Looking ahead to 2016…

I hope everyone had a great holiday season!

So I’m doing things a bit different for 2016: I’m not setting any super specific running goals.

While I did complete two out of three of my running goals for 2015, I think I need a year to really try to reclaim my enjoyment of running. After running seven different races in the first four months of the year (with four PRs and one 120+ mile month), I got severely burnt out. I enjoyed coaching my Couch to 5k group during the summer, but running on my own during that time was practically torture. I really want to get back the pleasure I once got from running.

Since half training takes up so much time and I have other things going on that I need to be around for in the coming year (decluttering and fixing up my house to sell being the most involved), Jonathan asked if I could cut back and not run any half marathons. I was already committed to the Nashville Rock ‘n’ Roll, so we agreed I would only run that one (and he’s running it with me!) and then just focus on shorter distances for the remainder of the year. I don’t want to get too much out of shape, but I definitely need to get some of my time back…at least until we can get my house on the market and sold!

Thus, my main running goal for the year is to just relax and not worry about the training plan!

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2015: Goals!

After conquering all of last year’s goals, I was ready to make some new ones! In 2014, I was mainly focused on my 5k time. But 2015 will be the year of the half marathon! (I’m already signed up for four!)

  1. Run a half marathon in 2:15:00 or less.
    This one kind of scares me, but I think I can do it! That’s chopping a little over 12 minutes off my half PR, so less than a minute per mile. I’m hoping to achieve this at the flat Tom King Classic Half in March, but I’m also signed up for another goal half in April and may do one in the late summer/fall as well!
  2. Run 1000 miles this year!
    It seems like so many, but I achieved my (secret) goal of running 750 in 2014. So that’s only about 5 more miles per week. Doesn’t sound so bad when you say it that way, right? Plus training for multiple halves will help with this, since I usually run 100 miles a month or more at peak half training.
  3. Coach a Couch to 5k Group.
    I only know of one group in the area that really does this, and that’s the East Nasties with their Potato to Tomato training. I really wanted to do this last year, but the timing wasn’t right because the training starts right about the time that Bonnaroo happens. I don’t know if it will be the same way this year or if I can find another group that does it during another part of the year, but I think I would super enjoy doing this.

I will probably sprinkle in some more volunteering this year, like I did last year, as well. I love giving back!

My non-running related goals this year include paying off all my credit card debt (I’m on track to do so in the fall) and reading more.

All 2014 Goals Completed!

At the beginning of the year, I laid out four goals I wanted to accomplish:

Finish two half marathons.
This was completed with the Walt Disney World Half Marathon and the Country Music Half Marathon.

Run a sub-30 minute 5k.
This was completed at the Smyrna Parks 5k in August.

Volunteer!
I volunteered at the Purity Dairy Dash back in April and will be doling out race packets at the Flying Monkey Marathon next weekend.

Participate in a running streak for a month.
Thirty-three days of running in a row DONE! Not a calendar month, but Merriam-Webster says it counts. I ran a total of 103 miles!

The thing I’m most excited about now that my running streak is over? I don’t have to document every single run on Instagram anymore! I honestly didn’t intend to take a picture every day of my streak. I just started and then I felt weird stopping (like someone would think that I had missed a day or something, I don’t know). But I was running out of creative ideas for photos every day (and sometimes the landscape just wasn’t very inspiring…or too dark to see anything). Here are some of my favorites!

#streakfor33 day 12: 3.3 foggy recovery miles #pictapgo_app #silenthill

A post shared by Jessica Winn Strange (@jessicawinnstrange) on

#streakfor33 day 26: Gorgeous day for some trail running at a new-to-me park!

A post shared by Jessica Winn Strange (@jessicawinnstrange) on

Now, back to my normal, cat-heavy Instagram feed.

10k Goal: To Be Average

You all know that I want to get a sub-30 minute 5k this year. And I’ve planned in my head that I’d like to get my half marathon time down to 2:15 next year. But I hadn’t spent too much time thinking about my goal for the 10k I’m running in September.

Using the always helpful McMillan calculator, I can make these predictions based on this year’s races:

Richland Creek 5 Miler predicts 1:04:33 (10:23 pace).
Predators 5k predicts 1:05:15 (10:30 pace).
Country Music Half Marathon predicts 1:06:16 (10:40 pace).
Music City July 4th 5k predicts 1:07:40 (10:53 pace).
Barrel Fest 5 Miler (semi-injured) predicts 1:09:40 (11:13 pace).

By the time the 10k rolls around, I’ll have another 5k (hopefully a PR!) and two more months of training under my belt. I feel like I’m all over the board for this distance. So how do I determine my goal?

First of all, my current 10k race PR is 1:14:37, so unless something tragic happens, I’m sure to get a PR. So getting a PR will be my C goal.

My fastest 10 km I have run so far was during the half marathon; my estimated time was 1:07:57. I would like to think I can run 6.2 miles faster than I can in the middle of a half marathon, so beating my current best 10 km time will be my B goal.

For my A goal…well, I came across this chart of average race times last week. It lists 1:04:47 (or a 10:26 pace) as the average time for women. So, my A goal is to be average!

average race paces

Source: Runner’s World with data from Running USA.

To sum up:
A Goal: 1:04:47 or better.
B Goal: 1:07:56 or better.
C Goal: 1:14:36 or better.

FYI, if I do run a sub-30 min 5k next month, McMillan predicts a 1:02:16 10k!

How do you determine your race goals?

2014 Goals!

I didn’t really have any goals when I started this pursuit at the beginning of 2013, other than “make it through couch to 5k”, which I did!

But now that I’ve been running for almost a full year, I want to lay out some more specific goals:

  1. Finish two half marathons.
    I’m kind of over attempting specific time goals for either of them. Doing so is making me push myself too much too soon. My goal for both is to finish and have fun. Mainly, I just want to enjoy running and I’ve found when I’ve been half marathon training, I don’t. I want to get it back. I don’t want to drop the halves that I’ve signed up for, but I’m going to take it easy.
  2. Run a sub-30 minute 5k.
    With all the pain and injuries I’ve had this year, after I finish out my two half marathons in the first half of 2014, I have decided to take a break from anything greater than a 10k for the rest of the year. I mainly want to focus on bettering my 5k time, so that’s what this goal is for! I’ve come so close, and I know I can do it, but I need to train specifically for it. With all the half marathon specific training (and injuries from it), my 5k time has actually gotten worse. So look for a lot of 5k races in the latter part of the year!
  3. Participate in a running streak for a month.
    I don’t know what month yet, but I want to do one of those run-at-least-a-mile-every-day-for-a-month things. I’m thinking fall.
  4. Volunteer!
    I would love to give back to the running community. Maybe I’m not interested in running longer distances right now, but I would sure love to support the people who love to do it! I’m definitely going to be looking into volunteering at a few races and running events this year.

That’s it! Sounds doable, right?