I like to believe that you don't know where you are going if you don't know where you've been. By looking back at your immediate past you get a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn't.
2014 was a pretty good year for me running-wise with one of my primary goals, a sub-20 minute 5K checked off. While I didn't get my 13.1 time down to 1:30 like I aimed for, I'm still happy that I cracked 1:40 twice with a new PR of 1:37:45. I also didn't get to run my first 26.2 due to the death of my Father-in-law but I probably wasn't ready for it anyway.
My biggest disappointment of the year was my 4th place AG finish in the DBacks Race Against Cancer 5K. I was shooting for a sub-20 and top 3 since the prize of getting honored at a DBacks game was pretty cool but the real disappointment came from finishing 3 seconds behind because I gave up with a half mile to go. I also failed in my bid for a sub-20 as well.
2014 was a year of staying injury free, training smart and eating clean(ish). Speedwork was a big component of training throughout the spring and summer and while it initially helped, I eventually began to regress as the hot summer months wore me down. Fortunately, I discovered Phil Maffetone's latest book, 1:59 - The Sub-Two-Hour Marathon Is Within Reach Here's How It Will Go Down, and What It Can Teach All Runners About Training and Racing and learned that you don't need to run yourself into the ground to get faster.
Armed with this new information, as well as a Garmin 310XT with HRM, I began training with the Maffetone Method. Let me tell you, running slow is not easy for someone like me and running real slow is torture. Going from regularly doing shorter runs (3-7 miles) in the mid 7's-low 8's to suddenly running 12-13 minute miles can be hard on the psyche. I knew this was going to take time and patience and since what I had been doing wasn't working, I committed to sticking with it. Sure enough, after about a month my pace was in the low 11's-high 10's. I also noticed that there was little or no residual effect after a run; even long runs.
What was even more reassuring was that after only a month plus when I let it rip for an half I was running, not only did I PR by a minute and a half but I didn't feel like I went all out to do it.
As it is, with 2014 behind me, I'm down to running in the low 9's after only 3 months with the Maffetone Method. For perspective, I can now run 7 miles in the same time and at the same HR as I could only do 5 miles in the beginning.
So here are the numbers for 2014
1 top 3 finish overall - 3rd place Splash Mob 5K
3 top 3 in age group
5 PRs set
Now what's in store for 2015?
Well, I consider my running year to begin in March since my 2 big races happen in January and February. First up is the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona 13.1 on 1/18 and then on 2/15 I hope to complete my first 26.2 in the Lost Dutchman Marathon. I've set my sights on a sub-4 hour time but all that really matters is that I finish. After all, any time will be a PR.
My immediate goals for 2015 are to continue along the path that began in 2014; continue HR training, remain injury free, train smart and eat clean(ish). I also want to continue my streak of 100+ mile months (which now stands at 6) and hope to run 1500 miles for the year.
Race-wise I've set some lofty, yet very achievable goals. First I am going to continue to work toward a sub-1:30 half. This is a carry-over from 2014 so it needs to be crossed off yet.
The big, shoot for the stars goal is to BQ and not just BQ but do it by 5 minutes. At my age I will need to run 3:25 based on current standards so I'm setting my sights on a 3:20 and I'll take a swing at this at the Ventura Marathon in September. Having grown up in Boston, its always been a race that I aspired to run in and I feel Ventura, with it's fast, flat course gives me my best chance. It doesn't hurt that I'll have 8 months to get ready for it.
So there you have it; out with the old, in with the new. I'm really looking forward to 2015 and believe I've laid the groundwork to achieve great things in my running and in life in general.
How do you plan on owning 2015?