What kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t do a post about goals, resolutions, blah blah blah? Really, though, I only write specific goals for my races, and I consider resolutions to be things that are made with good intentions but that often fail in the follow-through. So, let’s think of this more as my 2012 life plan. And it’s about way more than just “I’ll PR this” and “I’ll run x miles.” This is how my season will shake out:
I will make it through a full training cycle. I have yet to follow a training plan — for anything — from start to finish. I was injured before Boston, and my Shamrock cycle in 2010 was rudely interrupted by Snowpocalypse. I stuck with the general outline of my IM plan but made exceptions pretty liberally for things I wanted or needed to do (eh, it wasn’t built for or adapted to me). This year, I will be as strong as I can possibly be on race day because I will have been smart every step of the way.
I will listen to my coach. I joined an organized, coached running group for a reason: there are a lot of people who know better than me.
I will stay injury-free. I’m a little bit injury-prone. Not like some people, but still, a little. I was hurt early in my Boston training, and while it didn’t hinder my success, I’m curious about what would have happened if I’d been healthy. This all had mainly to do with stupidity (not stretching, not recovering, ignoring strength training, doing whatever I felt like doing, etc.). I was a huge mess, now I’m a little less so. I will not be sidelined in 2012.
I will maintain a regular strength training program. I’ve written several circuit workouts to coincide with specific training periods, but this may also take the form of a boot camp class, yoga, climbing, barre, pole dancing, or any number of other strength-based workouts. I will focus on specific functional exercises as I get closer and closer to my races.
I will do my core work. Everyone always says this. It’s so super important, and I’m very bad about sticking with a core strength routine. It doesn’t matter if I have the best TV lineup in the world to watch, I just can’t make myself do it. But, I like seeing the results (MORE ABS PLZ), and I know it’ll have a positive impact on my performance and resistance to injury. Two times a week, I will.
I will race in a sports bra. I have a lot of respect for the women who have the bodies — and the balls — to race with bare stomachs. If I keep up the core work, I too will be ripped enough for this. Guess I’ll need a CAR bra for this, yes?
I will break 3:20 in the marathon, 1:30 in the half, and 5:00 in the 70.3. These are the next big milestones in each of my key distances. Time to make it happen.
I will go sub 30:00 in a 70.3 swim. This would be a pretty significant swim PR for me, but I think with more consistent time in the pool, a commitment to speedwork and extra open water practice, it’s doable. It helps that Beach2Battleship’s swim is known for being incredibly fast.
I will continue to kick age group ass even though I am in a big-girl category now. Racing in 18-24 was really fun. The competition was sparse (but sometimes really fast!), and I stood on a lot of podiums and won a few bottles of wine. Now I’m back at the bottom and will face a bigger challenge each time I race. Still, I will take them all down.
I will do a road race. On my bike. I decided not to join NCVC’s racing squad because of the insane conflicts with everything I’ve already committed to. Basically that just means I’m not obligated to race 15 or more times in 2012. However, I will get over my fear of being in a pack and enter a road race. Also, I will not crash my new bike in the process.
I will not race without a goal or purpose in mind. I don’t do a lot of junk races. My 2011 schedule was fairly light, and almost every event was picked with the objective of getting me to Boston or Wisconsin in the best shape possible. I’ve already registered for my three 2012 target races, and anything added around those will be a means to an end. An exception may be made for a damn 5K.
I will keep track of my workouts, log my miles and learn to understand the associated data. I haven’t quite found what works best to carefully monitor my miles, pace, heart rate, etc. I used TrainingPeaks during IM but don’t love it, and DailyMile is alright but not awesome. In addition to figuring this out, I will make a concerted effort to learn about the implications of my weight, heart rate, power (who’s gonna buy me a meter?!?) and any other metrics I choose to track on my performance.
I will swim at least once a week all year. Not only will this help me stay sharp and ready to ramp up when tri season rolls around, it’ll keep up my strength and endurance high while also giving my body a break from the stress of running and riding. I’m enough of a swimmer that I can consider these recovery workouts.
I will master at least one arm balance. This is what trips me up in yoga. I can do a handstand only if I’m against a wall, and the forearm balance is way hard, but the headstand is reasonably within my reach. I will do this, legs fully extended, without freaking out and panting like a crazy person and toppling over.
