2014 by the numbers

Goals for 2014

My goal was to run 1,000 miles in 2014.

I was off the road for about six weeks in January-February and had to work on my rehab. Part of my rehab was using the elliptical in my gym. Many people use the elliptical for cross training so I’m going to include the 29.36 miles I rehabbed on the elliptical.

goals,planningAt the Ultra Around the Lake I walked 4 laps around Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield. I was walking with my buddy Jose who was on the tail end of a 12-hour Ultra. We jogged a little and walked a lot.

Normally I wouldn’t count walking but it was a race, I did a half marathon and I felt it the next day. Those 13.24 miles count.

Actual recorded running miles totaled 977.82. There were a few miles here and there when I either didn’t have my watch, the battery died or somehow I did not start the watch.

For 2014 my total recorded miles were 1,020.42.

I made my number, but it was close. Even while training for three marathons I beat my goal by only 2%.

The six weeks when I was recovering from my injury made a big difference. During that time I only ran 29.36 miles. Even if the weather had been bad those six weeks, I would have run well over 100 miles during that time period.

Looking to 2015

My primary goal for 2015 is avoiding injury. As runners, we all know how hard this is to do. Almost everyone I know has sustained an injury while gearing up for a marathon.

Continue reading “2014 by the numbers”

Reflections on 2014

Reflections on 2014

I don’t like to set New Year’s Resolutions. Too easy to make, too easy to break.

As a runner I’ve learned how to set goals. Part of setting goals is staying focused over the long-term. A New Year’s Resolution to lose weight is easy to make after a few beverages, but difficult to keep when pizza shows up the first Thursday evening of the year.

Runners know that goals can be changed. If a runner gets injured, they adjust their expectations for the spring marathon. On the other hand, if training goes well and they stay healthy, a runner knows how to push just a little bit harder.

Setting a goal isn’t like jumping out of a plane and knowing the earth will soon be under your feet. As in life, a running goal may never be met. Life gets in the way. Sometimes the body fails us or we fail our bodies. Shit happens.

Running has taught me a lot about life, living and how to go after what I want. It takes work, determination and will power to reach your goals. If a goal is not your own, it is very difficult to stay on track over the long run.

Over the past few years I have come to understand the ephemeral nature of goals I am not committed to.

Goals for 2014

Continue reading “Reflections on 2014”

Marathon Training Sept. 14th

Marathon training continues

We started week 10 of our marathon training program on Sunday. This week we ran 16 miles in 50 something degree weather. Everyone seemed to like the break from the heat, but I hated it.

The cold made my muscles and tendons tighten. There was a 10-15mph wind for the first seven miles or so. After we warmed up the wind wasn’t so bad, and it did keep the crowds down around Lake Quannapowitt.

After getting warmed up on the first mile, my next 7 miles were under 8 minute miles. When I hit 16 miles I started walking, and walked about a quarter-mile. I just didn’t feel like running in anything more than we had planned. Not this week.

My goal was to run as close to my goal marathon pace as possible. For 16.24 miles my average pace was 8:20. My marathon goal is 8:00 miles. If everything goes my way I still feel this goal is attainable.

I know that around mile 21 the wheels will start to come off and I’ll bargain with my self just to survive. By walking early in the race and keeping up with my gym routine, I hope to be able to get past this point in the race and still have some juice to push hard for the finish.

My total miles last week were 38.08. The high point of my marathon training so far. This is a step back week and my miles should be around 32.

1,000 mile goal

As of Sunday’s Long Run, I am at 736.41 miles. With about 14 weeks to go, I only need to run about 19 miles per week to hit my goal. I have four more marathon training weeks, and of course the marathon itself will more than cover my miles for that week.

[email protected] project

I’m beginning to line up 5K races to run over the next 12 months. While Dave McGillivray runs a mile for each year of age on his birthday, my goal is to run 50 5Ks before I turn 51. Dave is Superman compared to me.

Run well my friends.


2013 in Review

2013 in Review

As 2013 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the past twelve months. At this time last year I wrote a post called “New Year’s Resolutions” and discussed setting goals before New Year’s Eve. It is easy to have big dreams and set high goals after a few beverages and while others are boasting of their impressive resolutions.

My main point was to seize the day and set realistic goals while you are in a rational state of mind. My focus was to encourage my readers to change their diets and increase their physical activity. The combination of the two is the best way to control your health and achieve your weight and fitness goals. Trying to achieve these goals with only one method requires too much work and often fails.

Here is a review of how this approach worked for me in 2013.

