We’re already more than a week into 2016. I’ve been thinking about my goals, but also a bit about how I’ll achieve them. It will be hard for me to have a better year than 2015, but it’s definitely possible to match it, particularly if I can remain injury free. If I can remain injury free, I fully expect to beat all my PR’s 10k and up. (My high school 5k (16:32) and mile (4:34) PRs aren’t going anywhere soon.)
My primary goal is to run faster than 3:00:00 in a marathon. My goal last year was to qualify for Boston. I did, but I didn’t qualify by enough and I ultimately didn’t make it into the race. I’d really like to make it in next year, or even just get to the point where I have the option. I’m pretty sure if I actually make it I’ll sign up and go as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
With a sub-3:00 marathon being my primary goal, how do I get there? I was originally thinking about running more miles and getting up to ~55 miles per week. However, as I’ve thought about this more, I don’t think it’s something I necessarily want to commit to. I’m fairly injury prone and injuries are the most likely obstacle to me reaching my primary goals. Right now my plan is to stick with the 3+2 regimen set forth in Run Less, Run Faster. Three days of running and two days of cross training. On the sixth day I’ll either rest, cross train, or do a recovery run. (I don’t exercise on the Sabbath, so I only have six days of training per week.) I got a road bike for Christmas, so I expect to mix in more cycling into my cross training.
Besides regular training and cross training, I really need to do more stretching and strengthening drills and exercises. I plan on doing these about twice a week for at least 15 minutes. I think I mostly just need to develop the habit. I can do some stretching at my stand-up desk at work or while I’m at home watching a movie or reading. Thus, it doesn’t take too much time and I don’t have a good excuse not to do it — I just need to develop the habit.
Another goal I hope to achieve this year is to break into the top 10 at the Race to Robie Creek. I think I can do it if I continue regular training. Last year, the 8th, 9th, and 10th runners all came in at 1:28:xx. The year before was fairly similar. However, I know that last year the top runner has some issues and dropped out in the last 5 miles. I also know another runner that beat me at Zeitgeist that will likely move into the top 10. And I’m pretty sure the guy that won Zeitgeist didn’t run Robie last year, and he could possibly win Robie if he shows up. I’m thinking I’ll need to hit <1:27 to make sure I’m there. That’s definitely possible, although it will take some work and a good training stretch. We’ll see!
One other option, depending on injury, is to do a Half Ironman. I now have a road bike. I’ve often done 20-30 minutes twice a week on the stationary bike for cross training. I’m fairly confident with 2 or 3 months of good training I could do a solid Half Ironman. My biggest obstacle is the swim. I’d have to get a gym membership and work on my form quite a bit, but I think I could survive it with some practice. The Half Ironman is a back up option, as I’m much more concerned with qualifying for Boston for the time being.
Basically, I feel like I still have 2-4 years of steady improvement before I peak. I’ve been improving for 3 years now, so assuming the general rule of 7 years to peak, I should have a couple solid years left. If I increase my mileage and avoid injury I can probably get a lot from these next two years. Even if I just repeat my training regimen from 2015 I think I can improve. I hope I can make the most of 2016!