2011 is now well under way and I think the usual window of people declaring their well intentioned, but never actually achieved, new year's resolutions has passed so I'm going to post my running specific goals now.

The problem with most people's new year's resolutions is they're often unrealistic, not thoroughly thought out and never include details of how they're going to achieve their goals. I've done this in the past, but that's changing this year as I've actually thought about it and put the plan into action already.

I don't have many running goals for this year, but the ones I do have, I've broken up into two categories: hard goals and soft goals. Hard goals are those I'm actively training for. The ones I really want to achieve. The soft goals are the "nice to haves" and in theory if I achieve the hard goals, I'm likely to hit the soft goals without much more effort.

The Hard Goals

  • Run a sub-19 minute 5km, barefoot, by the end of the first week of April
  • Run a sub-18 minute 5km, barefoot, by the end of the year
  • NOT to race any distance higher than 10 miles

These are pretty ambitious goals, but certainly not unrealistic. My current PB (ignoring my PBs from years ago) for 5k is 19:41 and that was clocked last year in what I'd say was a far from optimal fitness level. Knocking 41 seconds off in 3 months shouldn't be too hard if I train sensibly - it's about quality, not quantity. Once I've got below 19 minutes, 8 months to knock off another minute, whilst tough, should be possible. Of course, if I fly through the 18 minute mark, I will re-assess my goals.

The Soft Goals

  • Run a sub-40 minute 10km by the end of the year
  • Lose at least 5kg in body fat (My current mass is 84kg)

This year is all about the 5km distance for me. Most runners I know dismiss the 5km as just fun-run stuff, and whilst I agree it is commonly associated with fun runs, it is also a distance that is all about speed, without being track-based. Speed is not something you'll have forever and is probably one of the hardest things in running to get back once you've lost it. It's also the one thing every runner wishes they had more of. Concentrating on the 5k distance will hone my speed which will then transfer into much quicker 10k (and longer) races later on. Concentrating on 5k will also allow me to improve my form at speed and allow me to "master" the distance.

I'm not entirely neglecting longer distances, I'm just not concentrating on them and will be allowing my 5k training to carry me through and improve my 10k times. I'm not running any further than 10 miles / 16km as I think this takes me too far away from concentrating on the 5km distance. I also don't want to be bitten by the long-and-slow bug just yet.

So How Am I Going To Do It?

I'm taking a full-body "quality not quantity" approach with emphasis on running and core strength. My training program is broken down as follows:

  • Monday: Run + core exercises
  • Tuesday: Alternate non-impact cardio - primarily swimming, but rowing and cycling may be thrown in too
  • Wednesday: Run + core exercises
  • Thursday: Full body weights session + core exercises
  • Friday: Run + core exercises
  • Saturday & Sunday: Rest, though I may throw in a recovery run here and there if I feel the need or I'm in the mood

All runs will have a purpose. No idle running for the sake of clocking up miles. I've deliberately NOT specified what running training I'll do on each day as this WILL change as my programme changes and as my mood changes and how I feel.

Where possible/plausible/desirable, all runs will be barefoot. The only times I anticipate I won't run barefoot is for long recovery runs - recovery means all of me must recover, including the soles of my feet if they're feeling a little tender - off-road runs, run in sub-zero temperatures and races on unknown routes or obviously rough terrain.

I've been following this programme more or less to the word for about 5 weeks in total now: 2 weeks in December before the Crimbo hols and 3 weeks in January (I'm part way through the 3rd week now) and it's definitely well within my capabilities.

If I stick to it, am sensible and listen to my body, I think I should be able to attain all of my hard goals. I'll certainly let you all know if I do or don't. Who knows, maybe I'll get to see the south-side of a 17 minute 5k before the year's out.

I've also added the hard goals to my Goals page so I can tick them off and will be constantly reminded of them.