Monday, December 2, 2013

Winter/Spring 2014 Races

Photo above: 2013 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, 13th place

I really can't complain too much about the way 2013 racing went.  One thing I would say is perhaps I did not race enough(but I think I also needed to not race a lot this year).  I ran some PRs, and had some good placings.  I only did 9 races.  Although I had top 10 finishes at both of the half marathons I raced this year, I think Cherry Blossom was the highlight placing for me, finishing 13th overall in that race.  I just got invited to do that race again, and I will be aiming for top 10 this coming year.  In terms of race times, I PR'd in 1 mile, 5K, 10K, and 10 miles, but came up short in the half marathon.  I think the half marathon will happen with time, and there are certainly workouts I have done that indicate I am ready for a breakthrough in that distance.  In hindsight, I ran PRs this year, but haven't made any major breakthroughs.  And now I am looking to do so. 

But I need to get to work.

I need to increase my mileage.  Over 2011, 2012, and 2013, I have averaged 75-77 miles/week(upper end 100s/week, lower end 50s/week) for each entire year(roughly 4,000 miles/year), which I think has worked for me during these years, but in order for me to make the jump to the next level I need to average at least 90s/week now(and get a lot of 100+ mile weeks).  My workouts are good, I just need to add more volume.  One thing I really have going for me is that I am incredibly durable.  My body doesn't seem to get injured with increased mileage/intensity over the years, along with racing faster.  But I think that is also because I pay close attention to the little things like foam rolling, stretching, strength training, sleep, and nutrition which I will continue to do.

I am pleased to say I got accepted into the 2014 USA Half Marathon Championships, in Houston, TX.  The race is on January 19, 2014.  I don't want to put a lot of pressure on myself for a certain time, I just want to compete well and hopefully place well.  It's certainly awesome competing in a championship race, and it's inspiring to meet other people around the country who either are Olympians or elite runners who train very hard.  Nonetheless, I am training hard, and feeling pretty darn good.  I think it is a really good thing I didn't do a marathon this year, since that takes more recovery.  Last year it took me a while to get back into my training, and I was pretty beat up after the Philly Marathon in 2012(see one of my earlier posts from last year).  The week after the Richmond Half Marathon(where I placed 10th in 1:09), I was amazed how recovered I felt.  In fact, it felt great to just run mileage, which I certainly did hitting a 96 mile week after.  Last week I hit 86 miles, and decided to jump in the Bethesda Turkey Chase 10K, where I placed 2nd.  My goal was to tempo it at 5:05 pace, and I hit 5:07 on a pretty hilly course.  On Saturday, I did a long run with Capital Area Runners' Christopher Mills(a 29:00 10K guy), covering 2 hours and 10 minutes in much of Washington, DC.  This morning, I did some hill repeats, and will do another run this evening.

As for the rest of my 2014 schedule following Houston, it is still in the works.  But another thing I want to do is to get back on the track and really sharpen up on my
speed this spring.  I am looking to do a few indoor track races, perhaps at Virginia Tech in February.  I want to do a fast indoor 3,000m race.  I think I will really benefit from that leading into the spring season.  Then there is Cherry Blossom on April 6, followed by Pikes Peek 10K on April 27.  Pikes Peek is always a PR course, and I run well there, so it seems logical to do that, but I am also debating about a track 10K.  I am still looking into races.  Chris mentioned Bucknell as a great track meet, and it looks like a possibility, the only problem is that it is a week after Cherry Blossom.  Decisions, decisions.

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