Continue reading “2013 in Review”

In Pursuit of Goals

The McMillan Running Calculator

A plan is essential to achieving a goal. Knowing where you want to go is not enough. You need to plan each step along the way. Without a plan there is no way to chart your progress or know what to do next. Your goal is point B, but each step along the way can motivate and reward you or give you a wake up call.

For runners there are many tools and programs to help with planing. A popular tool s the McMillan Running Calculator. If you have run at least one race, you can use this calculator.

To use this calculator you enter a recent race finish time and the goal time for your next race. The calculator can take a finish time from a one-mile run and make a calculation for a marathon finish.

Basically, you tell the calculator where you are currently and where you want to be. McMillan then calculates what pace and time you should be able to run several common distances if you want to achieve your goal.

Using what your current finish times and what your goal finish times should be, you can build your training plan.

In Pursuit of Goals

A goal must be well defined and achievable.I want to run a fast marathon” is not a clear goal.” ” I want to run a marathon as fast as Meb Keflezighi” is a goal 99% of us could never dream of achieving.

My goal is to run a 3:25 marathon in five months. Many runners my age can run that fast so I know it is achievable. Weather or not I can achieve that goal is something I will have to find out for my self.

But my goal is clear and achievable. That is step one.

Once you have established your goal, your Point B, you need to access where you are at currently, Point A. Is the goal beyond your current capabilities? Maybe way beyond your current capabilities? Do you have the resources, talent or drive to achieve your goal in the time frame you have established?

Step two is building your plan

The McMillan calculator will provide finish times you should currently be capable of based on the recent finish time you entered. Compare these times to other recent race finish times. Are you ahead or behind the calculated results? This is Point A.

The table below is based on a recent 1:45 half marathon. I put the McMillan numbers into a spreadsheet and plugged in my most recent finish times for those distances and you can see that I am way off on most of them.

My 1:45 half marathon finish indicates that I can finish a marathon at 3:40:59. That is 15 minutes slower than my goal, and there are many variables that could keep me from even achieving 3:40.

Across the board my numbers are off. My 5K is only off by 7 seconds per mile, but my 10K is off by almost a minute per mile! My half is spot-on since that was my benchmark time. I should be able to run a marathon at an 8:26 pace, but my current pace is 9:32 and my PR pace is 9:09!

Distance 800M 1 Mile 5K 10K 1/2 Mar Mar
Time 2:56 6:32 22:41 47:06 1:45:00 3:40:59
Pace/Mi 6:32 7:18 7:35 8:01 8:26
Recent Times 7:25 8:34 8:02 9:32
Distance 800M 1 Mile 5K 10K 1/2 Mar Mar
Time 2:43 6:03 21:02 43:42 1:37:25 3:25:00
Pace/Mi 6:03 6:46 7:02 7:26 7:49
Recent Times 7:25 8:34 8:02 9:32

When we look at the second part of the McMillan Calculator results,my goal times, the numbers look even worse! It’s a good thing that I have five months to meet this challenge!

The early goals in a plan should be striving to hit the finish times the calculator says you should be running currently. You may not want to run a test marathon, but you should build into your training plan several 5K, 10K and even one or two half marathons

You don’t want all of your training runs to be at race pace. When you do train at race pace check to see if you are hitting your current goal pace for that particular distance. As your training progresses you should start to hit your target pace at the different distances.

Races are the best way to test yourself. When you are running with friends, everyone may not want to or be able to run at your target pace. At a race everyone is running as hard as they can. Run some races, test yourself and have some fun!

As your training progresses you should be hitting or exceeding your target pace on a frequent basis.

To achieve Your Goal

My basic philosophy for achieving a goal is to:

  • Identify my goal and have a specific outcome and time frame
  • Assess my current position, condition etc. and be honest with myself
  • Map out a plan to get from point A to point B
  • Work the plan, be dedicated, but not rigid
  • After a set-back, re-adjust my plan and keep moving forward

Going from a PR marathon time of 4:00 to 3:25 is a very aggressive goal. I need to knock a minute and twenty seconds off of every mile for 26.2 miles. I’ve made some changes in how I think about racing over the past two years and it has made a difference. Now I need to change my approach to training. A goal like this requires greater focus and dedication.

I have my goal, I have my plan. Game on.

I don’t think that my approach is revolutionary. It’s pretty basic stuff that anyone can use to achieve their goals. No matter what your running goals are for this year, or the rest of your life, check out the McMillan web site. Punch in your latest finish time and then punch in your next race goal.

Run well my friends.

© 2013-2015 andrew nagelin