Looking ahead and staying focused

running, 2011It's been an awesome first half of the year – in addition to getting back on my feet for the best consistency in a long time, I've set a PR in a 10k, done a trail 10k, had an awesome 5k, took part in another Relay for Life and ran a total of 412.3 miles, which includes 89 this month. I've also done more core work than ever, which has definitely helped get my running back on track. That's my half year recap. I don't have anything else I want to say. Instead, it's time to focus on July and beyond.

In just a couple of days I will be hitting double digits in a training run for the first time in 259 days. Not that I'm counting.

With being faster lately, and coming off a great 8 miles this past weekend, I fully intend to run this in a 9-minute mile (or slightly less) pace. I'll be at my in-law's house in Ohio, which will be very flat. As long as I don't pass out from boredom, I should be able to get this done.

Two days later I have a 5k, and as long as I recover from the 10-miler OK, I fully intend to hit it hard. Two weeks later in a 5-mile race I am hoping to beat last year's time.

With my marathon training, I've actually become a little more detailed in my non-plan planning and written down long-run goals for each week, as well as more specific mileage for each week. I will stay flexible as usual, but by the end of July I want to be at 16 miles for a long run with weekly mileage that week at 34 miles.

As I look beyond the immediate month, I really want to get to a 40-mile week for the first time ever. It's going to take more focus than ever, but I have tentatively slated 40 (or more) mile weeks for the end of August and twice in September. I have the highest mileage plan that I ever have. And every day is seems my non-plan plan is becoming more concrete.

While it makes me a bit anxious, I feel like I have to put these things down to keep my focus now. If I do this right, it won't seem like a big deal when it gets here.

This year I made my goal to finish 2011 stronger than I begin it. I've set the bar surprisingly high for myself in the first six months of the year, but I'm determined to make the second half even better. More PRs, stronger runs, more miles -- smarter, stronger, faster.