I was walking the dog yesterday morning and I was surrounded by flakes of snow gently falling around me. I was thinking, "well, this is probably it." I had made plans to run a 5K with my brother over the holiday weekend, but it didn't work out and with temperatures now routinely topping out in the low-40s or below, I don't see myself running any more races within the next couple of months. The off-season has officially begun.
It was a good inaugural season of running. Four 5Ks and a 10K to get things kicked off - I ran a faster time in each of the 5Ks I did and I set the bar a reasonable level with my first 10K. Best of all, I learned to be able to train efficiently and intelligently and laid down a nice miles base to use as a spring board for next year. As of today I passed 80 miles for the month of November marking the 6th consecutive 80+ mile month and 7th 80+ mile month this year. There could have been others, but I wasn't really consistent in my documentation of miles until about June. My high for miles in a month was 116 in October - though that was quickly followed by a back injury that put me on the sidelines for a week. In total I've run about 650 miles, biked about 50 miles and swam about 20 miles over the last 8 months and I'm pretty proud of that. For a guy who was used to doing pretty much whatever I wanted for workouts, I'm proud of the discipline, I'm proud of the focus and I'm proud of the perseverance it took to get to this this point...and I plan on carrying this over into next year.
For me the off-season will probably start in a few days. I plan on taking a good 2-3 weeks off of running, which will be hard, but necessary. During those weeks I will still be active in the gym, but I will be focusing on strengthening my core and legs. In addition to that, I will be planning out my running year for 2012...which will include...big announcement here, my first marathon. I got the itch while watching the 2011 Chicago Marathon and now I've decided I want to do one. My brother (Tony K.) sent me a nice note yesterday and said that if I wanted to do CM12, he would do it with me. My wife (Leslie K.) has been encouraging me to do it too and now I'm making it official -- barring something unforeseen, I will be running a marathon in 2012 (likely the Chicago Marathon). Anyway, my plan is to get really detailed with regard to my running schedule. I plan on using one (or a few) of Jack Daniels' training plans in putting together a day-by-day training schedule. In my ideal world, I'd like to run a handful of 5Ks, a couple of 10Ks, a couple of half-marathons and a marathon next year, topping out at about 10-12 races for the year.
So I'm excited, I'm excited about what next year holds, I'm excited to share it with other runners I know and I'm excited to set goals and achieve them. It's been a great year and I think next year will be even better.