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Joe Barrett

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Funny - the last post on this blog was at the end of last May, talking about how I was recently signed up for the Outer Banks Marathon and how I was going to have to start training. I was also reflecting on my competitive nature and future thoughts. Looking back at what I wrote so many months ago, it’s amusing to see what opinions I’ve changed and which ones I’m sticking to.

Training For A Marathon And Discovering A New Passion

I went overboard. Or rather, I took it very seriously and put in a lot of effort - which resulted in a time far more incredible than I would have thought possible back in May. I did a poorly-implemented Hanson’s Advanced marathon training plan and ran ~45-50 miles per week for 18 weeks, peaking at a 66-mile week a few weeks out from the marathon. In the process, I crushed every single PR I’d ever set for 5k to half marathon, won two races (a 5k and an 8k), got age group places in multiple others (5ks, half marathons, etc.), and then went on to run the marathon in 3:21:24.

And my original goal had been to run “under 4 hours” and “if I feel okay, run more marathons.” I think I got at least half that. It’s the second half that I’m changing my mind on. In the process of training for (and running) various races, I got competitive. I don’t want to just finish races, I want to race them. I want to run fast, setting new PRs and pushing myself to the limits on speed.

Run Less, Run Faster

No, this isn’t talking about that book. This is talking about the time commitment to race a marathon. I was running approximately 8-9 hours a week during my marathon training cycle and my body responded (thankfully) very well to a relatively high volume of miles. But I don’t have that free time right now, due to changing jobs, small children, etc. At the same time, I’m not content to simply finish races anymore. I don’t need participation trophies.

So what do I do? I’m going to get faster at all of the distances from 5k to half marathon this year. I’m going to work my way back up to another marathon so that when I run my third marathon, it’s also going to be a PR. And hopefully another big one.

So far this year I’ve set a new personal record for the mile (5:37), 5k (18:45), and 10k (38:45). But I’m not stopping there. I’ve created goals to get faster - which will hopefully push me to be a better runner at longer distances in the years to come. For my own review at the end of the year (and there’s nothing like putting something in public to keep you honest), here are my 2017 running goals:

  • Run 2017 miles (stretch: 2500 miles)
  • Run a 1:25:00 half marathon (stretch: 1:20)
    • Current PR is 1:29:56 (set November 2016)
  • Run an 18:00 5k (stretch: 17:30)
    • Current PR is 18:45 (set February 2017)
  • Run a 60:00 10 miler.
    • No good PRs, but I have a 38:45 10k (set February 2017)
  • Get my one mile time down to 5:00
    • Current PR is 5:37 (set February 2017)

I think that’s a mix of achievable and ambitious goals. It will be exciting to see what happens over the year.