I’ve been wanting to revive the blog for ages, but there’s been a lot going on and I’ve had too many balls in the air to really give it the attention that I think it deserves. In the past year I’ve moved to New York and embarked on a new chapter of my career, this time as a part owner of a new firm. Running has been my constant and has really saved my sanity at times, and I’ve also significantly revamped my training this season, with great results so far. I’m looking forward to outlining my new approach on the blog, as well as some nutrition tweaks I’ve been exploring. I’ll be getting down to brass tacks in later posts, but for now I’ll start with my broader strategy and goals for this season.
After working through the IT band injury last year, I felt like I still had a lot of work to do on my mental game. I was incredibly frustrated and disappointed to have put all the work into training for the marathon and then have it all fall apart when I was so close to the goal. It was almost a year before I raced again, and it took even longer for me to get my fire back. I’ve long struggled with putting too much pressure on my performance and having major pre-race nerves as a result. The marathon debacle really made it clear that I needed to reevaluate how I was approaching not just my racing, but my running in general.
I run to get stronger, to manage my stress, and for the primitive joy in it. I’m also the type of person who loves keeping score, logging miles, and tracking my stats. I thought that all the numbers and goal-setting was the problem, and I tried just not racing to see if I enjoyed it more without the pressure of competition. I immediately got bored and slow. After really thinking hard about it and looking back at my most inspired (and most successful) periods of running, I realized that what I really needed were better goals.
Step 1 was to figure out my season. My sometimes-coach and mentor suggested that I try more racing to get over my race nerves by making it make it more routine, “like going to work.” I laid out a schedule with the goal of racing every 6-8 weeks through the winter and spring. I picked mostly half marathons and 10K’s (my favorite distances), as it would allow me to focus and get into a training groove and then just tweak and reset between races. I ended up with the schedule below. There may be a few more shorter fun runs thrown in this summer, these are the main events:
2014 Race Schedule
January 25, 2014 – Brrr-ooklyn Hot Chocolate Half, Prospect Park – PR 1:55:12
March 16, 2014 – NYC Half, Central Park – PR 1:52:46
April 5, 2014 – Scotland Run 10K, Central Park – PR 50:51
May 17, 2014 – Brooklyn Half, Prospect Park
June 1, 2014 – Celebrate Israel Run, Central Park
June 22, 2014 – Queens 10K, Flushing Meadows
September 28, 2014 – Bronx Run
October 18, 2014 – Baltimore Marathon
The schedule culminates in the Baltimore Marathon, and I wanted to come up with a training plan that would I looked back at my training when I had PR’ed previously (the advantage to keeping meticulous records), and analyzed what worked. My best running had been on a modified version of the plan in Run Less, Run Faster by Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss. I like the structure of their training, which gives incredibly detailed workouts based upon a goal race pace. I’ve been following their tables since last fall and incrementally adjusting my race goals after each cycle. I’ve been thrilled with the results and have PR’ed each of my races so far this year. (I have some thoughts on why their approach works for me, and what the downsides are, but more on that later.) I’ve also hired a personal trainer who I see once a month to help with strength training and injury prevention. This week, my training looks like this:
Tuesday: Intervals – 2×3200 @ 8:04/mi pace w/400 RI
Thursday: Tempo – 5mi @ 8:19 pace
Sunday: Long – 12mi @ 8:48 pace
This morning’s intervals were glorious, and if the weather holds, tomorrow’s easy run will be a run commute to and from work over the Brooklyn Bridge. There will be more in the coming weeks on training, strength, and nutrition, so check back soon!