As I started writing the recap of my 2017 goals, I had an ah-ha moment (and this is a big one for this Type-A runner): Success in running isn’t always about the time on the clock. Most of us aren’t getting paid to run – so why do we run!? So that we can send everyone we know our Athlinks profile and proudly announce our PRs to anyone who mentions running? No. Most of us run because we enjoy improving ourselves, we genuinely enjoy running, we like the way it makes us feel and we like the learning process of training for a race. Or, that’s how running fulfills me. So why do I measure my success as a runner on exactly how fast I can get to point A to point B on ONE day of the year?
All of my 2017 fitness goals revolved around setting a personal best at the marathon, specifically at Mountains 2 Beach (which would most likely qualify me for the Boston Marathon given that my PR is only 27 seconds off of a BQ). Even though I wanted to PR at M2B, I knew we were going to try for Baby #2 (which trend out to be baby #2 and 3) so even if I were to qualify for Boston, I wouldn’t be running it anyway. I knew I’d have to try again, but I still wanted to give M2B my best effort and I knew that training with my coach Jim and the Seaside Striders would give me a great shot at getting fit enough to do it. But regardless of all that, I still really, really wanted to PR.
That being said, my 2017 fitness goals were:
- Set a PR (sub 3:35:27) at the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon. This was the Number one goal. I missed this goal, running a 3:42 and realizing later that day that I was fighting a stomach flu during the race.
- Strength train, including at least one leg specific workout, three times per week (this will be all Beachbody programs). I didn’t track this but I did consistency strength train for all of 2017. There were weeks when I got in more than 3 workouts and other weeks when it was less, but overall, I was super consistent.
- Foam roll and stretch at least twice a week. Definitely did not do this all year but I did do quite a bit of stretching and foam rolling during M2B training.
- Schedule recovery into my weekend to allow myself to recover from long runs (i.e. don’t plan a million activities and schedule a nap or at least couch time!). Because Siena takes nice long naps every afternoon, I did get more napping in during marathon training this cycle, though I remember having a crazy month during peak training where I had a lot of showers and parties.
- Fuel my body with healthy foods, especially after tough workouts and long runs. Don’t use hard workouts as an excuse to eat low quality foods (though some on occasion are totally fine!). I did a good job at this during marathon training (besides date nights where I ate half a large pizza practically every Thursday). Often, on Wednesdays I’d make something healthy in the crockpot so I could eat it when I got back from my tough speed workout sessions around 8-8:30 PM (this enchilada turkey quinoa recipe is a fav!). One I got pregnant, this went out the door because I was so nauseous and all that sounded good was processed white carbs! Ah well.
Overall, I’m really happy with how my marathon training went and I’m very proud of it. Although I didn’t achieve my goal at the race, my training cycle was the best I’d ever had and I improved my fitness significantly and learned a lot along the way. I learned that hills can be fun, I discovered a ton of new trail running routes in San Diego, made a lot of new running friends through the Seaside Striders running group, ran my highest mileage week ever, and enjoyed the entire process. For that, I’d say it was a win!
Although as runners we often get caught up in our times and the numbers, it’s truly about the journey. If you’re learning, improving, and having fun along the way, then I’d say you had a successful training cycle no matter what the race result. And that doesn’t even mean you have to be improving time-wise; you could be improving in other aspects such as mental health or fitness. Thinking about running in this way makes it fun no matter what your current situation – whether you’re pregnant like I am, getting older and no longer able to hit paces you once were or are getting back into running after a break – you can still feel proud of where you’re at in your journey at the moment. It’s not all about the numbers.
Does that mean I’m giving up on my Boston Qualifying goal? Definitely not – I’ll be out there shooting for a sub 3:35 again (even though my qualifying time is now 3:40), but what I’ve learned is that that number on the clock doesn’t define me as a runner and I won’t let it ever again.
How did your 2017 goals go? How do you personally measure your own success in running?