Inside My Flailing Post-Goal Brain

Last night, I was syncing a workout to my computer and decided to check in on my yearly running mileage. Last time I looked, it had been in the mid-600s, so I was expecting maybe just over 700. Turns out, it was 756 — 760 if you count the one 4-miler I did in September that for some reason got labeled with a date in 2014.

I know that’s still … paltry, in the scheme of people who run. But 750 was also my goal for the year, one of the ones I’d pretty much written off making after getting injured in January and taking off all of May. Another one of the written-off goals? A sub-2-hour half-marathon. Ahem.

Meeting goals is awesome! It’s fun! Aaaand it’s really confusing, because I flop around uselessly without a goal, and I don’t have a new one yet.

My plan when I started doing Run Less, Run Faster was to train through the Kaiser Half (the first weekend of February), no matter what happened at Walnut Creek. But I also didn’t think that I was going to break 2 hours at Walnut Creek. I thought I’d run a 2:02 or 2:03 and be so close and so annoyed that I’d have no thoughts about doing anything but running hard for the next six weeks.

So now what do I do? Keep training for Kaiser, with my heart maybe less than 100% in it? Consider my goals met and stop thinking about running? This is one of the times I could really use a coach, but I don’t have a coach. Internet, be my coach?

On the one hand:

  • I intended to train through February, and I like keeping plans.
  • I wouldn’t mind a) proving that sub-2 #1 wasn’t a fluke and/or b) running sub-2 at sub-9 pace, which seems not out of the question on a course I think is a bit easier.
  • Kaiser starts practically in my backyard. Home-court advantage!
  • It’s only a few more weeks! I’ve worked to get this speed (back?) (at all?) and I don’t want to lose it before running necessarily falls into a smaller spot in my schedule during tri training.
  • I have never had a 20-miles-per-week base for this long (going back to July, I think? with peaks above that, but only a couple of weeks below) and I’m scared of having to start over … again.

And on the other hand:

  • I’ve been avoiding routes I’d like to run in my new neighborhood because I know they aren’t conducive to keeping my Run Less, Run Faster paces.
  • I have shoes to break in — I’m trying to switch to the new Adrenalines from the Ravennas I’ve been running in since Berlin — and that’s been challenging when I’m chasing a goal on every run.
  • I know my body could use a break that I didn’t really give it this fall. Given how quickly I threw speedwork in my routine, I shouldn’t be surprised that all the little parts of me that like to protest have gotten a bit grumbly.
  • I don’t want to do speedwork in the snow over Christmas, and I sure as hell don’t want to do it on a treadmill.
  • I need to ride my bike and swim more.

The one thing I know I don’t want to do is run Kaiser just for the hell of running Kaiser. Walnut Creek gave me the taste of capital-R Racing that I’ve been craving, and I don’t think I want to go back. If I don’t want to train hard, I also don’t need to be paying money just to run my regular route with a few thousand strangers. (I still have nothing against not-racing a race, but I would prefer to do it with some other goal in mind — trying out a particular pace, or running with a friend, or getting in a supported long run while training for something else, or enjoying the scenery somewhere new and fun. I wouldn’t have any of those for Kaiser.)

I was so close to bagging running until 2013, especially after seeing I was at my mileage goal, but I’m not ready to commit to that either. I’m about to go to Dallas for work, and I specifically booked a hotel near a running trail because running is my favorite way to see a place. And then we’ll be in Michigan over Christmas, and it’s my yearly chance to drag out all my winter running stuff, and I love it (…because it’s only once a year). Aaaand then there’s the 10-miler I’d been eyeing for January, the one I didn’t get to do last year, and I’d love to finally race that distance, and if I’m training for that, it’s only two more weeks till Kaiser, and and and and yes, this is what it’s like in my brain when I’m trying to make essentially inconsequential decisions.

Right now I’m leaning toward the middle road — run whatever I feel like a couple of times a week, do either track or tempo but not both, and do the 10-miler but not Kaiser. The middle road is also the easy road; 10 miles is a new race distance for me, so while I might have a time goal, I wouldn’t be eyeing it with the same fervor that I had for the half. It feels like a cop-out. But copping out isn’t always wrong … right?

Ugh, I don’t know. Is anyone else this indecisive and equivocating when goal-less?

3 thoughts on “Inside My Flailing Post-Goal Brain

  1. Jen says:

    I agree with the middle of the road/compromise solution. Do a few things that you’ve been doing regularly, while mixing in some of the others that you’ve been wanting to do but have put off due to your sub-2 goal. I think that variety/adding new things will assuage the desire for rest and invigorate you… and possibly even help you come up with a new goal.

  2. Kristina says:

    I think it can be hard to hit a goal and then not immediately think “what’s next?”. I haven’t run a 10 miler race since the 90’s, and it is such a fun distance! (Just in case you wanted some input about a 10 miler…)

  3. katie says:

    sounds like normal post-race flailing, it always happens to me. except after IM. so maybe THAT is what’s next. 😉

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