Life Lessons

2021 Running year in review- what’s on the horizon for 2022?

In 2019 I started running again.  Small distances with the goal to just get moving for 30 minutes a day.  Truth be told, I didn’t even really keep track of my mileage anywhere.  Before I knew it I set my sights on running a half marathon.  Then I started paying more attention to my training schedule.  But honestly that first year I really had no idea how many miles I had run.  Turns out, because I went back and checked it was 578.5.

Here comes 2020 and I set a goal of 1000 miles for the year.  Totally makes sense, right?  I should be able to nearly double my mileage now that I’m a more regular runner with longer races planned.  Bam- welcome Covid in March of 2020.  I doubled down on my running to maintain my sanity.  With the boys home from school from March until August I had a lot more flexibility to when I could run.  Less time pressure meant more miles.  Quickly it became clear that I was going to blow past 1000 and then set a modified goal of 1300.  I finished up 2020 with 1310 miles.

So like any good runner when it came time to set a goal for 2021 I went big and said 1500 miles.  Why, on earth I would think that I could surpass my 2020 miles by nearly 200 I have no idea.  But that’s the goal I set and for the first half of the year I was on target to hit that goal.  Then you know life happened. I started a new job- YAY- but I was balancing working full time and momming and trying to have some fun because it was summer.  I hit a wall so to speak with my running as my dad became sicker.  It just lost its luster for a bit.  A few weeks of not feeling it meant lower mileage weeks.  I never stopped running all together, I just cut back considerably on my miles.  Cutting back on your miles when you set a lofty goal makes you reconsider your goal.  I started wondering why the number of miles was important.  Wasn’t the point to still get moving each day?  Post marathon it would have been really easy to pack it in for the year, but I knew I wanted to finish the year strong.  I did something I never do and I took an entire week off after NYC.  My body was tired both physically and emotionally.  I actually felt up to running by Wednesday following the marathon, but knew that I was just exhausted so I listened to my body and rested.  Then picked up right where I had left off, but with easy miles. 

If I’m being honest I’ve had a mental shift.  Not to say, running isn’t still important to me, but rather than focus on the quantity of the miles I want to go back to focusing on the quality of the miles.  Maybe that means running somewhere new- i.e. the Grand Canyon.  While it was only three miles, they were some of the most amazing miles I have ever run. 

As I’m finishing up 2021, I feel blessed that I ran (knock wood) without injury.  That’s not to say that I didn’t have some hip pain from time to time but nothing like in 2020.  I got back to racing in person and it felt so good!!! First up was the Baltimore 10 Miler. This race was practically in my back yard and I made a last minute decision to run it. It was HARD. It was humid and the course was crazy hilly- but I was back to racing in person so I didn’t care…until the next day when my quads were on fire!! Up next the Frederick Half Marathon. This was my first half in person in over 17 months. And one of the many races that I deferred from 2020 when racing was canceled. I had a solid showing and again was just so happy to be back to “real” races. My favorite of all races, The Charles Street 12 was in the Fall. I had a huge PR in that race and finally felt like myself again. That’s all before the NYC Marathon. For a year, when racing in person didn’t start until the summer, I would say that from a running standpoint 2021 was in fact a success.  Did I hit 1500 miles- heck no.  But I’ve truly realized the number of miles isn’t nearly as important as I had once thought.

So what’s next for 2022?  I’ll float a mileage goal in my head for a bit.  Maybe I’ll go back to the original goal of 1000 miles and see what happens.  But I think I’m going to set a consistency goal, rather than a mileage goal.  I would like to consistently run 4-5 days a week and cross train/strength train at minimum one day a week but more like 2 days a week.  If I can consistently cross train in addition to my running I know I will be in better shape come October and the Chicago Marathon!  I’m also going to build some rest in as well.  I’ve come to realize that rest is important too. Yes, I know this should have been a no brainer, but sometimes I’m a little dense.

As for races- I have about a half dozen in mind and it appears I’ve already registered for 4!! I’m registered for: the Frederick Half Marathon in May, Baltimore 10 Miler in June, the Chicago Marathon in October and the Rocky Run in Philadelphia in November. I’m also looking at a a half marathon in March- 5K in May as well as my favorite 12 Miler in September- Charles Street 12. Looks like 2022 is shaping up to be a full year with lots of opportunity! Cheers to a new year and a blank slate to create a new running journey and vision building off of a successful 2021!!