New Year's in July

My running group fires up this week with our first "getting to know you" run on Tuesday, July 1st. That means it's time to get serious about marathon training which involves a whole series of "goals and resolutions" that musn't, under any circumstances, be broken, the exception being if I am really, really, craving chocolate. =)

I'm running the Richmond, VA marathon in November. My goal is to run under a 4-hour marathon. I don't care if my time is 3:59:59, I just want a "3" to kick off the number. To obtain that goal, I've rejoined my running group which means group runs on Tues/Thurs/Sundays. I'll also throw in a trail run with friends on Wednesdays and--if I have the stamina for it--another run on Saturday.

I'm determined to follow Hal Higdon's Intermediate II Marathon Training Program ( which requires a Saturday Tempo run that's half the distance of my Sunday long run. The Tempo run is to help me increase my speed, which is sadly lacking. I'm a little concerned about the time commitment involved here. Running aside, that's a lot of drive time and I'm pretty much spent after most Sunday long runs. But I'm going to hold that "3" in my mind...

Another resolution is to eat healthier. I don't do a bad job now but I'm going to work on my snacking. Right now I'm prone to pick up some form of bread, cracker, cereal for a snack, and I want to replace that with reaching for fruits and vegetables instead.

I also want to lose 10-15 lbs. Five pounds is a no-brainer, 10 lbs is do-able, and 15 is a bit of a fantasy but it's early enough in the process that I dare to dream. Make no mistake--I don't think I can lose 15 lbs and keep it off. But I think the rule is you run 1 minute faster per marathon for every pound shed. Losing that excess weight is a huge help for a race.

I've also started ab work. Bleah!!! I'd rather run a mile than do a sit-up. But my lower back aches every step after 15 miles and that's due to lack of core strength.

And then of course, I want to keep up with my yoga for flexibility. Realistically, I'll only be able to go 2x/week. But that and stretching ought to keep me limber enough.

Whew! It sounds like a lot and it is, but I'm excited. I so want to nail that marathon time this year. And that will require training at a faster pace than I did last year, with more discipline on diet and core training.

But this weekend I'm doing what every dieter shouldn't. I'm throwing myself a "To hell with it, I'm eating whatever I want" weekend. And I have a package of chocolate-chip cookie dough in my cupboard to prove it.