New Year, New State of the Run post. Join me as I dive in to The Year of the Whatever and come up with my grand "what's next" plan.
Annual Disclaimer/Links to Previous State of the Runs
I am not qualified, licensed, or certified in any of this stuff. Anything that I write about running is just an account of my trials and errors.
My Goals for 2021 and How They Played Out
The expected story arc is "Do work. Get results".
So yes, 2021 is the year that is not like the other years, and the year where I had to step back and ask "Why am I doing this? What am I getting out of it?" It's a given that I need to have some kind of physical activity in my life, but it doesn't have to be running specifically.
After some soul searching I decided that I'm not giving up on running just yet but I am giving up on the things that don't work for me:
Running a Bajillion Miles. While I *can* run 30 miles a week, right now I feel like the only thing that I've gotten from it is bragging rights. I can't figure out how to eat to support the mileage, which is where the weight gain comes in. My coach had me running 8-11 mile long runs for six months and I was ready to quit my September half marathon at mile 5...it's just not working.
Running in the Heat. I don't know why I have problems starting at the 60 degree mark, but I do, and no amount of reading about "heat acclimatization" is going to change that. This summer just about wrecked me. Going forward I will keep the treadmill in play year round and not run outside on extremely hot days. I reserve the right to cuss out the next person who tells me that "summer training brings fall PR's!!!"
Coaching: I had valid reasons for working with a coach, and at first things went well. But over time I found myself doing things because they were "on my plan" over following my own instincts. When I would talk to my coach all that I got back was a canned response.
Live racing was back this year. I put in 82.2 miles of racing over 12 races (fun fact: that's exactly the same racing miles that I ran in 2019 with 11 races). I ran six races in the first ten months of the year and six in the last two months of the year.
April: 10 miler
June: a very hot and awful 10k
September: a sucky half
December: Christmas Eve 5 miler, New Year's Eve 5k.
My favorite races were the November 5 miler (I used a power walker as my pacer!) and my 2nd 5k of November (best race time).
- I've noticed that the 8 wears out faster than previous models. I could reliably get 500 miles out of the Launch 5 and 6 but once my first pair of 8 got into the high 300's there
was visible wear on the soles and the shoes were starting to feel a little harsh. I kept using them because I'm stubborn, but changed my tune
after talking to a friend. She said that she was starting to
get some foot niggles after only 200 miles on her current pair of
shoes. I told her the first thing that popped into my head which was,
"if the shoes don't feel good, why on earth are you wearing them? The
price of a new pair of shoes is a no brainer if you're having niggles".
And then I said the next thing that popped into my head which was "Why
am I not taking my own advice?" and promptly retired the problem pair of shoes at 415 miles.
- I've also noticed that there is a benefit to rotating between two different pairs for outdoor runs as well. It's almost like the Launch 8 needs a "rest day" between runs (so far they do not seem to need "rest days" for the treadmill).
I'm open to trying other shoes outside of Brooks, but for right now I feel like the Launch is working for me.
I got a hydration backpack this year and it was a game changer for long runs and races. This is the one that I have, which is perfect for the price.
While technically this isn't gear, the other worthwhile new thing that I tried this year is Skratch Hydration Mix. In the end I wasn't able to solve my heat problems with electrolytes, but it sure helped in places. I tried it because I got a free pack from a Strava challenge, and then forked out my own money to repurchase it.
- Reduced mileage. I think that the thousand mile mark is probably about right, so mid 80's for monthly mileage. There is something very satisfying about hitting 100 miles in a month, and it's no accident that I got 100 miles in December. In the middle of the month I saw that it was possible so I pushed myself to do it (on top of doing a daily running streak), but I didn't get anything for doing it, you know?
- Bye Bye Streak! I loved doing my first ever running streak, but I'm good with 38 days. I don't "get anything" for running every day, you know? But I do believe that the Winter #rwrunstreak will be a repeat for 2022.
- Continue to work on speed
- Continue to work on hills
- Yawn, continue to keep consistent on strength. And I would like to shout out my running coach here - even though the running part did not work out she definitely gave me some good pointers in the strength department.
- Run on the treadmill 1-2 times per week even after the weather gets better. As I've said before, I need time to adjust to the treadmill, so that's why when the weather got hot this summer that I couldn't just jump on it for the mileage that I was running. This chart will look much different next year:
- Lots of races! But short ones! My goal is to run at least one race every month (COVID permitting, but it seems like in person racing is back to stay). Why? Because racing is fun.
- Spoiler, the reason why I'm writing my annual state of the run post on Jan 2nd this year instead of Jan 1st like I have in years past is because I've already run my January 2022 race;-) But that's a story for another day.
- As much as possible, I want to run new races instead of repeating the same races that I've run in previous years. I like the Turkey Trot and my hometown Christmas Eve 5 miler, but I've come to hate the 10k that I've run every June for the past five years. There are several really cool local races that I haven't run yet and I plan to hit them up this year.
- I'm not totally done with the half, but it's not a priority. I have one in late April that I registered for a long time ago because it was on sale for $26.20. I have my eye on a low mileage training plan.