During this week, I'd like to take some time to reflect on my previous season... what worked, what didn't, what I enjoyed, what I struggled with, my confidence boosters, my weak areas, etc. I'm hoping to get genuine criticism from others as well (feel free to comment and chime in!), and at the end of the week, I'll put it all together and see what changes we may want to incorporate into next year's plan.
- Turnover - I feel very underdeveloped in terms of my turnover. Even when I am fresh and doing strides or speed work during the week, I struggle with moving my legs quickly enough for a strong "kick". This is something I'd like to improve for the coming year.
- Goal: Do not get passed in the last 200m of 2011-2012 races.
- Means of achieving it: EVERY workout will be finished with sprints. Not strides, but full blown sprints.
- Aggression - Watching videos from this year's races (Washington Indoor, Texas Relays, USATF Championships), I found that my first move in EVERY race was to cut to the inside and tuck in. Of course, these were competitive races and I should not be leading any of them, but I never went out with a lead pack, or even a group just faster than me. Conservative is the best word to describe my racing, and that only leads to regrets... not personal bests.
- Goal: Go out with the ladies slated to beat me in 2011-2012 races and hang on as long as I can.
- Means of achieving it: Practice starting workouts hard (slight state of oxygen debt) to get accustomed to recovering and settling into race pace without stopping.
- Form - In almost every picture or video I have seen of myself racing, I am heel-striking and have poor knee lift. This makes my stride look weak and relaxed, not intense or as though I am truly racing or working hard.
- Goal: Improve natural foot strike, knee lift, and stride in general.
- Means of achieving it: Weekly hill sprints. I have gotten more confidence and felt more changes as a result of these than any other changes I made this year.
- Muscle Size - I am the runt. On the line with competitive women, I look so puny and weak. There is no bulk to my muscles at all.
- Goal: Increase the size of leg muscles by 1" before the 2012 season closes.
- Means of achieving it: Research a proven strength plan and nutritional guidance. Commit to it for the full year.
- Short Rest Time - Many of my workouts this spring had 60+ seconds of rest between each rep. This is important because it allows for greater intensity and more speed work, but I have found that I struggle in races when I can't take a "quick" break to shake out my arms and legs and catch my breath. I became accustomed to the mental and physical recovery when things started to hurt.
- Goal: Negative splits in 2011-2012 races. This will require the physical and mental toughness to press on when it gets too uncomfortable.
- Means to achieve it: Incorporate more workouts with little-to none rest. This includes tempo runs and fartleks or intervals with short rest periods.
- Less Track Work - Looking over my training logs, the only times I experienced injuries this year were after multiple long track workouts and races. Additionally, my best races came in the fall during cross, at which point all of my workouts were effort based and off the track.
- Goal: No side-lining injuries and confidence in effort based workouts (without the need for splits or comparing times from week to week).
- Means of achieving it: More fartleks, hill workouts, and road/trail based training.
Mileage - I love it. I love long runs, I love doing shake out runs, and I love having the option to go out for an un-timed, un-measured jog when I feel like it.
Variance - I love it. I love short, more intense runs followed by long steady runs followed by speed intervals, etc. I don't want a cookie-cutter repetitive training plan.
Racing - The more I race, the less I train. I would prefer to have fewer races and space them out more so that I can build up several weeks of consistent training in between each one.