Saturday, January 7, 2017

Onwards & Upwards

Call me pessimistic but I have this feeling like 2017 is maybe going to be one of the most horrific years in quite sometime. I hope I'm wrong, but right now I don't have a whole lot of faith. Which means that in addition to helping fight the raging dumpster fire that is threatening to destroy all that is good in this country in whatever small way I can, I'll probably also need to do a lot of running and racing in order to keep from shooting myself in the face my sanity & spirits up.

First, let us talk DREAMS and WISHES. (See how I'm not calling it 'goals'?)

What I'm most excited to chase in 2017 are PRs in the half marathon & 10K. My private deal with myself was that if I BQ'd at CIM 2016 with enough a cushion to maybe actually get into the race, I would put marathons aside until it was time to train for Boston, and if I didn't, I wouldn't run another until at least CIM 2017. Well I DID BQ, and unless something crazy happens, an 8:00+ margin should get me in as long as I don't screw up the process (not impossible). So no marathons for me in 2017.

My current 10K and half PRs, on the other hand, are nearly old enough for school. Having just PR'd the marathon by a hefty margin gives me hope that perhaps my days of running personal bests aren't all behind me just yet, and besides, I really miss racing the shorter stuff (which I'm better at anyway).

Lately I've been falling down the rabbit hole of the Hansons' training blog, which is fascinating. Last week I ran across a post called "Just Ran My Marathon, Now What? Beginning the Process of Long-Term Planning". There are a few different categories (finished first marathon; BQ'd but have an awkward gap between now & then; had a breakthrough race; DNF'd/DNS'd), & the part I particularly latched onto was this:

    "The marathon makes you very strong. Your aerobic abilities will be through the roof and you’ll be strong. That’s not going away, even after your recovery time. It makes for a perfect time to bounce back with either
    • A dedicated 8-10 week speed session that will help improve your overall speed.
    • Or a dedicated 10-12 week half marathon training segment.

    Either way, you’ll improve your fitness from another angle. This will ultimately take your overall fitness to a new level and this will only help you in whatever direction you go next."

Thank you, Hansons, for telling me exactly what I wanted to hear.

Next, the processes/systems. HOW are those things going to happen?

Good news! In a way, I think it's pretty simple. As Phoebe Wright says, "Let’s talk about the main things that are the main things: 1. The work you put in over the last few months. 2. Your mindset. THAT’S IT." Putting in the work worked out pretty well for me this past fall, which I think is part of what allowed me to get into the right mindset, so I think I'm just going to stick with that.

ONE LEVEL DOWN: What is the work?

  • Get back into (and follow) a solid, periodized strength plan. I did okay with that this past year, but I want to do a better job of actively periodizing things so that I'm not like O NOES I GOT TOO BUSY, AH WELL IT'S RACE WEEK NEXT WEEK ANYWAY. I really like some of the New Rules of Lifting for Women workouts (even though I will probably never do them exactly as written or in the exact order as written) because they incorporate so much serious core/hips/glutes work (squats, deadlifts, lunges, push-ups, ab work, one-legged stuff) and they are HARD. I really do wonder how much of staying healthy this past year was due to all that.
  • Follow the training plan. This is the easy part. No question, it is worth every penny I pay RunCoach to enter my race dates, open my browser window each day, & git 'er done. Zero thinking involved.
  • Up the mileage juuuuust a bit. There's just no getting around it; if you want to get faster, the easiest thing you can possibly do is spend more time running (within reason, OBVIOUSLY). This last fall I got super comfortable with 50+ weeks, so I'm a bit curious to see what could happen if I try pushing that envelope ever so slightly. For the first half of the year I'd be perfectly happy staying at more or less the same mileage I ran for CIM, and then in the second half of the year I'd like to shoot for bringing the average up by maybe 5-10 miles per week & maybe peaking in the 65-75 range. This is pretty ambitious for me, so it will only work if I'm consistent about the strength stuff AND ALSO doing all my prehab regularly AND ALSO getting enough sleep. (ie, it's not just about finding another 20-30 minutes in the day; it's about finding, like, another hour+ in the day.) Eventually, I need a solid plan for this stuff & don't actually have one yet. Baby steps.

    Speaking of wich...

  • Effing sleep. Now THIS is the hard part. As running goes, literally nothing harder.


Just kidding, you should probably just buy some Nuun or get some
compression socks or something.

Let us now get down to the fun stuff! What am I actually doing in 2017????

I'm glad you asked.

(I assume somebody asked, if only in their head.)

January: Get back on a plan (vis-à-vis RunCoach). Start the workouts up again, but nothing too crazy.

February: Gradually build mileage & work up to longer/harder workouts. Also I'm thinking about running Bay Breeze 10K on 2/12 if I happen to be in town & am feeling up to it. No pressure on myself, really; I know there's a bunch of gravel, it can be windy, and I will only have about 6 weeks of training under my belt. But I kind of love running 10Ks, and it will make me feel good to see by how much I can beat my time from the same race a year ago, when I was just coming back from the stress fracture and beginning to get back into racing shape.

March: Race before it gets stupid hot everywhere!

