Planning Out the Super Awesome Year of the 10K

Last year, I did the Super Awesome Year of the 5K. Even with an injury at the tail end, I’d still call it a success. I did all 12 races, even if I stopped making progress in April. If nothing else, I stayed active.

This year, I set different types of monthly goals for the year, but I also set a running goal: complete a 10K. And I did. I also ran an entire 5K for the first time preparing for the 10K.

All good, right?

Nope.

After the 10K, things slowly ebbed before going to hell altogether. In July, my body betrayed me, and I wasn’t able to get back in the swing of things for more than a month. After running a 10K in May, I was back to square one in August.

And it nagged at me.

I couldn’t figure out what went wrong. I think I might have finally figured it out after I worked a solution (without knowing the cause first).

You’ll recall (or probably not) that I set the goal of 5Ks last year to ensure I stayed active. I didn’t set time goals, just completion goals. I knew I just needed a penalty in place to ensure I kept putting feet to pavement. For the same reason, running a 10K this year wasn’t my goal because it could be completed at any time, so I opted for the Super Awesome Year of Me to ensure I was doing something all year. I try to stay on brand with my nomenclature.

For the coming year, I decided that 6 10Ks would be ample motivation. I decided against 12 because finding enough 5Ks without traveling all over was hard enough as it was (hint: turns out there aren’t many races in the South in the middle of the summer). And 10Ks require more recovery time, so the notion of back-to-back weekends of 10Ks seemed unnecessary. Every other month would give plenty of space and would still be looming enough that I (hopefully) can’t slack off after any individual race.

And that’s what was missing this year. Consistent goals.

If you want results, you need consistency. Fad and extreme diets don’t exhibit long-term results for a reason: You’re not going to continue the lifestyle, so you’re going to regress. I don’t diet. There have been a couple of diet-oriented months this year (vegetables, no refined grains) where I was just trying to start good habits, and they were miserable failures. They weren’t sustainable. I know this now. It’s why I never did Atkins, paleo, etc.

For some reason, I wasn’t appreciating this with my workouts. Setting the complete a 10K goal wasn’t forcing a sustained lifestyle change. The Year of the 5K did it, and the Year of the 10K will continue the progress.

And I do mean progress. A few years ago, 3 miles was terrifying. I had a comfortable 2.5-mile loop that I would have been happy to run all of and couldn’t. Not until after I did my first 5K anyway.

And then I thought 3.1 was my max. 10Ks were terrifying. I was still happy to complete 2-mile runs. And then the Super Awesome Year of the 5K came about, and all of a sudden 3-mile runs were the new normal. Occasionally, I would even cross 4 miles.

And then I went after a 10K. I crossed 5 miles for the first time a week before the race, and then I crossed 6 miles for the only time during the race.

As I was slogging my way through my run this morning, I kept thinking of the 6.2 miles that are coming up in January and how hard that is going to be. This was as I covered 4.1 miles. This time two years ago, I could barely cover a mile without my body revolting.

Progress.

But let’s get to that Super Awesome Year of the 10K. I’m hoping to run a race every other month to keep steady activity and no over-work myself. Because I’m a hyper-paranoid person, I’m not going to tell you what races or when (’cause you might steal my copy of The Hobbit while I’m gone), but I will say I’ve got three races tentatively selected already. I’m hoping to find a cool destination race or two, but I’ll keep you posted (after the fact, obviously).

But that’s all I have to say about that.

And now an update on foam rolling: I’ve rolled all 6 days so far. Not a bad goal to set.

But for real, that’s the point of this and a couple of other months. These are self-care months, which is all the rage these days. I’m hell on my body during workouts, especially when I’m running. My quads and calves get eaten alive, and foam rolling helps keep me functioning. It’ll be interesting to see how daily rolling affects me.

-Q

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