Thursday, October 2, 2014

The October Five

Happy October! I have to admit that October is up there as a favorite month of the year for me. Between the great weather for outdoor stuff (especially football and cross country!), playoff baseball and pumpkin spice lattes (yeah right), October is a pretty cool deal. About the only bad thing about October is that at the end of it we will be close to turning back our clocks and seeing it get dark at 5 p.m.

Oh well, no month is perfect. Except for May. May is about as perfect as life can get.

Anyway, I started the month off right with a 3.7-mile run. I was hoping to maybe do a little bit faster stuff, like hill repeats or a few short intervals, but my legs were a bit tight -- despite hitting them with the massage stick -- and I didn't want to do anything rash.

I think that's one thing I've improved upon as I've gotten older, I've learned there is a time to push and a time to put it off for another day. In the past if my schedule said to do intervals, I did intervals, or if it said to do a tempo run, I did one, and sometimes that led to crappy efforts that weren't a lot of fun. At my age and current fitness level, that's just not very smart, either. When you are 45 years old, need to lose weight and your goal race is still seven months away, it's OK to be patient.

So I just ran, and by the end of the run was feeling really, really good. I think I might stretch myself out to 5-6 miles this weekend and see how that goes.

One thing I did do while on my run is think about goals. For the last couple of years, outside of training for the marathon last year, I just ran for fun. I didn't keep logs, ran an occasional 5K here and there, and just did things a little more recreational as opposed to a structured program.

Which was fine. If you scroll down and read some of my older posts, you'll understand why I needed to do that. In the past I was way too hard on myself and never enjoyed what I accomplished. I would do something great, like complete a marathon, but I'd still be unhappy because I regretted not doing things I could've done to have ran even better. That's just not the way to do it.

But now, with a lot of things in my life coming in order, and making positive changes on the things that aren't quite there yet, I feel like I have the time, energy and mindset to put forth the effort to do something more, whether that be upping my mileage, focusing a bit more on performance (in a healthier way than a used to) and trying to drop my times.

With that in mind, I decided that at the beginning of each month I'm going to set five goals I'd like to achieve. They don't all have to be running-related, although a majority of them will be, but running will be a key to being a success in the other things.

Back when I was a department supervisor and wrote reviews, I had to give my people goals, and I was told to make them specific and attainable. So, I'm doing that here as well. I think the most important element is the attainable part. I could set some massive goal (like lose 15 pounds) and while I could probably get there it would be at the expense of other things. That's not good.

Balance.

So here they are:

1) Run 12-15 miles per week. I got started towards this goal on Monday when I set up a log online. They key to improvement is mileage, and if I can start getting more consistent than adding mileage through the winter will be easier.

2) Run my 5K on Oct. 26 in under 31 minutes. This one is pretty attainable right now as I've been in that range in the three other races I've run this year. Still, it's a good stepping stone to eventually breaking 30 minutes by the end of the year, which is my goal.

3) Lose seven pounds. Yesterday I weighed in at 254 pounds, so needless to say there's a lot of work to be done. Still, if I don't eat more and run 50-60 miles during the month, I'll lose 3-4 pounds just from the calorie burn of running. So there's that, the rest is up to me! Actually I plan on doing cardio on many of my off running days, so hopefully I'll have surpassed this goal easily by Nov. 1.

4) Drink more water. I've gotta admit, I'm not a fan of the high-quality H20 (and if you get that reference you become a hero in my eyes!). I know I have to drink it, and I know it's good for me, but it's just so...bland! But I'll make it through.

5) Drink less soda. Confession here...I love the stuff. The problem is that it's not good for us and is partly responsible for my weight issues. I want to try and be down to one a day (if that) by the end of the month.

So there they are, goals, in writing. Here's hoping everyone has a great month!

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