The first 2/3 of 2017 started about how most of the last three years have gone. I was coming off some fairly consistent, but low-mileage trainiing at the end of 2016, but in January, I started having some plantar fascia issues and then injured it fairly severely when I got caught far from home on a cold, miserable day. (Note to self: It’s okay to back track 1/4 mile and wait in the warm convenience store for a ride home.)
So, I ended up taking 1-2 months completely off and then resuming training very gradually. It was more gradual than absolutely necessary because though I needed a day off between runs initially, I often to 2-3 days off betwen runs. Gradually though, it got to where my PF did not bother me after every run and I could start increasing the mileage and running on consecutive days. But, I still remained inconsistent until I started getting motivated and committed in September. At that time, I dusted off the spreadsheets that I used for logging in the past and added some features to allow tracking goals. I set two goals for each of the remaining months of the year. The primary goal was simply a “days run”. I set my goal to run 20 days in September. The secondary goal was a mileage goal. In the end, I did not hit even one of those goals, due to a weird knee injury that the chiropractor was able to fix, a couple of farm-focused weeks while I was on vacation from work, and a couple of weeks due to illness. Nevertheless, I consider the goal setting to have been a success since this has been the best block of training that I have had in years. I will handle the goals a bit differently in 2018 though.
One of the workouts that I started enjoying at the end of 2016 was a hybrid workout where I would run an interval workout (short or long intervals or a ladder going short to long to short), jog about a mile, and then run 1 mile hard. I would log the time for the mile so that I could see the progression over time. I had gotten that time down under 6 minutes consistently at the end of 2016 and had run a 5:43 in January.
Highights since September:
- 100 miles in November
- 5:49 mile yesterday (I skipped the intervals and ran it like a time trial. I wanted back under 6 before 2018.)
- long run of 12 miles
Now that I’m starting to feel fit again, I have started thinking about racing. Last year, before I was injured, I had seen a St. Patrick’s Day road mile advertised and I was immediately interested. Quite awhile ago I had thought that it would be cool to run a sub-5 mile after I turned 50. I will only be 49 in 2018, but it would be nice to see where I’m at and then have another year to train to try again at 50. The only problem is I do not yet know if the race will become and annual event or not. I have not seen it advertised. I’m giving them another week or two before I contact the organizers to ask about it. If that race is no longer offered, I will need to find another opportunity to race a mile. Unfortunately, my company no longer participates in an Olympic-style corporate challenge event which includes a 1-mile race on the track. I used to look forward to that every year. Until I know about the state of the mile race, I do not have specific race plans for spring. I will likely run a 5K that a friend coordinates in late March or April. It is small and I have run it (and won it) twice though I have never been happy with my performance. They changed the course last year to use a new section to the trail system that the race supports. The old course was somewhat slow. The surface on the new course is likely the same, but I wonder if the new route might be less hilly. On the old course, I never ran under 19, but I probably wouldn’t be happy unless I ran under 18. I’ve never been very good at soloing a fast time. Beyond that, I have no plans for spring. I might see if there is some way to get into the Corporate Challenge races (1 mile, 5K, and half marathon) as an individual. I think that they may have a team made up of individuals who chip in to pay the entry fees. I would likely skip the half unless my long runs are going especially well.
For the fall season, I would like to run my hometown road race at the end of August for the first time since high school. It is a hilly five mile race. I would like to be under-30 which would definitely have me in contention most years. There is also a Labor Day 5K that is a fast 5K that will likely be the week after the hometown race. That is likely the best opportunity for hitting a 5K goal because it is a fast course that usually includes several fast runners. There would likely be stiff competition in the over-40 crowd as well. I would like to run under 17 there. I may also consider a fall half marathon. For that my goal would be low 1:20s. If I don’t feel that I could run low 1:20’s, I would probably skip it. If I’m not doing a half marathon, I will likely find 1-3 other fall races to run.
Training wise, I would like to continue to progress. For 2018, I will continue setting training goals, but unlike in 2017, I will not increase the goal for the next month unless I met (or very nearly met) the goal for the previous month. Then maybe I will be able to meet my goals more regularly. For my hard workouts, I will gradually increase the duration of my interval sessions. Once I get up to around 20 minutes of hard effort in longer intervals, I may shift to doing tempos every other week. I also plan to keep doing a session of shorter/faster intervals with longer rests at least once every other week. I will likely continue finishing some of my workouts with 1 mile hard as it is fun to have something measurable to track. Currently my long run is at 10-12 miles. If I find that there will be a 1-mile road race on St. Patrick’s Day, I will probably maintain it at that level through February and then start increasing my long run again after that race. Otherwise, I will progress and mostly train through any spring races with just a slight cut back the week before a race.