchasing unnecessary clothing.
So I took it three months at a time instead. It gave me an extra thrill each time I surpassed a quarterly mark; it made the year seem less overwhelming; and it allowed me to adjust when needed. On my trip to London, for example, I decided that if I found something memorable, I would buy it, guilt-free. (I didn't encounter any clothes worth the awful exchange rate or the resolution-breaking, if you were curious.)
I've decided to take that same approach in setting my 2013 running goals, though because I signed up for a race in April, my year will be a hockey game and have three periods. In the first period, I want to:
Run a 2:05:00 half marathon. My PR is 2:08:32, which was a 9:48-mile average; a 2:05:00 would be 9:30 per mile, which I think I can do. The key will be, of course, not bolting out of the shoot, as I've done every single time, only to wilt later.
Runner's World suggests coming up with a set of goals for each event — one based on time, one based on feeling and one based on something else I can't remember and don't feel like researching, lest I make a long post longer. I will say, though, that a new PR, even if it's by seconds (OK, I want it to be more than seconds) will be an acceptable alternative.
Run a 26:00 5K. Betting folks out there should put money on the previous goal, not this one. Last summer's 26:22 might stand for a while, given how luxuriously flat the route was, but who knows? The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick might hold true to their name and find us a pancake-like route, and if March is normal this year, the weather will be more to my liking than that of the Remembrance Run.
I'll need to speed up from 8:29 miles to 8:22 to get there. Yikes. But then again, Miss 9:00-Miler never saw sub-8:30 coming.
Focus on pacing. Like clockwork, I'll mention my poor pacing skills and vow to improve them in blog posts. It hasn't happened yet — the improvement, that is — but for me to achieve either of this period's goals, it needs to start happening.