Off to a good start

The first week of 2017 is in the books. I was able to stick to my exercise plan in spite of some cold, wintry weather. I began the year with a 8-mile (about 12 km) cross-country ski excursion on New Year’s Day. It only takes me five minutes on foot to access the off-road trail that travels across New Brunswick. The trail is used by snowmobilers in the winter and ATVs in the other months. It is a great place to bike, run and walk in the summer and a perfect place for cross-country skiing in the winter.

After a longer than expected journey on Sunday, I had sore muscles (especially my upper body – the ones that don’t get a workout from running) and I really wanted to skip training on Monday, but decided that this would not be a good start to the new year. I managed a mere 2.3 miles in 35 minutes. I used Tuesday as a rest day to recover from  skiing. I went to bed early thinking about running. On Wednesday I got up at six and did a 3-mile session (36:31) before breakfast. The next day I did an early morning yoga workout and then shovelled snow for two hours. Yesterday, I did another 3-mile run (35:41), followed by 30 minutes of stretching. I ended the week with an easy  6-mile trek on the trails this afternoon.

Three Simple Running Goals for 2017

This past year running took a backseat to work and life in general. Some days I was focused and motivated to exercise, but other days I found a million excuses not to workout. Luckily, my jobs involved a lot of physical labour and my weight remained constant in spite of not following a regular exercise program. I completely ignored this blog and rarely tracked my running distance or progress. I didn’t sign up for any events which also contributed to my limited interest in running.

This year I am taking a new approach to training and exercise. I would like to enjoy running while incorporating some specific goals for 2017. My first goal is to run a distance of 5 miles (8km) without walking breaks. Now, I am able to run 5K. However, after a year of limited training I am extremely slow. I am like a snail, so time goals at this point would lead me down the path to complete failure. This must be avoided! Thus, I am going to concentrate on building up endurance and when I can cover 5 miles I might consider incorporating some speed-training.

My second goal is to enter two 10K races this year. At this point, I have no idea when or where – to be decided in the near future.

My third goal is to actively track my progress via this blog. My intention is to post my running data and thoughts at least twice a month. I did my last run of 2016 this morning – a slow, comfortable  3 miles in 36:31 – this will be my starting point for 2017.

These three simple running goals are intended to help me stay motivated and focused on running. In order to achieve these goals I have to be extremely dedicated, unwavering and prepared to make running play an important part of my life by setting aside enough time for consistent and quality training in 2017.

Trail Run (4 miles)

Once a week I drive to a trail for a 4-mile run. It is a relatively flat surface, so it is a nice change from the hilly, rough gravel road that I train on most days. I start at the old train bridge that is part of the NB Trail network in Renous. RQ2 Then, I look down the Renous River to the Quarryville Bridge crossing the Southwest Miramichi River from Quarryville to White Rapids. RQ3I wonder if I will be able to make it down to the bridge and back without collapsing. The actual distance between the two bridges, according to my Garmin, is a little more than a mile.RQ11

RQ10The first mile is always the most difficult for me and if I can make it to the bridge without stopping I am motivated to run under the bridge and eventually make my way to the next section of the trail. RQ5RQ6From there I keep waddling on until my Garmin alarm rings to let me know that I have hit the halfway point and I eagerly turn around and head back to Renous. The second half is tougher than the first, but I have to continue in order to get back to my vehicle. I walk for a few seconds, take a few photos, and force myself to restart. RQ8RQ7This scenario repeats itself two or three more times. I trudge on listening patiently for my Garmin to single the end of my run. (Some days the annoying bell-sound  is the most wonderful sound in the world.)RQ9RQ4Finally, I walk for roughly five minutes to cool down and do some stretching before slowly climbing the steps to the church parking lot.  RQ12My legs ache and I silently imagine, that somewhere in the near future, I will have the energy and strength to run up these steps.