I will take risks by training with people who are stronger than I am. This mainly applies to cycling. I will not be intimidated by all the NCVC boys who can kick my ass. I will work hard and keep up. I also will get over my aversion to swimming with people, especially those who are faster than me.
I will not jump just because everyone else does. This is the blessing and the curse of being a blogger and living in a city with a million and seven other athletes. There is always a workout to join and an endurance challenge to meet and everyone is training for something different and looking for buddies to suffer with. I am guilty of putting my own workouts aside in favor of joining the group, and that’s fine when I’m not training for anything. But in 2012 I have and will stick to my own goals. I will not get sucked into other people’s training plans or objectives or racing schedules.
I will be OK with rest days. If an endurance athlete tells you they enjoy rest days, they’re lying. While it sounds great in theory, we all have a hard time just doing nothing. It’s always active recovery or an easy day, never a total rest. More than likely my marathon plan will include rest days. I will take them.
I will take my vitamins. It can’t be that hard, can it?
I will cook — even during peak training. I got into a pretty good habit this year of grocery shopping and cooking two meals each week. During my highest volume IM weeks, however, I think I ate more oatmeal (even in the summer, I KNOW) than I should have. I will keep trying new recipes, and I will not have cereal for dinner.
I will nail down my race nutrition by practicing early and often. I still haven’t quite figured this one out, and what works for a 70.3 isn’t necessarily what works for IM or a running race. I will try different products more than a few weeks before race day so my stomach will no longer be what holds me back. Also, I will learn to fuel for the marathon. Maybe.
I will track my food intake and make sure I am getting enough protein and calories to fuel my workouts. I say this a lot, but when it comes to writing all this stuff down, I get annoyed after one meal and give up. I will take a week at the beginning of the year — in which my eating is representative of the average week — and collect the data. I will do a check-in every three months to make sure I’m on track for my changing needs.
I will volunteer for a race. Race volunteers keep the world turning. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have made it through this race (or this one, or many others) without the help of all the people handing out water or organizing my transition bags or just acting as motivators when things really sucked. It’s rewarding and humbling to see the other side of how the day goes down, and I need to give back in thanks for the many volunteers who have made my life easier.
I will spectate local events in which I am not racing. I have lots of friends who are runners and triathletes and cyclists, and the D.C. area is race-happy. My own calendar is pretty light — if I’m not racing, I’ll be there to cheer. Selfishly, this also will get me excited for my races.
I will keep my spending in check. I’m serious this time. I’m not sure how much $$$ I spent on training and racing in 2011, but it was lots. Like, thousands upon thousands. Granted, I invested in a lot of equipment (whoops, two bikes) and the most expensive race possible, and I won’t be doing that all over again this year. But I will be mindful of this, especially because I’m racing and training unattached without some of the sponsorship deals I enjoyed this year. I’m not setting a specific budget, but thankfully I’ve already paid for a few of my races and won’t be needing much in the way of gear.
I will learn to let workouts go to prioritize my non-tri friends. I don’t want to go weeks without seeing friends I don’t train with. It sucks to miss out on the lives of people you care about. I will say yes to beers and gossip and movie nights and dance parties.
I will not take my friends and family for granted. This year will be nothing compared to IM training, but I will continue to appreciate and say thank you to the people who support me even when I don’t return phone calls or forget birthdays or skip events because I have to fit in my long run.
I will nurture the nonathletic parts of my life. By the time IM was over in September, I felt like I’d lost touch with a lot of my interests and hobbies and attributes that weren’t related to triathlon. I love to cook, I love clothes, I love to read and write, I love messing with my camera, I love my friends, the list goes on. I will not neglect all of these things for months and months.
I will make my way Out West. No, not moving — yet. I’ll be out there for a little race I’m signed up for, but hopefully at least once more to visit friends who so rudely left me to live in various versions of paradise. I’ve never seen California, or Oregon, or Colorado, or Utah, and I will spend the money and time to make it happen.
I will take better race photos — and more ass shots. Because that’s what the world needs more of.
What will you do in 2012?