Posts Tagged ‘Goal setting for runners’

Just two weeks remain in 2011.  Hard to believe just how fast the last year has flown by.

Every one of my friends who have children warned me that in the blink of an eye Landry would transform from a tiny little infant who I stayed home from work last December to care for as Dawn went back to work to a walking, talking little person.  The time was precious, I needed to pay close attention and make the most of it.

For the most part I have tried my best to do just that.  Spend special time with Dawn and Landry, drink in all of the milestones and try not to “miss anything” major.  Rolling over, standing up, first steps, first words, swim lessons, pretending to be an elephant, now watching her run for the first time through the house – I’ve been there for all of it and it has been everything I could have ever asked for.  Better in fact, as I truly had no idea just how special this first 15 months would be with Landry.

Dawn and I can hardly wait for what is next.

This morning I had an 18 miler on the schedule, wrapping up our first week of Boston Training with a 58 mile run week.  Needless to say we are off to a strong start, most of my previous training plans did not have me reaching a long run of 18 miles until week 10.  I did not reach 58 total miles until week number 13 on the way to the starting line in New York.

Exiting New York healthy after a huge performance there has really allowed us to springboard ahead and ratchet things up to another level for Boston.  Barring injury, illness or a physical set-back – we should be prepared like we have never been before for the Marathon in April.  Already I am envisioning the ride to Hopkinton on the bus early that morning, surrounded by exceptional marathoners knowing that with very few exceptions, nobody is better prepared to race to the limits of their capabilities than I am. 

We will be there to go all in and leave a permanent mark on the storied Boston Marathon Course.  A day very similar to New York where years later we will be able to look back on that day and know that we were the best we have ever been.

Sunday’s long run gave me a great deal of time to reflect on the past year, the running/training goals I had set prior to New Year’s Eve 2011 and it made me wonder just how I was doing in achieving my goals put to paper close to 12 months earlier.

My goals for the previous year:

Goals for 2011

1.     Run more than 2,011 miles in the coming year.

        (CHECK – I have run 2,035 miles in 2011)

2.     Be running healthy and injury free the entire year.

        (MISS – I had minor knee inflammation that cost me 4 weeks of running this year)

3.     Re-qualify for the Boston Marathon.

        (CHECK – 3:15:01 Austin in February, 3:08:09 New York in November)

4.     Set New PR’s for the Mile, 5K, 10K, Half-Marathon and Marathon.

        (5:07, 18:12, 37:30, 1:23:55, 3:08:09 – CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK)

5.     Run the ING NYC Marathon in November and PR.

        (CHECK – Marathon PR by 6:52)

6.     Complete a 5K with Landry (in her jogging stroller).

        (MISS – Hopefully we’ll rectify this on New Year’s Day)

7.     Incorporate track workouts in my training this year.

        (MISS – Hill repeats remained in lieu of track work)

8.     Take my first swim lessons.

        (CHECK – Started swim lessons in April)

9.     Complete a sprint triathlon.

        (CHECK – Debut triathlon in July 1:13:20)

10.  Continue to honor Dom and raise money for his children’s education.

        (CHECK – we raised additional funds throughout the year for Sierra and Nic0)

Looking back 2011 has been a pretty successful year when it comes to goal achievement.  Priorities always change over time – that is something that all of us need to deal with.  But I believe that the exercise of setting goals is a good one to go through each year, all the while knowing that you may have some “misses” on the list, such as adding track work was for me this year.

I realized that my speed was still improving without it, and I could continue my hill work without risking injury on the track.  It was a win-win to more or less cross that goal off of my list without having completed it.

The others were all goals that we worked hard to achieve, only falling short by spending a few weeks on the injured list last March and the stars not aligning for Landry and I to do our first race together.  That last goal is one that hopefully we can cross off of our to-do lists during the Resolution Run on New Year’s Day.

Goals for 2012?  My list has been forming in my head over the past few months.  A PR in Boston is sure to be on the list as will the completion of our first Half-Ironman this October.  As for the rest, I guess you’ll have to stop back on New Year’s Eve to find out.

There will be 10 of them, a couple will “scare me” just a bit – as after all.  If your goals don’t scare you a little, you aren’t dreaming big enough.

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Are you kidding me? 

It’s New Year’s eve already?

What in the world happened to 2010?

I felt like I was finally getting into my 2010 groove, and now a new year is about to start.  Time really does fly that is for sure.

I’m sure for those of you who have been following along here at Run for Dom over the past year you have probably been wondering where my “Goals for 2011” post has been.  When it comes to goal setting, especially the goals that have to do with running and racing, I have discovered that 12 months is a long, long time. 

