Plan/Goals for the Second Half of the Year

I started this whole running thing without any specific goals other than finishing my first half marathon.  Now that goal has come and gone (read about it here), and I find that I’m lacking motivation.

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Yes, I could go ahead and sign up for a bunch more races (and I will), but for the moment, I’m kind of enjoying not being in “training mode.”  I like that I don’t have to forgo social engagements because they interfere with my running schedule, or avoid having a few beers on Friday night so that I can complete my Saturday long run.  In short, I like having my life back to normal.

That being said, I don’t want to just stop running.  Far from it.  I want to keep running and improving.  And I definitely want to complete another half marathon before the snow starts flying, which in Vermont, could be some time as early as October.  I’ve been seeing a lot of mid-year 2014 goal check-in posts, and they have inspired me to set some more concrete goals for the second half of the year, which will hopefully help keep me motivated.

So without further ado, here’s what I’ll be working towards for the next 6 months:

  • Sign up for and complete another half marathon
  • Sign up for and complete a 10k race (probably virtual)
  • Incorporate speed work and/or hills at least once a week, with the goal of consistently running 5k under 3o minutes
  • Get back to yoga.  I know this is kind of wishy-washy and non-specific, but I’m not sure what the yoga class schedule will be like at my new gym, and I don’t want to set myself up for failure right off the bat
  • Strength train at least once a week.  My hips were incredibly sore for a couple of days after my half, and I want to make sure that my muscles are able to support me on longer runs
  • Focus on recovery after runs.  I’ve been skipping the stretch and roll routine after runs a little too often, and I know that’s not good for me.  I’m pretty sure my tight calves are contributing to the pain in my foot, so I want to protect myself from injury and really limber up my muscles

That’s all for now.  I don’t want to have too many plates up in the air at once, especially since I’m still working on my #Chewsday Challenge as well.  I plan to do a monthly check-in on these goals to help me stay accountable and on-track.  I may also add or alter goals as things occur to me.

My running/training plan for the next little while will look something like this:

Monday:  Cross-train (yoga/body pump/strength train)
Tuesday:  Alternate hill repeats and speed work
Wednesday:  Cross-train (yoga/body pump/strength train)
Thursday:  Short, fast (for me) run (3-5 miles)
Friday:  Rest
Saturday:  Long, slow distance (6-8 miles)
Sunday:  Rest

Basically, I want to maintain my fitness, but not spend every Saturday recovering from a long run.  Once I sign up for my fall half, I’ll increase my long run mileage each week to get ready.

Do you set specific running/fitness-related goals? How do you stay motivated?

Cross-training? What’s that?

It’s not a secret that cross-training (biking, yoga, strength training etc) can help your running performance.  At the outset of my half marathon training, I was really good about getting to the gym once or twice a week to “pump iron” or hit the elliptical.  But as the weather got nicer, those gym trips became more sporadic, and then stopped altogether.  I realized recently that the only “cross-training” I’ve been doing for the last two months is riding my bike to and from work.  While that’s great, and certainly better than nothing, I could probably benefit from doing some strength training too.

I have had a membership at the local Planet Fitness for a while, but it’s just far enough away that Ben and I find it a pain in the butt to get over there.  And as I’m sure you know, PF isn’t exactly the cutting edge as far as gyms go–weights, a circuit training area, and cardio–not terribly stimulating.  So basically, I’ve been paying $10 a month to NOT work out.

The good news is, through my job I can get a discounted corporate membership with a local fitness company that has FIVE different locations in the area.  For $40 a month, I have access to all 5 facilities, which include:

  • Lap Pools
  • Aqua Classes
  • Spinning
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Indoor track (!!!)
  • Les Mills
  • Zumba
  • Hot tub

And more!  So, I finally bit the bullet and signed up.  One of the locations is about a 5 minute walk from my office, and one is halfway between Ben’s parents’ place and my office.  I’m really excited about the opportunity to try Zumba and Body Pump, and have access to an indoor track for speed work and rainy day runs.  I’m also hoping the fact that I’m paying significantly more per month will force me to actually go a couple of times a week.  I guess we’ll see about that!

I’m really excited to see what kind of impact additional cross-training will have on my running.  Before we left Massachusetts, I was attending several strength and conditioning classes a week in addition to running, and I was really strong.  I’ve already talked a bit about how I’ve gained some weigh since moving back to Vermont (and no, it’s not muscle, trust me), so I’m hopeful that mixing up my routine will also help me get back to where I started weight-wise.

Do you have a gym membership?

What’s your favorite form of cross-training?

Race Prep?

On Saturday night, I will be running my first race since November 2012.  It’s only a 5k (it’s absolutely insane to me that I can say “only” when talking about 3.1 miles), so I’m not really doing any race prep, per se.  I’m staying hydrated (which I normally do), trying to get plenty of sleep (which I normally do), and eating normally.  I’ll run my scheduled 4 miles tonight at a normal pace and then that will be it until the race.

I had said previously that I didn’t have any goals going into this race, but I guess that’s no longer true.  I’d like to PR (last official 5k time was 31:31).  I’d also REALLY like to get under 30 minutes.  I’m trying to remember, however, that my ultimate goal is to complete a half marathon.  If I go in guns blazing for a 5k, I could potentially injure myself and throw off my training.  So really, the idea is to run at my normal short run pace and have fun.

dwightIn other news, I did an upper body session with my buddy Andrew last night.  He’s my friend, Aimee’s husband, he’s a PE teacher, and he’s a BEAST!  They have a bunch of workout equipment in their basement and they live about a 10 minute drive away, so it was more convenient than going to the gym.  The session lasted over an hour, which is unusual for me anyway, but it was also absolutely the most intense weight lifting session I’ve ever done–I got my butt kicked!  While I’m really sore at the moment, I loved it.  Andrew is very knowledgeable, and super positive, so he’s a great workout partner.  Of course, I can’t lift my arms above my head at the moment, but that will pass!  I’m excited to hopefully keep up these lifting sessions.  Andrew kept saying, “Just wait till leg day…” *gulp*

Do you incorporate strength training?  Do you lift alone, or with a partner?