Friday, November 26, 2010

Setting the bar high, and leaving it there

Before I delve into this post, let me stop and say Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I know alot of people really seem to struggle during the holidays with family stresses, financial worries and such, but I hope we all take some time to reflect on just how richly we are blessed to be able to get outdoors and simply run.  

As 2010 is quickly winding down, I find myself stepping through a mental ritual that I embark on every year around this time. I've never really consciously realized that I was doing it, but I see it pretty clearly now, and I wonder if I am alone in thinking this way.

With December only a week away, I can't help but venture back in my mind to the previous 11 months or so of training, racing, recovering and wonder to myself  "Was it enough?"

Did I train hard enough? enough? ...often enough? 

Did I run enough miles? ...were they quality miles, or just mileage that I could "say" I ran on a training log?

And, for the races, did I really leave it all out there on the course during that marathon last March? What about that 10k in August- did I pull up too early at the Finish line because I was about to pass out?


No matter how good of a year I have logged,  I always find areas in which I know I can improve upon. Typically, I'm reasonably satisfied with my mileage. I log roughly 1,700-1,800 miles in the calendar year, so I'm okay with that. Because I follow (for the most part) structured training plans for marathons, I'm okay with accepting that the training is quality-based. As for the number of races I run, I ran about 4 marathons this year, 2-3 half marathons, a handful of 10k's, a handful of 5k's and my first 50k. I'm okay with that volume.

But I still spend alot of mental energy trying to identify what areas are my "weak spots" and how I can improve upon them starting in January. I am definitely a goal-driven guy, and I have to set the bar high for myself in terms of my expectations for race day performance. Without the goal in front of me, my training will ebb and flow all over the place, and I won't be consistent in my running frequency, intensity, or purpose. I've just got to get to the point where I accept the fact that every so often, you have to lower that "high bar" down a few pegs and just go out and run for the sheer joy of it.

That's still a work in progress.


  1. I think I do feel that sometimes I do go through and wonder what if....but I tend to do that right after an event and then I shelf it remembering during the next training cycle what I should have done different and should do now.

    I'm nowhere near your level having only done about 600 miles this year, but I think we all have to evaluate or stagnate.

  2. It's good to try to improve training shcedules and racing, but after checking out your PR's, it looks like you're doing a great job in both!

  3. Hey--blog surfing this evening. Love yours. I've done an 8 hour event, a 10 hour event and a 12 hour event.

    The 8 and 12 went well in general. I broke down on the 10. Some of it my bad.

    I haven't studied your blog in detail but was wondering if you have a particular run/walk strategy and what training program you follow for similar distance events?

    Thanks for any help you provide!