Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year: 2008 Outlook

The New Year is here and with it comes my (running) resolution(s) and outlook for 2008.

With just over one full year (it seems so much longer) of running back under my belt , it is time to get serious about the 'little' things that in reality aren't so little. These are the things besides how many miles and how fast... the things that separate the serious and successful runners from the frequently injured ones. I had learned this lesson the hard way and had various periodic injuries over the course of the past 12 + months. I had to miss a few races that I really wanted to run. These injuries I had could have all been avoided, had I done the little things that I should have been doing all along. Realizing that I am not 20 (something) years old anymore, I now need to focus on injury prevention. These 'little' things all not only help prevent injury, but also aid in the progression that I am looking to continue.
These are the things I am going to focus on for this coming year:

Stretching - Focus on maintaining a daily stretching regimen both before and after my sessions. This 'may' involve yoga, but I will not hold myself to that just yet...Kristin will be happy with that.
Hydration - Improving upon and maintain a constant hydration regimen. I have done a fairly good job of this since my mid-summer breakdown this year...but there is definately room for improvement.
Therapy - Continuing, though more frequently, with regular sessions at the sports massage therapist. This will include incorporation of preventative visits rather than reactionary visits.
Ice Baths - Continuing, though with complete regularity, to take my icebaths bi-weekly or even more frequently.
Core Strength Improvement - Begin to perform various core-strengthening exercises that I have learned over the past year (but have not routinely practiced).
Supplements - Continuing (but with more regularity) to take my daily supplements and anti-inflamatories when needed.
Nutrition - Improving my diet by making a conscious effort to eat a breakfast and lunch each day and pay closer attention to what I should and shouldn't be eating (I'm not going to eliminate fun completely....just becoming more aware of the bad things that still linger in my diet...
Shoes - I am going to try to swap out my trainers once a month in 2008.
Leg Strength - I am going to try to get involved with some sort regular leg lifting routine which I have never done before. This may be a once a week thing and of low-intensity. This is not a definite, but would be effective if done correctly.
Upper Body Strength - Again, not a definite, but with some sort of regularity, a very low intensity routine may be effective. It has not been something I've done much at all and would be a big plus if I could work on this.

I have also set some relatively achievable goals with some 2nd generation PRs. These are goal times I am looking to run this year, should all go as planned. These times are decent, but conservative. I figured it wouldn't make much sense setting unrealistic goals for myself at this point. I understand my situation, my history, my age, my habits, and my desire. I think hitting any of the following times will be a very nice accomplishment for this coming year.

2008 Goal Times (Achievable) ** these would not be my overall PR's by any means, but would be a good accomplishment for my projected fitness level **

Mile (Track): 4:30 or under (67s)
3k (Track) - 9:00 or under (4:49 pace)
5k (Track) - 15:40 or under (5:02 pace)
5k (Roads) - 15:50 or under (5:05 pace)
8k - 25:40 or under (5:10 pace)
5M - 25:50 or under (5:10 pace)
10k - 32:50 or under (5:17 pace)
10Mile -54:00 or under (5:24 pace)
1/2 Marathon - 1:12 or under (5:29 pace)
Marathon - 2:39 or under (6:03 pace)

As you can see above, I have set goals for 3 distances I have never raced previously: 10 mile, 1/2 Marathon, and Marathon. I will be racing these three distances in 2008 for the first time and will be looking forward to running the Baystate Marathon in hopes of qualifying for the 2009 Boston Marathon. By that time, I will have 2 and 1/2 years back under my belt (should all go to plan).

I have had the priviledge of running with a great team this past year, training under the guidance of a great coach and motivator, catching up with old teammates, and turning my life around in a way I never thought possible.

2007... From NOTHING to something...
Here are a few of my 2nd generation PRs in my first year back after a 7 year absence from running...the progression, in a nutshell, is basically this... in September of 2006 I met Mike Callahan at the Burlington High School track and ran the 5k course with him at probably about 9 minute pace and barely made it though. At that point, I was in, without a doubt, 22-23 min + 5k shape (which was probably my natural ability level at my age, with zero training, and being a complete slob). I cramped up on the track afterwards and limped to the car. I was just under 180 lbs (after dropping a few lbs before even attempting to run again). I ran every other day for a couple weeks. Then I eased into every day running at a very low intensity. When I knew I could run just about every day, I made the jump back into training in an organized atmosphere, with a coach, teammates, and a renewed passion for the sport. Just over one year later (and just about 50 lbs lighter)...

October 2007: 5k - 15:53 - Mike Donahoe Memorial 5k (Georgetown, MA)
October 2007: 8k (XC) - 26:25 - BAA Mayors Cup (Franklin Park - Boston, MA)
November 2007: 10k (XC) - 33:22 - USATF-NE New England XC Championships (Franklin Park - Boston, MA)

Over the last month of 2007, I have averaged around 75 miles per week, which is a higher average than I ever did this time of year, including my time at UML... With a good outlook for 2008, a much higher confidence level than this time last year, and a great crew to work with, this year should provide some great experiences and most importantly, FUN. That is what it is all about. That is the difference between what I did 10 years ago, and what I'm doing now. I run because I want to...I run because I enjoy it...I run the races I want to run, when I want to run them. I have no one ripping my head off if I dont' run well. I have only myself to let down or only myself to impress. Taking some time may have been a good step for me after all. It has definately made me realize what I have and made me respect the sport that much more in the long run (no pun intended)...

Happy New Year everyone...

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