July: Summer Goals

As a parent and a teacher, I am constantly telling the kids around me that, if they want to improve in anything, they need to set goals, real goals, tangible goals, something that is achievable.  In essence, we need to have SMART goals.

At the beginning of June, I made a wish and I set a few goals for the summer.  My wish is to be running again and I have every confidence that I will be able to soon.  Ironically, my almost year off running has left me feeling stronger and fitter than ever (an insane amount of cross-training will do that).  I am hopeful that my PRP injection will give my hamstring the extra strength that it needs so that I can confidently start to run and race again. So my first goal is based on this wish: pool-running 4 to 5 times a week.  This should build and strengthen those same muscles and  will allow me, I hope, to resume to running with a bit of a base.

I also have 3 other fitness goals:

Test run on my mountain bike. I’m ready!

1) Cycling.  If you are following me on Instagram, you already know that I have spent many hours on my wind trainer this winter, leaving me with an average of 375 miles a month since the beginning of November.  Cycling is one sport that hasn’t bothered me because the ischial tuberosity doesn’t touch my bike seat.  But, since I have been healing, I haven’t been able to push myself with intervals either.  I am feeling ready.  My summer goal is to get back to cycling outdoors.  Dave and I are planning my first “test ride” later this week and I am pretty excited about it.

2) Swimming.  I have had an on-again/off-again relationship with the pool all winter.  I was quite proud of myself when I finally got back in the water after being away from swimming for the past 20ish years.  But family schedules and work hours have made it difficult for me to stick with it.  And, let’s face it, swimming scares me.  It’s hard and I have to work at it.  If swimming were my only form of fitness, I would be more committed to it but it’s an add-on.  I am also on my own almost every single time.   So my summer goal is to be consistent, to work at it at least 3 times a week.  I am really looking forward to seeing my distance in the water increase as the summer progresses.

3) Yoga – keep it up.  Yoga has been my saving grace through the winter.  It’s made me stronger and helped me to come out of my comfort zone and challenge myself.  It’s also let me sweat when I wasn’t able to any other way.  As strange as it may sound, psychologically, more than anything else, I just needed to be able to sweat.  Getting stronger has been an extra benefit.  As I spend more time in the pool, my time in the studio will likely decrease and I’ll adapt as I need to.  Right now, my goal is to hit the studio at least 3 times a week and that is doable.

Along with these is my goal to write more.  When I started blogging a few years ago, it seemed that everyone was doing it.  But as Instagram became more popular, blogging became “less of a thing.”  I have loved keeping this blog as it gives me the chance to be creative, to express myself and verbalize my thoughts.  Most of my writing is fitness-related, but I really enjoy writing the occasional, more opinionated piece too.   I like being able to share my story or information that can motivate, educate or impact others.

So how am I doing with these goals so far?  Since July 1st, I have ridden 37 miles (2 rides) on my wind-trainer, swam, ran in the pool and written this post.  In an hour, I am heading to yoga as I have just been cleared to go back.  All in all, I’m off to a good start.

Chasing my dreams……

Welcome 2017

I’m not usually one for setting resolutions when the year changes, but I do set goals.  Then I revisit them, revise them, and chase new dreams.  In 2016, my goal was to become physically stronger as a runner.  While my race times weren’t stellar, they were good enough to earn age group awards and earn a spot to compete in the Canadian 5K Championship race.   It was a year of running based on raw talent – running without tempos, speedwork, or hill training.

Road2Hope Half Marathon, Hamilton
After the Boxing Day Ten Miler

In the past few weeks, while laying out my training plan for Boston, I’ve realized two things.  First, I am a fairly decent runner, but I’m nearing the end of my age group (50-54) so I have to do something different if I want to stay competitive.   Secondly, I am stronger than I think.  In my past two races, I really just wanted to see how I would run, hoping to finish the Road2Hope Half-Marathon (November) in under 1:40 and the Boxing Day Ten Miler (December) in less than 75 minutes.  I ran 1:37 and 74 minutes, respectively, and I felt good.  Obviously, my base is solid; it is time to change my training.

So my 2017 goal is to bump up my training and cross-training in terms of distance, intensity and frequency.  This month, my plan is to add speedwork and/hills into my running but I am absolutely terrified of doing either in the dark, especially when it’s icy.  And let’s be frank; I don’t like either of them anyway.  I’d rather just run.  But like so many other things that are good for me, speedwork and hills must be run if I am going to be in shape for Boston.  By running right after work, on the streets that surround my school, I should be able to get in a decent workout before daylight is lost.

Just hanging out at Climbers Rock.

During my marathon prep, I am also going to increase my cycling (windtrainer miles) so that I can strengthen my quads and be ready for the Boston hills.  My core is another area for me to focus on, which can easily be strengthened with consistency at the yoga studio and indoor climbing gym.

These goals are not part of a new year; they simply coincide with it as part of my plan for Boston.   They are in place to help me become better than I am and the runner that I aspire to be.

Chasing my dreams….