I recently read a good article by Gerry Duffy on the importance of setting goals and targets for things you want to achieve. Writing down goals serves a number of purposes - we don't forget them come the end of the year, and it holds us accountable as they're there in black and white for all to see.
At work we're constantly asked to make goals S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable Achievable Relevant, Timely), so I've taken a similar approach with my goals for the year. Last year was my first real year of proper running & cycling - dipping the toe in the water so to speak. This year will be all about improvement.
1. Complete a minimum of 3 sprint distance triathlons. Time to pop the triathlon cherry! After last summers injury fiasco this year will be my first proper attempt at triathlon. I'd like to finish in top 33% of my AG in at least 1 of these.
2. Run a sub 3:40 marathon. That will be an improvement of over 13 minutes from my current PB from last years Dublin marathon. It probably only going to be possible to do 1 marathon this year and it will likely be one of either Chicago (if I can convince my bro to run it) or Dublin - both towards the end of the year in October.
3. Swim a 16 minute 750m TT. That's approx. 2:08 per 100m pace. Considering that at the moment I'm just about at 'not quite drowning' level this is going to be a BIG ask, but its a key component towards hitting goal 1 above. Its probably unlikely that I'll be quite at that level by triathlon time in the summer, but hopefully by the end of the year. The plan will be to continue with weekly coached club sessions and try to get in another 1-2 swims each week.
4. Run a sub 44 min 10k. Current PB is 47:27 so a three and a half minute improvement needed. This will be a focus for the first few months of the year and will be a big help for the triathlons in the summer. Plus it will help when the marathon build starts later in the year. Tuesday night club speedwork run sessions will be the key session to achieving this target.
5. Run a sub 1:40 half marathon. Again this is a goal in its own right but will help towards the target marathon time in goal 2. Will probably go for 2 half marathons during spring/summer. Will be aiming to get minimum of 40k running (combination of easy & tempo runs) in each week during the first 3-4 months of the year. Since time is always the enemy, squeezing in some high quality lunchtime tempo runs will key, and might also consider running some of the commute to work if feasible.
6. Complete 2 x 120km+ cycle sportives. Really need to start putting some miles in on the bike again and getting back out on the WTC Saturday club spins ... need to be making 3 club spins each month ideally. Probably looking at the Wicklow 200 & Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford during the summer as potential events.
In addition theres a few additional things I need to do to support hitting these goals.
- Keep on track with nutrition - this means continuing with the paleo & fat adaptation approach that I started on last year. Aim will be to keep daily carb intake to <100g of (countable) carbs - with the exception of hard training days. Also need to continue to read an learn more about nutrition and commit to enrolling in a nutrition/dietetics course.
- Keep blood sugars under control & minimize risk of hypos during races. Goals will be to maintain my HBA1C under 6.3 and have NO hypo in any race or event (its unavoidable that there will be some low blood sugars during training - all part of the learning process to ensure it doesn't happen on race day!)
- Maintain a training log to keep track of what I'm doing (or not doing as the case may be). I'll try and put some progress up here every couple of weeks too to keep me honest.
Now that I've written it all down it seems like a lot! And I have to fit it all in alongside family life (oh and starting a new job too!). Looks like a busy year ahead ....