At the beginning of a new year, there is always a lot of discussion about what you would like to achieve for the next 12 months and beyond. I am usually a little hesitant around this time, as I tend to have goals that do not start from January, instead they start whenever the appropriate time is for me to achieve them….for example, starting marathon training 16 weeks before a marathon, or 12 weeks before the qualifying race for the NCAA national championships.
There is rarely a time that I am not working towards some kind of goal, and my overall, lifetime goal of representing Great Britain (or USA :P) in a major World Championship will always (until I get there), be in my mind. As runners, we are incredibly driven, and will give our best to whatever task we are taking on, which means we are always on a path towards some kind of goal.
With that being said, I am calling 2015 the year of the Anti-Goal.
I do not have a goal for 2015.
Okay, that may not be entirely true. I do not have any hard goals with time limits……but that does not sound anywhere near as rebellious as the anti-goal does it?
Everyone who has asked me what my goals are for 2015? My goals are to be healthy, race the London Marathon, and enjoy my 2015 year of running.
In the past, I have been obsessed with running a sub 2:40 marathon. Even more obsessed than I was with running a sub 16 5k, or qualifying for nationals like I did in college. This goal took on a whole new level. Why? Because not only did I go for it twice, and not get there (or even close), but I had to wait almost a year between attempts. That is a lot of time for your mind to go crazy with frustration.
One of the reasons I decided on London Marathon as my next marathon over Boston, was to take the pressure off myself; not from other people, but my own expectations. I have also chosen to run in the “championship section” rather than running with the elite women who are set off 30 minutes ahead. This was another commitment to this anti-goal.
Since Chicago Marathon, my primary focus has been on getting healthy, and fixing my running form. I have been working incredibly hard on every run to make sure my running form is improving, in addition to doing the exercises that the UVA Speed Clinic showed me. I have taken on a new Strength and Conditioning Coach, Drew Watts who is taking me back to the vey beginning with my exercises to make sure I do them right, to support these changes to my running, rather than undo the hard work by strengthening the wrong muscles.
As much as Steves shaky camera work allows (:p) you can see me literally re-learning how to do a squat! I will do a post in the future to show more about this.
We have also made sure my workouts have a focus on maintaining form, rather than running as hard as I can. Let me tell you, that is a strange sensation for me…..my entire trunk convulsing being the source of my pain, rather than my breathing or legs! Steve and I have been selecting workouts that purposely avoid any comparison; lots of hill runs on new courses, fartleks, and sustained efforts without a Garmin or mile markers.
This has all meant that I am not in great shape. I am running significantly slower than I have at this point in training in the past, and especially running 85-90 miles a week, I should be in much better fitness, but the reality is, I am not. I may have tempo-ed the Hangover Classic 10 mile on New Years Day, but whatever way you look at it, 6:04 pace is not exactly flying for someone who was shooting for that pace for an entire marathon.
Next week will be my last week of running, and then I will take 5 days completely off before beginning marathon training. Steve is a BIG believer in running the marathon segment fresh, and by the time I start up again, it will be 16 weeks out from London Marathon.
So, what does this long explanation come down to?
Letting go of pressure, letting go of expectations, and trying once again to “Take what your body gives you”- Steve Picucci, rather than having a set goal.
I know I will run a sub 2:40, and someday I will run a 2:30, but I do not know when either of those will be. It may be London, it may not, but either way, I am going to try my hardest to just go with the flow, and allow my body to adjust to my new running form and the new exercises, until I get there.
As long as you go out there, and do your best, that is all you can really ask of yourself. I know I will cross that finish line in London having given it my all, and I will let the time take care of itself to show what my body is ready for.
We all know those races we usually run the best (and enjoy the most) are those unexpected victories, and I am determined to be proud of myself whatever happens over the next few months. Buuuuttt for those races we tend to not really enjoy and some times lose our joy I have created the Mile 20 Mental Training Course to help you get back on course of what you enjoy the most about running.
Most of all, I want to be able to look back on this training segment, and the race itself, knowing that I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy Chicago, and Philly was a train wreck. This time, it is all about embracing the challenges, and enjoying it. At the end of the day, is that not why we run?
Will you join me in rebellion by having an anti goal year? How are you changing your mindset this year?