Friday, September 20, 2013

Third-period goal: Shake up my race routine

I wrote a post earlier this year about setting quarterly running goals (except I split the year into thirds ... so maybe trimesterly goals is more accurate).

Rereading it is funny to me for two reasons:

One, my predictions as to which I'd attain were way off. I expected to reach my 2:05:00 half marathon and ended up falling way short; I doubted I'd break my 5K PR of 26:22 and cleared that by almost a minute. As for pacing, I think I've gotten better ... just not during races.

Two, I never formally made any goals for May through August. I'd totally forgotten about the chunk approach to goal-setting until I started this post. Unofficially, I wanted to at least not give up on running through the end of RAGBRAI, and I attained that bare minimum, so we'll count that as a win.

Anyways, we've reached the third period of the year, and some idle thoughts over the past few weeks have formed a loosey-goosey goal: add more variety to racing.

I almost never did 5Ks before moving to Des Moines; since moving here, I've done four, soon to be five — which I think is directly linked to positive peer pressure. (Thanks, friends!)

I've found that with a little creativity, they can be loads of fun. Examples: add beer at the end; add dogs to the event; add costumes; add celeb treatment and barbecue.

I also used to think there was no point in my doing a 5K, because it was a distance I knew I could cover (no need to train), and because I didn't think I was capable of speed or making myself go fast. That's changed.

Now that I've been in town for a full year, too, I'm getting a better handle on what races to watch for. Applicable to my third-period blog post: the Halloween Hot Chocolate Race and the Sycamore 8. Applicable to next year: the Grand Blue Mile, Loop the Lake and the Maffitt Trail Race.

With all these fun things available in the spring ... and with two consecutive years of poor performance at spring half marathons ... I think I'm going to reverse the stance I took a few years back against fall half marathons.

I took that stance for two reasons: nearby race availability and a dislike of summer running. But the past two springs have reminded me that Midwest weather is unpredictable, and I think the summer-fall wackiness could work better with my strengths than the winter-spring wackiness.

So that's my plan for the rest of the year: keep an eye out for and an open mind toward new distances or race gimmicks. Oh, and continue trying to pace myself better.

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