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2013 Race Season: Pause for Reflection

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Saturday, December 28, 2013
in Training

The end of the year is naturally a time when most of us spend some time reflecting on the year almost past and the year to come. As we near the end of 2013 I have given a lot of thought to my race results and accomplishments in 2013 and my 2014 goals.

 

If you have read my blogs you know that I completed my dream of finishing the Ironman when I turned 40 in 2012. To be honest, since I completed that race I have not had the drive or motivation required to do anything impressive. Now that doesn’t mean I did nothing in 2013. Check out my race season below. 

February Hyannis Half Marathon Road Race 13.1 miles 1:43:32 361st overall Hyannis MA
March Freeze Your Buns Road Race 5 K 0:20:18 13th overall 3rd age Nashua NH
March Leprechaun Leap Road Race 5 K 0:20:56 6th overall 1st age Nashua NH
April Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:20:15 17th overall 7th age Lowell MA
April Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:20:19 18th overall 4th age Lowell MA
April Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:19:58 22nd overall 8th age Lowell MA
April Firefighters Road Race 5 K 0:20:12 12th overall 1st age Lowell MA
April Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:20:30 14th overall 5th age Lowell MA
April Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:19:58 10th overall 5th age Lowell MA
May Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:20:36 21st overall 4th age Lowell MA
May Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:19:54 19th overall 3rd age Lowell MA
May Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:19:37 14th overall 4th age Lowell MA
May Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:20:04 17th overall 5th age Lowell MA
June Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:20:23 25th overall 6th age Lowell MA
October New Hampshire Marathon Road Race 26.2 miles 4:11:59 80th overall Bristol NH
November Tyngsboro Trot Road Race 5 K 0:21:06 7th overall 3rd age Tyngsboro MA
November Wolf Hollow Half Marathon Road Race 13.1 miles 1:48:18 116th overall Nashua NH
November Thanks for Giving Road Race 5 K 0:21:17 27th overall 5th age Lowell MA

As you can see I did complete a couple of half marathons and the NH Marathon but was not close to my PR in any of them. I had a few decent 5ks in 2013 as well, but overall it was a very boring season and certainly nothing to get excited about.

As you reflect on the past season I think it is important to be honest with yourself. If you were unhappy with your results, what happened? If you truly want to have a better 2014 you need to know why 2013 went wrong. Ask yourself a few questions:

**How did the training go in 2013? Did you miss workouts or spend the required time training to meet your goals?

**Did you battle injuries?

**Did life throw obstacles in your way that prevented you from reaching your goals?  Kids?   Job?   Life Event?

**Maybe you completed the Ironman the year before and decided to play golf and hang out with your friends all year?     (oh, sorry that was my year)

Either way once you figure out what happened you can realistically look at 2014 and decide what will be different. Many of us get excited at the end of the year looking forward to a clean slate and the endless possibilities of the New Year. Being realistic about your life situation will help you make attainable goals for 2014. There is nothing worse than setting goals, signing up for races, and then realize on February 1st there is no way you will meet the goals you set the month before.

 

As I look forward to 2014 I have already made a few modest commitments. I will be returning to the triathlon world in 2014. My training partner and brother-in-law Mike wants to finish a half-Ironman in 2014 and I will be going along for the ride. We have committed to a duathlon in March and a triathlon in April as our first multi-sport events. I am always cautious about signing up for too many early season events due to limited outdoor training opportunities in New England. Look for a number of posts about our early season training progress as we start down the road of returning to triathlon.

In conclusion I am looking at 2013 as a bridge year….it may be a bridge to tremendous success in 2014 or it may turn out to be the bridge to nowhere. Either way I plan on challenging myself in 2014 by racing more often and entering more challenging events. Like a lot of people I am kicking around a few crazy ideas for 2014 but my veteran experience tells me to keep those ideas quiet until I have a few solid months of training under my belt. As you create your plan for next season don’t forget the most important thing….Have a good time and enjoy life! This is supposed to be fun!

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2014 Goal Race Planning

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Friday, December 20, 2013
in Training

After the holidays many us start the process of planning out our big races for 2014. Some of us already have a plan, and others are still trying to decide what they want to do next season. I am a firm believer that anyone can do anything if they commit to it. This is a great time of the year to figure out what you really want to do and then start down the road of meeting your goal. As an athlete and a veteran racer that usually means selecting a big race and then putting together a plan to train for it.

 

5 Steps to Planning Your Next Goal Race

 

1) Self-Evaluation

How did last season go? Are you happy with your race results? Are you burnt out? Proper self-evaluation is a key part of the race planning process. For most of us racing is a hobby and something we enjoy doing. Did you have fun this year? If running and racing has stopped being fun then you are doing something wrong and need to fix it in 2014. Don't make the mistake of signing up for races in 2014 just because "I always do that race". Once you evaluate where you are mentally and physically start to think about what you "really" want to achieve in 2014. What distance do you enjoy the most? What event have you always wanted to race? Make a point of making sure you know what you want to do before committing to a bunch of races.

2) Be Realistic

A big part of making sure you have an enjoyable and successful season is choosing realistic goal races. If you are reading this and have never swam before I wouldn't recommend signing up for an Ironman event next season. Look back at 2013. What races did you complete? Did you leave any "unfinished business" in a particular race distance? As I mentioned above,  I do believe anyone can finish any event. What I am recommending is for you to consider all of the training involved with each event before you sign up. If you barely finished a half marathon this fall signing up for a marathon next year is going to take a tremendous amount of effort. Do you really want to do this? Choosing an event that is so far above your current fitness level is a recipe for disaster. Remember step 1? Self-evaluation....Complete an honest self-evaluation and choose events that are a natural progression from your 2013 season. I guarantee you will be a lot happier in 2014!

3) Timing is Everything

Now that you have completed steps one and two you are ready to sign up for your big goal race. The key to choosing the right race is to make sure you have enough time to train for the event. If you have decided 2014 is the year you want to complete a marathon you need to make sure the timing is right. When do you want to start training? What kind of shape are you currently in? Do you want/need stepping stone events to lead up to the big goal race? Don't make the mistake of rushing to the nearest race calendar and signing up for the race with the best website. Do your homework and find out how long it will take to train for your event based on your fitness level. If you don't plan on starting any serious training until February 1st and you plan on taking 4 months to train for your marathon then June would be the first month to start looking at races. Know in advance how long you need to train before you start looking at events. The worst thing you can do is set a goal and then sign up for a race that is too soon. Make sure you have enough time to train to ensure your goal becomes a reality.

4) Stay Focused

Now that you have selected your goal race don't make the mistake of signing up for major events that are scheduled after your big day. If you are completing your first marathon in June don't sign up for a second marathon before you have completed your first one. Enjoy the process of training and focusing on your big race without having to worry about other challenges. Many people forget or are unaware of the mental and physical strain they will experience after months of training. Once you have successfully completed your goal many times all you want to do is take some time off. After some reflection you also may decide to do something else. Don't lock yourself into another event.

5) Keep Racing

Keep the racing juices flowing! if your big event is 4 months away or longer, break up some of that impending training monotony with some racing. If you are training for a marathon sign up for a half marathon that will fit nicely with your training. Maybe you can even find a 30k or 20 mile race that would also fit. I recommend reviewing your training plan and signing up for a few events that fit right away. Not only will this keep you motivated but completing these secondary races are excellent training for your goal race. These races can be used to test your pacing, nutrition, and pre-race routine. Don't wait! If you wait to sign up for secondary races something will always come up and you will not be able to enter the race.

 

Follow these simple steps and you are well on your way to having a great 2014!

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