I like personal goals. I like targets. And, most importantly, I like them being public.
Last year I had a goal of running a total of 500 kilometers in the ten and a half months before I turned 40 in mid-November. On November 15, I crushed it.
For 2016 I didn’t want to have the same goal. I wanted something a little more ambitious, but still achievable. This year’s goal?
Finish in the top three in my age group in an 8 or 10 kilometer race.
Does that sound too ambitious? It probably does, but let me explain why it actually isn’t.
Last year I ran in three races: the Modo Spring Run-Off 8k, the Vancouver Sun Run 10k, and the BMO Vancouver Marathon 8k. I’m 40, so I’m in the Mens 40-44 age group. Here are the top three times for those races, along with their 1k pace:
modo 8k: 28:53 (3:36), 29:08 (3:38), 29:50 (3:44)
Sun Run 10k: 31:39 (3:10), 31:50 (3:11), 32:38 (3:16)
BMO 8k: 38:07 (4:46), 38:33 (4:49), 38:49 (4:51)
I haven’t run an 8k or 10k race in under a 5:00/km pace yet. I came close at last year’s BMO 8k (41:14 chip time, 5:09 pace), but close isn’t good enough.
But since then I’ve been running. My fastest pace has been 4:36, albeit over only 5k, but that run was flat and felt really good. I could have gone farther but needed to get home. And that pace would have crushed the M40-44 category in the BMO 8k with a chip time of about 36:48, over a minute faster than the top finisher. Running around New Westminster is great training too, as the vast majority of the routes I run have decent hills in them, and hill training is a great way to become a better runner. For once New West’s hills are actually a good thing!
I don’t stand a chance of getting in the top three in the other two races because they’re stand-alone races. But the BMO 8k isn’t stand-alone, it’s run at the same time as the marathon and the half-marathon, so it doesn’t attract the same calibre of long-distance runners (they’re more likely to go for the half). It’s a fairly flat circuit through Stanley Park, and flat means fast.
So can I do it?
That’s the goal!