2010 has been a break out year for me regarding a new living healthy lifestyle. I set a PR in the 10K, ran my first sprint distance triathlon, completed a 5K pushing my daughter in a stroller, and completed an Adventure Race (like a triathlon but “off road”). This is the first time in my life that I trained for consecutive events in the same year without “falling off the wagon” and having to start over from scratch every time. This was all part of a greater goal of just being healthier and setting a good example for my daughter as she grows up.
Recently, I noticed my motivation levels dropping off due to not having a race on the schedule to train for. I realized that I needed to do something quick to avoid falling off the wagon again. The thought of setting a new goal of running a half-marathon and then marathon came to mind as well as longer distance triathlons. However, something didn’t feel right about attempting those distances yet.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to run faster before running longer. I don’t really see the point of suffering through a 4-5 hour marathon just to say that I finished. Peer pressure aside, it makes more sense to focus on the shorter distances of 5K and 10K until I’ve become a better runner and then move up in distance later. This is similar to the way many elite runners enter into the sport.
The next question I had was how fast is “fast”? I need a SMART goal.
In running, it seems that everyone who takes this sport seriously would ultimately like to qualify to run in the Boston Marathon (to “BQ”). Regardless of whether or not a BQ is in the cards for me, I fully appreciate the desire to want to BQ. It’s the only major American marathon that requires a qualifying time to be eligible in order to limit the field to only 25,000 entrants. Basically the bar is set so high that to BQ means something special. It would require a multi-year effort for anyone who wants to run that race. For example, in my age group I would need to run a sub 3:11 marathon or a 7:13/mile pace for 26.2 miles!
That would take me years to achieve, assuming I was even capable, so I came up with the concept of running a “Boston Qualifying 5K” as a specific, more achievable goal that I can work towards now. The idea is that I need to be able to run the 7:13 mile pace in a 5K before moving on to focus on a longer distance. A 7 minute pace is something that would be a challenge to maintain for 5K so it already meets my definition of “fast”.
Once I obtain the “BQ 5K” goal the next logical steps would be a BQ pace in the 10K, half-marathon, and ultimately marathon distances. Who knows, maybe I just don’t have the ability to BQ in the marathon distance, but at least I have a specific, achievable goal to work towards starting right now with a little hard work…. which is really the whole point of goal setting right?
This post was a little longer than expected just explaining my rational for the BQ 5K. I’ll use the next post to discuss the details of a BQ and write down some hard numbers and timeframes. I feel more motivated already!