While my goals for 2016 may be more relaxed than previous years, I still wanted to recap 2015 and what I learned about my running.
Things I Learned
- First of all, I met two out of my three goals for the year: I ran a sub-2:15 (and then a sub-2:10!) half. And I coached a Couch to 5k group. I did not get in 1000 miles total this year; in fact, I didn’t even run as many miles as 2014. A lot of this has to do with the burn out I suffered after April.
- I ran my highest mileage month ever in January 2015, coming in at 123 miles. This was pretty amazing and set me up for some good races in the next few months. I was doing speed work and tempo runs pretty much every week. Not only was January my most mileage, it was my fastest month of the year. Let that sink in. I somehow managed not to get injured doing this. I do wonder if the run streak I did towards the end of 2014 somehow helped with the no injury thing.
- Soon after that month, a bunch of stuff came along that derailed my training: an ice storm, a stomach bug, my wisdom teeth, more snow. Yet, even though my mileage was pretty average for the next few months (58 miles in February, 65 miles in March, and 71 miles in April), I still managed to pull out an awesome PR at my half at the end of April. I attribute this to the great base I built in January because I don’t know how else to explain it. I wasn’t really following a plan or doing speed work or tempo runs anymore. I only did one long run in those three months that wasn’t a race! Maybe racing is the key to unlocking my speed potential…
- However, racing is also partly what burnt me out. I love racing; it’s my favorite part of running. But having to revolve my schedule around races practically every week was a little exhausting. Normally with long runs, if you want to sleep in, no problem, just go later in the day. Not so when your race starts at 7am. It doesn’t matter what you want to do that day or the night before. I need to learn a better balance.
- I liked coaching during the summer. But it was very hard to keep up my fitness level while doing it. After running with the group, I pretty much forced myself to go run on my own afterwards. This did not help with the burn out feeling. I lost a lot of fitness and speed during this time. Would I coach again? Sure! But I would like it to be closer to my home and maybe at a pace closer to my own.
- I hardly cross-trained or strength trained at all this year. I really need to get back into that.
- My biggest takeaway from 2015? Don’t sign up for a ton of races months in advance. I don’t care how much money I want to save. I just don’t know what my circumstances will be then and it’s really hard for me to admit when I don’t need to be doing a race. Most of my races this year are going to be spur of the moment decisions, I think.
Random Thoughts from my Notes
I keep notes for every run, so I can go back and review what I did or how I felt. I ran 163 runs last year. Out of those, I mentioned the word “rough” 20 times and “tough” 8 times. On the other hand, I mentioned the word “good” 29 times and “decent” 7 times. Three runs were “terrible” but twelve runs were “great”. So for all my complaining, I did tend to talk about my runs more positively to myself!
Favorite Runs of the Year
- By far the best was the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon! It exceeded all of my expectations! I really didn’t think I could run a sub-2:10 half after my lackluster training in February, March, and April, but everything aligned and I DID IT! It was a fantastic race as well! I would love to run this one again.
- Scenery-wise, my favorite was my seven miler around Cologne. I was feeling good about training for an October half at this point and managed a decent pace as I went up and down and across the bridges over the Rhine River.
- I had one really good run with East Nasty in November. I had set my watch up to do intervals but felt so good that I ended up doing one minute fast pick-ups instead of walking! Wish every run could be like that!
PRs I set
Totals and Averages
January: 22 runs, 123.2 miles (5.6 mile average), 21:22:52 (10:24 average pace)
February: 9 runs, 58.3 miles (6.6 mile average), 10:22:02 (10:40 average pace)
March: 16 runs, 65.7 miles (4.1 mile average), 12:03:16 (11:01 average pace)
April: 13 runs, 71.3 miles (5.5 mile average), 12:44:19 (10:43 average pace)
May: 15 runs, 51.3 miles (3.4 mile average), 9:20:55 (10:56 average pace)
June: 17 runs, 34.4 miles (2.0 mile average), 7:06:14 (12:23 average pace)
July: 21 runs, 42.5 miles (2.0 mile average), 8:52:25 (12:32 average pace)
August: 11 runs, 36.3 miles (3.3 mile average), 7:09:54 (11:50 average pace)
September: 10 runs, 32.7 miles (3.3 mile average), 6:10:21 (11:20 average pace)
October: 10 runs, 42.9 miles (4.3 mile average), 8:30:27 (11:53 average pace)
November: 12 runs, 55.4 miles (4.6 mile average), 10:55:39 (11:51 average pace)
December: 7 runs, 18.3 miles (2.6 mile average), 3:22:33 (11:04 average pace)
Overall: 163 runs, 632.2 miles (3.9 mile average), 118:59:56 (11:18 average pace)