  • 3/12 - Shamrock'n Half (Sacramento). I'm signed up for this already thanks to an early bird discount. Another SRA race that friends have done in the past & loved. I kind of just want to see where I am in terms of racing the half after stacking a couple months of 10K/half focused training on top of a solid marathon cycle.
  • 3/26 - Wildflower 10K (Morgan Hill). Maybe? This would be a new one for me, but it looks like a solid road 10K not too far away. I've never raced a 10K that soon after a half so I have no idea how well that would even work and maybe it's a terrible idea all around.

April: Train a bunch more. I'm not planning to race in April because I will be traveling a lot for work & want to have enough time for a solid training block after Shamrock'n Half.

May: I have no idea what's happening this month. I'm trying to schedule a vacation for either the first or second week, but I could totally do something in the second half of the month. My coaches mentioned Bay to Breakers but to be honest I'm not really feeling it. So we'll see. On the other hand, there's...

  • 5/29 - Marin Memorial Day 10K (Marin). Marin is a fast, flat, certified course but somehow I've never felt inspired to actually race on Memorial Day. Is 2017 the year??

June: Mostly recover, maybe a bit of racing just for fun, like...

  • 6/24 - SF Pride Run 5K (SF), no pressure. I love this race. The course is not the fastest but it's cheap, close to home, & for a good cause.

July: A couple of maybes that have caught my eye:

  • 7/4 - Kenwood 3K (Sonoma, CA). This would be the shortest distance I've raced since high school so I might totally suck at it. On the other hand, #defaultPR!!
  • 7/22 - SF PrideMeet 5K/10K (Chabot College). I have kind of wanted to run this for YEARS but the timing has never worked out. As an adult, you don't get too many chances to race 5K/10K on a track, so I'm keeping it as an option.

August: Probably just train, train, train.

September: Register for the Boston Marathon (God willing & the crick don't rise); run a little 10K!

  • 9/3 - Race to the End of Summer 10K (San Jose). There was a super cheap re-run sign up right after the 2016 race, so I figured what the heck & signed up again.

October: Run a sick half. This would probably be my fall 'A' race, so targeting something on the fast side.

  • 10/6 - Rock 'N Roll San Jose (San Jose). I know, I hate Competitor Group too. But this is pretty much the fastest half happening nearby in the fall, and you have to give it to them that they know how to do logistics.
  • 10/22 - Folsom Breakout Blues (Folsom). My soul would much much MUCH rather run this race, but it is a bit later, a bit farther, & just a bit more hilly. But keeping it out there as an option.

November: Get my base training on. Rackin' up them miles.

December: Start training for Boston

HOW 'BOUT YOU??? What'cha up to in 2017?


  1. Nuun and compression socks, haaaaa! You are my spirit sister, and you don't even know it. Anyway, a couple things: I ran Wildflower 5k pregnant and pushing a stroller (with my kid running part of it!), and it's a good, well-put-together race. I'd recommend. RNRSJ sucks because it's competitor group (as you mentioned), but as a course, it's "hella" fast and very flat (and I'll be volunteering there!). It can get sunny and hot though on the back end. Anyway, lots of South bay running for you this year, maybe hopefully perhaps! Exciting :)

    1. Ha! I know it now! :)

      Good to know about Wildflower. I ran RNRSJ back in '10 but was nowhere near experienced or well-trained enough to take advantage of the course. Perhaps I'll see you there!

  2. Love your plans for 2017. I'm in a similar position -- I BQ'd and want to lay off the marathon training until it's time to get ready to run Boston. I ran a bunch of PRs in shorter distances right after my marathon, but right now I'm just doing some speed training with no races on the near horizon because the weather here in the northeast is kind of crap. I kind of have an intention to get back into yoga, but I'm already blowing that off this morning.

    And yeah, I'm not super optimistic about 2017 either. I'm hoping my running keeps me sane while the world goes crazy.

  3. I might volunteer at Bay Breeze to earn Brazen credits - if I do, I'll see you there (maybe)!

  4. Ok, this made me actually LOL, rather than just type the three letters: "(God willing & the crick don't rise)." For October, yep, San Jose RnR is notoriously fast. There's also the Urban Cow half in Sacramento on the 1st: I PR'ed there in 2013 and it was well-organized. They did misplace the mile 12 marker (it was at 11.5 instead, which is kind of a big deal if you're running the last mile as hard as you can), but Garmin satellites had no problem showing the correct mileage.

    Maybe I'll copy Jen's idea and volunteer at Bay Breeze!

    1. I love volunteering at Brazen (though I haven't done it in a long time). It's such a great deal!

  5. Oh, my. I'm not nearly as scheduled as you. All I know is that I have two marathons fast approaching (like, next week, good grief) and an April 10k that I registered for early at a huge discount. Other than that, I really should focus on speed this year! Maybe I should throw some 5ks in?

    1. Hah, I'm *never* this planned so far ahead -- I just knew I had Boston out there in 2018 & started working backwards to see how much time there was to fill!

  6. Excellent plan! I kind of like the idea of summer racing, but when it comes to the crunch I can never bring myself to sign up...just too lazy to sign up for a 5K and spend more time travelling there/ waiting around than actually running. (Also other fun takes priority in summer! Good thing the days are so long.)
    Oh, and I'm in the you-should-do-Folsom camp! Run the race you'll actually enjoy!