A lot can change over a year and what seems like a worthy or reasonable goal in January just doesn’t “fit” with your plans by the end of the summer.  It may be due to a lack of vision or short-sightedness or it could be due to an event that provides a glimpse into the future of the road you are traveling and you realize that you don’t want to go there anymore.

April 19th was that day for me as I struggled from Hopkinton to Boston on a 26.2 mile journey that would redefine my running for 2010. 

The first of back to back marathons for Dom took place that day and the famed Boston Marathon handed me my ass quite frankly on a silver platter.

I realized I had some serious changes to make if I was going to be the runner that I wanted to be.  The one I thought that I could be.  The one that I saw when I would think back to May 2, 2009 running the final mile of the Pittsburgh Marathon with confidence and purpose.

I wanted to get that feeling back and I was willing to start working hard to do it.

So plans for me to start swimming lessons and working towards my first Triathlon were scrapped from 2010.  I was going to focus on my running.  I was going to do speed work and hill work and I was going to race.  A lot.

Those changes happened “mid-stream” in 2010, and by December I had new PR’s in every running distance I raced with the exception of the marathon.  1 Mile, 5K, 10K, 10-Miler, Half-Marathon —- all in the books with fastest ever times.  Just one distance remains and we’ll be taking care of business with respect to the Marathon on February 20th. 

As of Sunday just 7 weeks will remain until I get my chance to exact a little revenge on Lady Marathon.  It has been more than 8 months since that day in Boston, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about that race.  I can do better.

So as I look ahead to 2011, I know that the goals that I set today are going to be ones that with the benefit of 20:20 hindsight 12 months from now may seem like they were “incorrect” or dare we say “wrong”.

That is the thing about goal-setting, the more aggressive you are in your approach and the “bigger you  dream” the more likely you are to swing and miss on a few.  But the rewards for pushing hard and dreaming big are what make it all worth it.  You can’t “Go Big” if you don’t “Dream Big” – so dreaming big is what we’re all about here at Run for Dom – and our 2011 goals reflect that.

Goals for 2011

1.     Run more than 2,011 miles in the coming year.

2.     Be running healthy and injury free the entire year.

3.     Re-qualify for the Boston Marathon.

4.     Set New PR’s for the Mile, 5K, 10K, Half-Marathon and Marathon.

5.     Run the ING NYC Marathon in November and PR.

6.     Complete a 5K with Landry (in her jogging stroller).

7.     Incorporate track workouts in my training this year.

8.     Take my first swim lessons.

9.     Complete a sprint triathlon.

10.  Continue to honor Dom and raise money for his children’s education.

So there we are, my running, training and racing goals for 2011.  Race distance times are something that will continue to evolve I’m sure as the year progresses.  I have had to raise the bar throughout 2010 as my speed improved and my race times dropped.  But to start out the year our goals for the various distances above are:

1-Mile:     5:15

5K:            17:59

10K:         37:59

1/2 Marathon:     1:25:30

Full Marathon:     3:05:00

There is not a lay-up on the list above.  If I am able to look back on those goals at the end of the year having crossed each of them off of my list I will feel pretty darn good about this aspect of my life in 2011.

There are other lists of course that I have had to make with respect to Dawn, Landry, Family, Friends, Co-Workers and some goals for my writing.  Chasing down the goals on those lists are just as important and in many ways, interrelated with my running.

The thing about distance running that I have come to love is that it has helped me in so many other areas in my life. 

In a way it is in fact a metaphor for life.

Distance running is challenging.  There are times when it gets tough.  Times when it doesn’t seem fair.  There are times when you simply feel like giving up.  Asking yourself what it is all for.  What does it all really mean in the end.

It is at those times that picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and pushing forward is the only answer.  You don’t always need to know why. 

You do it, because there really is no other choice.

You do it, because that is what the task at hand requires.

Nothing is given to you.  You have to earn every single scrap.

But the rewards …. oh man, the rewards.

I’m fortunate, because when times get tough in or out of my running shoes I don’t have far to search for inspiration.  I can just think of the last time I saw Dom in May or the numerous conversations we had over the last year and I know exactly what this is all about.

It’s about living every day the best you can, trying your hardest no matter how tough things get.  Never giving in, despite what anybody tells you. 

Courage is in the trying not in the achieving.

I may not be able to achieve everything on my list of goals in 2011.  Hell, I may not be able to achieve any of them.  But when I look at that list I know one thing with absolute certainty.

I am going to try my best.

Happy New Year everyone!  I wish you and your family a happy, healthy and wonderful 2011.