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Goals revisited #2

16 May, 2010

There was a good discussion about goal-setting on the Marathon Talk podcast this week. As a frame of reference, one of the regular hosts was talking about his long-term aim of qualifying for the world ironman championships, a five-year project for him. I have to admit to being really impressed by such a long-term goal. How can any of us know where we’ll be with our training five years from now? Often, people talk about having an ‘A’ goal, ‘B’ goal and so on. But a five-year target is almost like a supra-goal. When we set goals, we’re talking about the belief we have in ourselves attaining a certain level of fitness or corresponding measure of performance in whichever field of endeavour the goal is located. The further into the future we try to envision that goal, clearly the harder it will be to make that goal realistic.

It’s often said that it takes upwards of ten years for a person to fully mature as a runner, but does this apply to someone who started running just before his twenty-ninth birthday? Presumably, some of the physiological changes that cause lifelong runners to slow down in their mid-thirties also occur in those who have spent less time running. But it also seems to be true that performance deteriorates much less quickly than it improves, and that part of this is about the recovery time required and therefore the intensity of training that can be accommodated. That said, for all the uncertainty about general trends, just as much exists about my own situation, my non-running life and how that all affects my running, what will happen and so on, and so forth.

I’ve decided against a fall marathon because I don’t think my training volume is high enough to accommodate this. I discussed increasing my volume with the coach at LGRR, and he said something very wise, which was just to maintain the level of effort for now. I’m hoping that this will naturally result in higher volume over the course of time. As a ‘supra-goal’, I’m aiming, in at least one distance, to reach the 80% WAVA age-graded rating (I’m at around 75% for my most recent races). For those of you who don’t know, this is the pace as a percentage of world-record for a given age group. The exact times will depend on the trajectory of my performances as I age. The key will be consistent training and the increased quality and quantity that will stem from that. I don’t expect to reach this goal this year, or even next year, but I do believe I have my fastest times still ahead of me.

In the short-term, I have two races coming up — the Longest Day 5k and the Scotiabank Half. Neither of them are ‘A’ races, but I’m hoping to get back to 12+ mile long runs, and I think I can PB in both of them. I aim to run sub 80 minutes in the Scotiabank event. In the fall, I will tackle either the half marathon or the 8-10k, perhaps both if the timing is right.

Friday: a brick workout, cycling to Stanley Park and back ~ 20km, running 9.5km.
Saturday: hiking up Lions as far as the snow permitted, with some downhill running on the way back. My quads are nice and trashed today, good ‘downhill innoculation’ for Spanish Banks during the upcoming half marathon. I may do a long run tomorrow rather than today, depending how well my legs have recovered by then, but I’m not concerned about the mileage this week.

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