Years ago, back in the days when I had an active gym membership, I used to despise January. It was during this month that my otherwise sleepy 24 Hour Fitness became a madhouse. The New Year would bring in an abundance of guilty souls who were desperate to keep up with their exercise-based resolutions.
As a result there were fewer spaces in the parking lot, more sweat on the weight benches, and lines to get on the treadmills. It was horrible. However, by February the rush to stay in shape would die down, replaced, I presume, with the realization that it takes more than the changing of the calendar to inspire a true commitment to fitness. (I write this knowing my life hasn’t exactly been a monument to healthy living.)
I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions and Januaries in the gym always reminded me of this fact. I couldn’t tell you exactly where my distaste for publicized declarations of personal betterment came from, but at some point in my life I decided that when the first day of a new year arrived, I would simply set a few goals and try to be a little bit better than the year before rather than getting sucked into the resolutions game.
So what are my goals for 2017, you ask?
Most years, I start slow. I give myself the holidays to slack off, eat and drink too much, and basically be a lazy person. I did not allow myself that luxury this past holiday season. Inspired by my poor performance in a November half, I decided to keep running hard throughout December. I’m planning to keep up this pace so my spring half marathon training gets off to a stronger start. I can then ride that wave of running devotion through to the end of the year.
Run More Trails
As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, I’m blessed to have access to lots of beautiful tree-lined trails. Unfortunately, I haven’t fully taken advantage of my locale. Well, that stops in 2017… mostly because I just bought a pair of trail running shoes. And since I’ve spent my hard-earned money on a pair of Brooks Cascadia 10s, I’m going to need to run in the dirt more often. I look forward to dodging tree roots and worrying about wild animals being in the vicinity.
Run More Races
In 2016 I ran my usual spring and fall half marathons but didn’t participate in as many smaller races. There were plenty of good reasons for this, including my distance from Seattle (where way more races take place), a toe injury, and a minor surgical procedure. This year I’m going to attempt to run a race each month starting in February and am already signed up to run half of a half marathon around Valentine’s Day. I’m not putting a strict number on how many races I run in 2017, but I can’t possibly do worse than last year. I’m even entertaining three half marathons this year instead of the usual two, though I haven’t told my feet this yet.
Run a Damn Half Marathon Under Two Hours
Going into 2016, I’d run five halfs, clocking in a faster time with each successive race. That ended last May when I crapped the bed (figuratively speaking) at the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon and was equally horrible at the Golden Gate Half in November. I’m determined to have a better 2017 and, at the very least, break two hours again, at least once. I’m cautiously optimistic about my chances. I’m also assuming that following through on the previous three goals will go a long way in getting me there.
I suppose you could argue that laying out a set of goals for the year is really no different than laying out a set of earnest resolutions in late December, in which case you might view me as a bit of a hypocrite. I’m fine with that… as long as I’m a hypocrite who spends 2017 running trails and breaking two hours in half marathons.