Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Year, New Goals

I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions. I know I've said this before so bear with me. Why wait until January to make some big resolution for the whole year? You can start making better choices any day of the year.  But because it IS January and many people are looking ahead to the near year and what changes it will bring, I will share my thoughts with you now.

Maybe for me I get hung up on the word resolution and how people use it as a blanket term for making a change in their life, such as "get fit" or "eat better" but they don't really break it down and think about how they are going to do that. They don't have a plan and then there's no fallback if they fall short of the plan.  It might be to work out every day starting on January 1st but if they hit a road block and miss a couple of days then it's easy to toss that resolution out the window.  

That being said, rather than thinking about a resolution, I prefer to think about goals. You can set a long-term health or fitness goal for the year or you can set smaller, more easily attainable goals if you that's better for you.  Or perhaps you set both.

My fitness goals are running-related so I look at them in smaller chunks based on races that I'm training for.  Last year I set a goal to run a marathon so when it came time to train for that, that was my focus.  This year I have Boston in April and Detroit in October, plus many other races sprinkled in-between.  Although I love to run daily, having races on the schedule helps me get out there even on days when motivation might dwindle. If you're looking for a training plan a good place to start is with one of the Hal Higdon plans.  He also has plans for 5k10k, half marathon, and marathon.  Even if you aren't training for a race you might want to use one of these plans to help motivate you or give you some structure.  I print mine out, hang it on the refrigerator, and mark down the number of miles I actually run each day, if I race, cross train, etc.  I'm currently following a 16-week Boston training plan.

I also have two long-term goals for this year:

  1. Run a faster 5K.
  2. Run a 50K trail race.

How will I accomplish these goals?  

  1. 5K - Speed work, plain and simple.  I will to devote one day a week to track workouts doing 1/4-mile repeats.  I generally don't run 5K races but I have one in February that I can hopefully use as a baseline (depending on weather).  I'll run a few more throughout the year and should see my times improve with training.  My current PR is 21:39.
  2. 50K - I'm going to do Marquette Trail 50 Ultramarathon in mid-August so I'll have the summer to follow a training plan.  Because it's a trail race I'll be running slower than a marathon so the added miles aren't a huge concern but I will need to get in some good long runs.  Also because it's a trail race, I'll need to drive out to some of the metroparks for my long runs instead of what I'm used to for traditional marathon training.  I've done some trail races before (Flirt with Dirt, Back to the Beach) and spent a good amount of time on the trails at GLR, so I feel fairly confident that I'll be fine no matter how I put in the miles.     
Besides running I also have a goal of cooking one new meal a week.  I've been falling back on a lot of old stand-by's (the Big Saladveggie stir-fries) and need to branch out a little more.  So my goal is to make ONE new meal a week.  Not necessarily something fancy but at least something different.

These are my goals for the year.  My S.M.A.R.T. health and fitness goals, if you will. (Sorry, I'm a teacher!  wink, wink)

What are your health and fitness goals for the new year?


  1. I've got to stop making excuses and lose the baby weight! I'm running my first post-baby #3 marathon Feb 2 and probably running another one Feb 8, but then I'm focusing on getting faster for shorter distances. I want my sub-2 hour half marathon back! I think to do that I need to add cross-training back to my routine so I'm going to join a gym because I seem to do better at sticking to something (other than running) when I'm going to the gym versus trying to do it at home.

    I can't wait to follow your Boston training and race, and your other running adventures as well!

  2. Wow, Kaci - 2 marathons in a row! You rock, girl! I can't wait to hear how those go! I love that you have a goal of working on speed for shorter distances and agree that cross-training will help get you there. It's easy to neglect that when we're so focused on getting the miles in, isn't it? Keep me posted!

    As always, thanks for reading and commenting! :)

    1. Well my 2 will be SLOW! The Feb 2 one is to replace mine that got cancelled in Dec, and then a running mom friend from MI is coming to TN & wants to run one in MS Feb 8. I hate to spend money traveling for a half, so I decided to do the makes me eligible for marathon maniacs! LOL But after that, I really want to get faster....future marathon training would be a lot easier if I was faster!