If my horse goals this year are marked by realism and backing away from the overly-high expectations of last year, my running and fitness goals are the opposite. I have no explanation or excuse beyond masochism. The further I run, the further I want to run. Yes, it's sick.
Mid-marathon last November, I was cursing myself out in every way I knew how. No fucking way was I doing this shit again. And less than 24 hours later, I was picking out my spring races. There's something about the pain distance running causes that makes the reward of finishing much more worthwhile. You hurt. You bled. You maybe hated it. But you made it worth something.
Coming into 2017, I have two marathons and three half marathons under my belt. Previously, I've taken a 30-week training plan approach to the marathons, but that limits what I can do every year. Armed with some advice from /r/ultramarathon and my new favorite podcast, Trail Runner Nation, I'm making some changes in 2017. Big ones.
Become a trail runner. This is TRN's fault. Their pictures and descriptions of places they run are infecting my life. If I ever see pavement again, it'll be too soon.
Actually pay attention to my heart rate. I want to use the MAF method (HR-180 and some other subtractions) to stay in an aerobic zone and slowly get faster. Also TRN's fault. There's an awesome podcast with Phil Maffetone about it.
Run a 50k in the spring. Because 26.2 miles is so 2016.
Run a marathon, 50k, or the Rocky Challenge in the fall. Because fuck it, I'll already be fit.
Work on changing my heel strike to a midfoot strike. This is going to involve working in some barefoot running to adjust my feel and switching shoes, and it's gonna be hard AF.
Transition into zero-drop shoes. This will help me with the midfoot strike thing. Zero drop removes the heel stack of the shoe, and that's the thing that gets in the way of landing correctly and absorbs the shock of a heel strike.
Volunteer at an ultra marathon. I always recommend volunteering to new endurance riders, so doing the same for ultras makes sense. I need to learn about the sport before I jump in deeper than a 50k.
Spend more time stretching. Any stretching at all would be good.
Do more core work and cross training. I neglect this when I get training, and I need to be lifting weights 3x a week and doing more than frown at the place abs should be when I look in the mirror.
Start hiking. Find nature. Walk in it. Or run. Whatever feels good.
TRN hat and kokopelli tattoos must mean I'll be a better runner, right?