Planning For The Future | Running/Fitness Goals For 2022
I love the challenge, commitment and the process involved in running ultra-distance events. The downside is the time required to train and prepare properly. If running was my only passion I wanted to carve out time for it wouldn’t be a big deal. Unfortunately there is this things called a full time job I have to show up for. And there are other passions in my life that I want to make time for and build and grow like my photography and my writing. It is a challenge to do all those things at once.
Taking a year off from ultras?
I do think balance is important in life. Not necessarily everything in balance every day, but a big push in one aspect of life then taking a step back in that arena to put on a big push in another area of one’s life. I love running and don’t see a day when it is not part of my life in the future. But It is hard to grow other areas of my life with the time and energy commitments required for ultra-distance running especially the longer the distance.
So in order to have the energy needed to shift my growth to another arena of life I am planning to stay away from training for an ultra-distance event.
Notice how I said I am planning to stay away from training for an ultra-distance event. I might do something where my baseline fitness will allow me to complete the event within the time limit. Or I might do a timed event that gives me a lot of time to casually get to ultra-distance. Another option would be to do a solo long adventure outside of an official event that would allow me to take as much time as needed.
Training to get faster
I like to work hard. I enjoy challenges and seeing what I am capable of. Pushing my limits helps me learn about myself.
For most of my running life that has meant ok I ran distance “X” what is the next longest distance I can run. 5k then a 10k, then a half marathon and on and on. I never really focused much on getting better or faster at a given event. I have set PRs in shorter distances due to my overall fitness getting better while I was training for longer events. But I have never really focused on getting faster or performing better at a given event or distance. Late last year I spent a month training to PR at a 5k which was fun. So I am interested to see what that would be like if I brought that along for an entire year.
Trying to PR at my favorite road half marathon: Skunk Cabbage half
I am going to try to build on my speed work and going for a PR late last year at the 5k distance. The one road race I run pretty regularly is the Skunk Cabbage Half Marathon. It is a fun hilly course. Not the fast and flat course some runner might prefer for a half marathon PR attempt. And maybe I could go run a flat half marathon and be much more likely to set a new PR at that distance. But to me for it to really count as a PR I need to get faster on the same challenging course not just at that distance.
Skunk Cabbage is pretty early in the year. The race is in early April. This will give me about three months to get myself as close to peak long distance speed shape. WE will see if that can happen or not. But if nothing else the race serves as inspiration to get my fitness routine tuned up and in place the way I want it to be. To be as fast as I need to be I will really need to get my fitness routine clicking on all cylinders. So It is now February and there is lots of work to get done.
Running the FLRC trail series
One thing I have been wanting to do for several years now is run all the races in the trail series put on by the Finger Lakes Running Club. In the past events I had signed up for far in advance ended up conflicting with races during this series, so I could never accomplish this. The FLRC puts on a series of 8 trail races. I have run a couple of them in the past. And the really fun part is that several of these races come in multiple distance options. This year I plan to run all the races at the shortest distances offered. I love trails and I am really excited about this series.
Being consistent all year long in my overall health and fitness
I enjoy running and I am pretty good about being consistent with running even when I am not training for any specific event. But I really want to have better overall health and fitness. I always struggle to work in and stay consistent with other forms of exercise.
I have picked up and fallen off of different types of exercise over the years. Strength training, Yoga, and Cycling to name a few. I want to develop more well-rounded level of fitness to support myself in all endeavors I choose to pursue, not just running. And I want to be strong and healthy overall throughout my life. And I feel the way to do that is for all aspects of my body to be fit and strong.
For all of this consistency is the key and that has always been my biggest struggle. I will stick with something for a while then before I know it, it has been weeks before I have done a given activity.
Another part of my overall health and fitness that I want to continue to work on is my nutrition. I want to put the right things into my body. I want to put more good things into my body and put fewer things that are bad for my body into it.
I have made a lot of progress on this over my lifetime. From when I first started to shift towards eating more healthy. Then taking on a vegetarian diet. And then for the past two years eating a fully plant based diet.
One of the biggest challenges is that I live in times when it is easier than ever to be vegan and still eat junk food. That is the part of my lifestyle I want to cut back on, vegan junk food. I also struggle a lot with emotional eating or eating just because I am bored or tired and those are habits I am always striving to reduce. This type of eating is most often when I eat food I would rather not be eating.
I want my food to be fuel to propel my body in all the endeavors I want to pursue. I do not want my food to be poison that will make me sick and shorten my lifespan. I also want my food to taste good. And on that note two of the biggest factors in that have been the amazing books with recipes in them that I have been enjoying so much. The No Meat Athlete Cookbook and the Plant Based Athlete really help me to eat healthy and enjoy every bite of food I put into my mouth. And really I love to eat so having food that tastes good is key. The more I utilize these books the better my overall health will be.