It’s been a busy several days. My training is underway for the 2017 season; mostly short runs at this point that will build in intensity and distance over the course of the Winter and Spring. I’ve also switched to another technology for building training plans and tracking performance, courtesy of the nice people at Under Armour. I’ve made a plan for the races in which I plan to participate next year. And there was a nice party to kickoff the 2018 CUCB race.
First, training. As I think I’ve mentioned, 2017 was, in some respects, a tough year for my running. While I did shave four minutes off my time for the CUCB race in the Spring, and ran my first half marathon, the balance of my races didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped. There are a number of reasons for that, but one of the primary challenges was trying to maintain a consistent training plan through the year. My wife and I sold the home we’d lived in for decades and moved to a new house. We actually closed on the sale of both homes the same day. Anyone who’s been through the process knows that it can be both nerve wracking and time consuming. In my case, training tended to be the thing that got cut when time grew short. My performance paid the price, so one of my primary goals for this year is to be much more consistent about maintaining a well thought out training schedule.
To that end, as in year’s past, I’ll be participating in Potomac River Running’s training programs — specifically at their Reston store. The company offers several programs, with details here. There are a couple of programs dedicated to Cherry Blossom participants — the standard program focuses on training, while the premium program also includes guaranteed entry into the race. It’s a great way to get ready, and bypass the lottery. Both programs include trained, and highly supportive, coaches, along with some swag. (They also have programs for shorter distances, as well as custom programs for advanced runners.)
In addition to the formal program, as a nerd, I’m continuing to take full advantage of technology in my training. I’ve switched to Under Armor’s MapMyRun program to plan and track my training. I like the way the program allows for flexibility and customization in creating training plans, and it promises to adapt as my skills (hopefully) improve over the course of my training. I also enjoy all the data these programs capture — I’m fully instrumented, so I can look at heart rate, pace, stride rate and other technical metrics, along with maps of the routes I’ve run and even playlists. There’s a social aspect as well, since you can add friends who also use the program and track one another’s progress. It’s useful, and somewhat inspirational to look back from time to time to see how I’ve improved (and where and why I’ve gone astray). Once the Potomac River training program starts, I’ll synthesize the two efforts.
The CUCB isn’t the only race I’ll run this next year. The plan is subject to change, but right now I’m looking at a New Year’s Day race, either in Ashburn or Reston. Seems like the right way to get the year started. My first long distance race will be the Reston Ten Mile, in March. It’s about a month before the CUCB event, so a good chance to check out where I’m at and still have time to adjust training if I’m not where I need to be. From there, a bit of a break until July, with plans to run in the Firecracker 5K. I’ve run it once before (Reston has quite a few more hills than you’d think), although I missed last year because of an injury. As a USCG veteran, it’s a chance to represent and enjoy the festivities. I’d really like to run the Leesburg 20K again this year — although there’s a potential work travel conflict, so we’ll have to see how that shapes up. Later in the year, I’m looking at another ten mile, the Perfect Ten, also in Reston. I’m hoping to run the Shenandoah Half again, and improve my time. And, like this year, I’ll wrap up the season with the Parks 10K.
To wrap up a rather long post, my thanks to the volunteers and sponsors who coordinated the CUCB Fall Kick Off party at the National Building museum. It was a delightful evening in a beautiful facility, and everyone seemed to have a good time. I’ve posted some images to my Instagram feed, and my fellow social media ambassadors have also posted their take on the event.