Happy New Year! It's hard to believe 2017 is over already, but I'm actually kind of glad to have a fresh start in running and many other areas of life.
2017 was a big running year for me in terms of numbers. I raced more than I ever have. 16 times to be exact and 8 distances: 2 fulls, 4 halfs, a 25k, 10 miler, 15k, 10k, 5 miler, 3 5ks, and a 2miler. I ran in 5 different states and had two PRs (5 mile and 25k). I had several firsts: I ran a marathon for fun, I ran my first race with Bentley, I completed my first 10k and 15k, and I won my first race. Most importantly, my IT band fully recovered and I trained and raced CIM without any issue.
But I can't help but feel like I fell short of the goals I had for 2017. I didn't PR in the full, the half, or the 5k. And in most of the races, the times I ran were well off of my PRs. Granted, I had some issues outside of my control, but other times I just didn't feel like I was capable of running my previous times and was bonking way earlier in races than I ever had. CIM was the exception to that, but I had my weird side stitch issue show up half way through and derail my race.
The big race on my schedule for 2018 is the Cleveland Marathon (and I get to be an ambassador this year!) so I have plenty of time to train. So with 2018 beginning, I've come up with new goals and new plans for how to acheive those goals.
January of 2017 to December 2017
My 2018 Plan -
There are several elements to my plan for 2018 but they all center around one big change I want to make...keep reading to find out.
Cross-training - I've said this every year for the past 3 years. I'm going to cross train this year, I'm going to cross train. I swear I'm going to cross train. And the same thing happens every year, I cross train for a few weeks at the beginning of each training cycle, and then I drop it for one reason or another. But this time WILL be different. How? Well for starters, I've already been cross training for the last 3 weeks straight for at least 45mins-1hr each day. I figured that by starting while I'm not training for anything, it will become part of my routine. The second thing I'm trying are different types of workouts. I rarely do the same lifting/core work/etc each day. That keeps it interesting and makes it more efficient.
More Mileage - After talking with other runners in my club and seeing the kind of mileage other runners I know log, I've come to the conclusion that I do not log enough miles in my training to run the times I want to run. I know I need to do this carefully to prevent injuries, but I plan to slowly build up and to add more runs per week to safely increase the mileage.
Physical Therapy - I've been going to Healthsource of Avon for 3 weeks now and I haven't had a side stitch since getting adjustments and starting PT with them. Their workouts are also helping me to strengthen my obliques, which I'm working into my cross-training. And I'm learning to breath properly which improves my running and prevents the stitch.
Nutrition - Starting with my CIM training, I completely switched up my diet and while I was being more strict on myself than I previously was, I didn't even notice so its not like I was miserable. But the payoff was incredible! I dropped about 12lbs in my training and I had so much energy. So I plan to continue that diet permanently, but I also intend to work on improving it even further, with better nutrition through more fresh fruits and veggies and good sources of protein. I plan to hit the Cleveland Marathon at my ideal race weight.
Coaching - My biggest change for 2018. This year I am hiring a run coach. I've done all of the above in some shape or form but I've never had a real coach before. My training partner has served as an unofficial coach for the past couple years but what I need out of a coach, I can't ask him to do and he doesn't necessarily know how to form daily and weekly training plans, provide cross-training, diet and nutrition plans, and adjust to my needs/performance. From seeing other runners succeed with coaches and talking to other runners, I think that a coach can provide a big payoff for me in 2018. And since running is such a big part of my life, I'm going to make this investment in it this year.
So those are my plans for 2018 in a nutshell. I don't start my Cleveland Marathon training until late January but my cross-training is in full swing. What are your goals for 2018 and do you have any plans to mix it up this year? Have you used a coach before?