Focus and goals are intertwined with each other in a very logical way. You can change your goals which will obviously change how you focus on things, and you can adjust how you focus on something which could potentially change your goals.

2015 was my first full year of running. I have never been a runner or really participated in organized sports with the exception of a couple years in grade school.

When I look back at the year, I realize that this year was not about making my goals in terms of speed, but it was about finding out what races I enjoy the most and what I should focus on in terms of running techniques, nutrition and future goals.

I discovered the many important things about myself and my body: what I should eat/not eat, what distances I want to focus on in 2016 and how prioritizing my life affects training schedules.

So, let’s start with the my race stats.

Number of races:
Full Marathons: 2
25K: 1
Half Marathons: 8
10K: 3
5 Miles: 1
5K: 3

valenticsantaLooking back at it, I realize that the quantity of races I completed this year actually helped me in setting my future goals.

Would I want to run another marathon? Should I eat a philly cheesesteak or hibachi the night before a race? Did eating that extra cinnamon roll the morning before my marathon affect my race time? What fuel (and music) keeps me going that extra couple miles? What about those damn treadmills?

I had to come to a decision pretty quickly because I’m already in training for the Athens Ohio Marathon in April 2016.

Aside from nutrition, I think a combination of your favorite music with the treadmill running (in short distances) is actually a good thing. Using jog.fm, I have been able to make playlists that are in line with my pacing goals. All I’ve had to do is hop on the treadmill, press play and set the treadmill to a specific pace and go. There’s no checking my watch to see if I’m going to slow or too fast, and the music helps me with counts and tempo runs. Just set it and forget about everything else.

In terms of nutrition, it was more of a trial-and-error situation to see what I could eat before the race and what should be a reward after I’ve finished.

I set two major goals in 2015: 1. Run a full marathon 2. Run a half marathon in under 2 hours. I accomplished one, and I am almost under two hours for the half.

My PRs (Personal Records):

5K: 24:32
10K: 55:54
Half: 2:02
Full Marathon: 5:24

Now onto 2016.

Goal #1: Run a full marathon in 4:30
Goal #2: Run a half marathon in less than two hours
Goal #3 (If goals 1 and 2 are completed): Participate in a 50K

With a regular training schedule (which I did not have in 2015), I will be more able to focus my efforts on the full 26.2 miles. I realize PRing by almost an hour is highly ambitious, but I’m confident that if all plans go accordingly, I can reach that goal.

Most importantly, I couldn’t thank the Northeast Running Club enough for providing a wealth of knowledge from both seasoned and new runners to keep me on track because otherwise I would still be sitting on the couch at home. I credit them for my success in 2015, and I know if I remain involved in the group, I can reach new heights in 2016.

And finally, look for upcoming posts about my following Must-Run Races in 2016:
Athens, Ohio Marathon: April 10, 2016
Hatfield McCoy Marathon: June 11, 2016

So, now I ask, what are your goals for 2016?

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