2015 Goals Review: My Year in Running

When I think back to when I first started running three years ago, things were definitely simpler. I had a single goal: Run a 5K without walking. I didn't care about pace, didn't know what a tempo run was, had never eaten a gel, didn't know any other runners, and had a single running outfit I wore every single run. I was so thrilled and proud to finish my first 5K without walking. As I continued running, I learned a lot, I improved, and I met many other runners, all of which are great things I'm thankful for. And yet, ignorance is bliss. Being connected to so many other runners makes it too easy to compare myself to them. Most of the runners I know are faster than I am, run many more races than I do, frequently get PRs, and sometimes get PRs without really trying or with a fraction of the training I do. It can be easy to get discouraged. Now, at the end of the year, is a great time to put things into perspective, to look at the goals I wanted to accomplish for myself without comparing myself to others. Running is a personal journey, as we all know. I have more difficult goals now than I did three years ago, but reaching them gives me the same sense of accomplishment. I met every single one of the running goals I set for this year, and I'm thrilled and proud!

2015-2016 Running Goals

I  set goals for both 2015 and 2016 since I wanted to build a foundation in 2015 for running a full marathon in 2016. Here's how I did.

  1. Improve speed and end stronger in half marathons. Yes! I earned a 7-minute PR and finished strong in my fall half marathon.
  2. Build a higher running base in 2015 to prepare for a full marathon in 2016. Yes! For my spring goal half marathon, I ran 452 miles, more than I had in other training cycles. For my fall goal half marathon, I ran just over 500 miles. In 2013 I ran 430 miles for the year and in 2014 I ran 950 miles. As of yesterday, I've run 1,322 miles this year!
  3. Run a full marathon in 2016. This will be my big goal for 2016!
  4. Remain free of injuries.Yes! I had no major injuries this year, and most of the time never even had aches or pains.
  5. Overcome fear of racing. Mostly! I think doing more races for fun or training has helped me get more comfortable with racing. While I don't have nearly the anxiety I used to have, I'm not sure I'll ever completely get over my fear completely. I think I accomplished this goal as much as I was able to.

Note: I also set weight management goals that I'll be commenting on in a separate post.


Activities to Meet Those Goals

1. Run four half marathons in 2015.
Yes! I ran four half marathons, but I couldn't do Bird-in-Hand because of timing. Instead I did the Ghost Town Trail race on Memorial Day.
Just a Short Run Half Marathon, March

Pittsburgh Half Marathon, May

Ghost Town Trail Half Marathon, May

Buffalo Creek Half Marathon, October

2. Increase weekly mileage with more double-digit long runs, some with a strong finish at goal pace. Yes! Both my half marathon training plans incorporated more weekly mileage and double-digit long runs.

3.  Practice end-of-long-run fueling options. In my last half marathon, my energy was zapped at the end. In addition to running more long runs with strong finishes, I want to practice fueling after mile 8, which is usually when I take my last gel.
Yes! I think I've come up with the best fueling strategy for me after some experimentation. I take my first gel after 30 minutes and then every 45 minutes after that, for a total of three. I also take a salt stick with every gel.

4. Continue strength training, yoga, stretching, and foam rolling to maintain strength and flexibility to reduce the risk of injuries and help build overall fitness.
Yes! I did slack on the strength training a bit in my last training cycle, but overall I've continued all of these this year.

5. Run additional races as training runs, to work on speed, and to help me overcome my fear of racing.
Yes! I ran 9 races this year, and only two were goal races.
Frigid Five Miler in January
Spring Thaw 10-Miler, February
Father's Day 5K, June

6. Run 1,000 miles. I've never set a yearly mileage goal, but this year I came pretty close (about 950 miles) without trying to hit a certain number. I think this will be an easy goal to hit.
Yes! I've run well over my 1,000-mile goal, with 1,322 as of yesterday.

7. Continue running with my greyhound, and run the full Turkey Trot 5K with him next year.
Yes! We ran the Turkey Trot 5K this year, and he did great!
Django and me after the Turkey Trot

It's been a great year for me, giving me the confidence to tackle my biggest, most challenging goal yet--a full marathon in 2016. 

 How did you do with your 2015 goals? Here's to a great 2016 for all of us!

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