A good start

carWhile it wasn’t an explicit 2015 goal in my 2014 year-end review, I wanted to write a bit more on my journal. So, I guess this is the start of that, as well. However, it’s not the main reason I’m writing this very short update. My main reason for hopefully doing these on a somewhat regular basis is to try to keep myself on track.

The good news is, with the exception of our renovation planning (which is stuck on acquiring an oddly dimensioned refrigerator prior to planning out the counters and cabinets), I’m making good early progress on the things I want to change.

Mornings – A big key for me was to become more productive and more efficient. I saw the key to that as getting to sleep at a decent time and getting up earlier. So far, so good. In fact, in getting up by 6:15 or so most days, I’ve turned many of my morning walks with Brody into morning dog jogs. Even doing three or four 4-ish kilometer runs per week at a very slow recovery pace for the dog’s sake, is an easy way to add 15k to my weekly mileage with little more than walk stress on the legs. The added benefit is that Brody is a little more tired and has a good sleep for the first few hours after I feed him and head off to work.

Run – As I’ve been more healthy with what seems to be a more solid core now, I’ve also been able to get my bike and run volume up to what I’d almost call respectable levels. In fact, in the past four weeks I’m sitting at almost 45k running per week – 50 with a bullet! I’ll admit that, while I’m waiting to see how things go for the next month and what kind of First Half I run in February, I’m having visions of a fuller 2015 race card, including the possibility of marathon and ultra distances for the first time in quite a while. I read Run Less, Run Faster and have been using its approach to training for the past couple months. Touch wood, it seems to be working, with three runs at very specific paces per week. The cycling I do more than covers its recommended two cross-training sessions per week.

Bike – Related, I discovered a great virtual power cycling platform, Trainer Road. It uses your speed, cadence and HR data, combining it with known resistance curve values for your trainer (which you obviously must have), to give you estimated power output. Their claim is that they get pretty accurate estimates. Frankly, even if it’s not within the claimed 3%, provided it’s consistent, I’m still going to get very useful data and see improvements in my riding. Three rides over the past week, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the best $8 a month I could possibly spend on my riding.

Read – Right at the end of 2014, I finished The Secret Race, a book I’d been meaning to get to for well over a year, and in the past week I just devoured Mindfire by Scott Berkun, a very short but very useful read. I’ve gone through cycles of reading like this before. Hoping this sticks and, in trying to do so, I’m setting more time aside where I just read. In particular, it’s a far better choice before bed than staring at the TV.

Volunteer – I’ve had a chat with Paws for Hope, and it looks like I may be doing some probono/volunteer work with them, including a possible board role. I have another chat with their president this coming Sunday to see if there’s a fit. That day’s going to be busy. Sprinkled into my 20-ish km of Sunday running, I’ll also be helping out as a run leader with a half marathon clinic, beginning this Sunday and running for 16 weeks. I’ve enjoyed various types of run clinic leader roles in the past. Plus, I figured that, if I decide to test a ramp up to do a spring marathon or ultra, in addition to some of my own distance at a higher pace, slowing down for part of the morning for the clinic run will actually be good for the legs.