I could come up with a whole host of excuses why my first race of the new year was nearly six minutes slower than my 10K PR. The roads were icy. The humidity was harsh. I’d stayed out too late the evening before drinking cider, playing Jenga and forcing my friend Davy to wear a surprise t-shirt claiming he “had a ball” at his own 30th birthday.
But while any of those factors could have contributed to my leaden legs at this morning’s Joe Kleinerman 10K Classic in Central Park, I know deep down inside that the true root of my newfound sluggishness requires a little more number crunching. So, mathletes, grab your calculators and follow along.
- 849.9: Miles I ran in 2013.
That’s about the distance from here to Milwaukee. Sounds pretty impressive, huh? That is, until you crunch this number:
- 18.9: Percent fewer miles I ran in 2013 than in 2012.
Or how about this one?
- 11: Races I ran in 2013.
Also a solid performance. That is, until you compare it to this:
- 21: Races I ran in 2012.
Now don’t get me wrong. The year 2013 was a downright wonderful year for me, full of new love, new jobs, new countries and all the smooches a lady could ask for.
But while I was busy enjoying my 27th year to its fullest, I was also committing all lazy runners’ favorite fitness fallacy: believing I could get stronger and faster and better without actually training stronger or faster or better. We all want something for nothing in this world, but unless we’re talking about syphilis or the guy giving free hugs in Union Square (these two things are possibly related), I know in the bottom of my heart that that’s simply not the way things work.
I started the new year on this blog by writing out a list of my top five new years resolutions, but there’s one more I meant to include: I resolve to train more intentionally in 2014. With the exception of triathlon training last June and marathon training in the months leading up to November, my running strategy in 2013 was of the simple variety: lace up your shoes and go. It was flexible and it was fun, but “easy” miles with no set goal does not a faster runner make.
That’s why in 2014, I intend to be more mindful and goal-oriented every time I hit the road. I’d like to run at least three days a week on average in the 12 months ahead, but instead of simply logging miles, I’m going to challenge myself to the following:
- One tempo run each week at an 8:30 pace or faster.
- One long run each week (of 6+ miles, which, sure, isn’t long by some standards but – well – I have notoriously low standards. Just kidding, Ben!)
- One speed workout each week, be it hills or sprints or intervals or fartleks. Tee hee. Fartleks.
Are these goals going to help me achieve one of my other 2014 resolutions of running a new PR? I hope so, but even if they don’t, at least I may feel like my running has a purpose again. And after a year without direction, that would be a welcome change.
So here’s to the real resolution of 2014. May the rest of the year be as glorious as the evening that rang it in.
Two weeks in, how are you maintaining — or editing — your own resolutions?