Today's Run: Is the last run of the decade! It will be taking place in the snowy weather of Westchester, NY this afternoon.

Running Resolution #1: Be Thankful

It's not easy being a year-round road runner in New England. Here is a laundry list of reasons why:
  • It steals away your free time with loved ones.
  • It means running even when you hate the idea of stepping outside.
  • It requires a lot of expensive cold weather running gear.
  • It is dangerous running roads in the dark/snow/sleet.
  • It makes speed work tricky (hard to run hard when running hard on ice).
  • It often necessitate a huge shift in your daily routine.
  • It may require leaving work early/going late to fit in a run before a storm.
  • It could mean planning vacation around a race or long training run.
  • It may mean delaying a huge life event for a marathon. (As I did last spring, inadvertently pushing back our wedding day to run the Big Sur Marathon.)
This list goes on, but so does the running.

I do my best not to forget how lucky I am to be able to run every day. I'm healthy, strong and fully supported by my husband, who often has to eat dinner or breakfast late, take on extra housework or handle errands so I have time to run. I've never felt any pressure to run faster or qualify for Boston, but I want to. I want to show that all of the time dedicated to my running is paying off in more ways than one. I'm healthier for it. I'm stronger for it. And I can try to make myself and the people I love most proud.

What better inspiration for 2010?

Happy New Year!
Today's Run: 8 miles at 15K-half marathon race pace. Mid 3-4 miles were closer to 10K race pace. Glad I got in the run early... It just got colder!

Running Resolution #2: Drink More Water and Stay Hydrated

This may seem like a no-brainer but it's tough for me. I'm missing the thirsty button or something. I have to remind myself to drink throughout the day or I'll just forget. I do know how important it is to hydrate, especially when marathon training, so I can't keep letting this one slip!

A few hydration tips I've learned and should heed year round:

1. It's just as important to hydrate during cold weather runs as warm weather runs. You still sweat.

2. You should replace the amount of fluids you perspire throughout a long run. Wear a FuelBelt or carry a water bottle to sip on.

3. Hydrate well in the weeks leading up to a marathon, not just the two days prior.

4. One to two hours before a long run, drink a good size glass of water or energy drink - about 16 ounces. Be careful not to drink a lot right before your run, or risk serious cramps.

5. Hydrate with the same type of fluids (sports drinks, water, GU gels, etc.) that will be distributed during your marathon. Get your body used it, or risk a serious stomach ache.

Feel free to share your own hydration tips.
Today's Run: ~ 12 miles on Heartbreak Hill - tough run but kept up ~ 8:30 pace
Notes: Misty rain and fairly warm for late December. Nice running weather.

Running Resolution #4: Run faster farther (no wimping out on long runs)

I started marathon training in October 2008 as a challenge to myself. I had just run my second BAA Half Marathon and my time was considerably worse than it had been the first time I ran the same race. I wasn't running regularly. I was only half committed to my running regimen. I was disappointed in my performance and knew it wouldn't change without a lot of hard work. So I signed up for my first marathon - Big Sur International Marathon - taking place 6 months later.

Nothing like a kick in the ass to get in gear. All I knew about Big Sur was that the views are incredible and it is supposed to be one of the hardest marathons in the world thanks to a steep 2-mile climb in the middle and numerous, mountainous hills throughout the race. All the better for me. I was too scared to miss a training run for fear of losing it on any one of those hills.

So I stuck to my training plan and ran 25-35 miles most weeks. However, I didn't try to run fast. I only cared about going the distance and being able to finish that marathon. Most of my long runs fell into the 9:30-10:30 range. I was hardly even winded when I got home.

Then the day of the race came. I spotted pace groups and decided at the starting line to join the 4:30 bunch. I figured I could run about this pace and thought the group would help me get over those hills. It did. The one thing I wasn't expecting was my surge at the end. I hadn't run any part of the race that hard so I had a ton of energy. I left the group at mile 24 and beat the 4:30 pace by more than 5 minutes . It shocked me (I loved it) and that's when I knew I had it in me to run faster.

A few short months later I ran the NYC Marathon, another toughie, and took about 35 minutes off my marathon time. Now I'm just 11 minutes shy of a Boston qualifier and I'm not slowing down.

This resolution, which I've already started working on, is to tackle my training runs stronger and faster than I did last year. I'll still account for recovery days and planned easy runs, but I want to be sure I'm making the most of everything I do. No more wimping out on long runs!

Oh, and I did run the BAA Half Marathon again this past October. This time I finished 10 minutes faster than last year. The extra effort and dedication is paying off.

How about you: Do you run for speed, distance or both?
Yesterday's Run: 7 miles around hills of Brookline and Chestnut Hill ~8:30 pace

Five days left in 2009. I've been very lucky to have had an amazing and wonderful year. It will be nearly impossible to top, but I look forward to seeing what 2010 brings. In preparation for the New Year I'm counting down some running goals and resolutions of mine, starting with #5.

Running Resolution #5: Run more miles (1,500+)

About this time last year, my then fiance and I placed a bet with two other friends. $10 to anyone who fulfilled their New Year's resolution. Of course we weren't after the $10... just the bragging rights and an excuse to make our little competition an annual event.

Each of our four resolutions for 2009:

* Complete two marathons (after never running one)
* Run at least 400 miles (up from 250)
* Attend at least one Bikram yoga class per week (big commitment for a traveler)
* Eat the equivalent of 100 loaves of bread (ok, so this is the antiresolution)

Soon we'll be celebrating the completion of every resolution! I ran my first two marathons; our friend is finishing up her 400 miles this week; another friend made it to 75 yoga classes, and my now husband ate just about that much bread - fuel for his almost daily basketball games. Now I'm left wondering what my resolution should be for 2010.

To help me decide, I'm going through some goals I'd hope to achieve in any case, starting with mileage. I'd like to run at least 1,500 miles in 2010.

I ran probably about 1,200 miles in 2009. Lost track because I didn't log every run, but I was running around 25 miles most weeks - a few in the 30s, some recovery weeks in the teens and two weeks off for our honeymoon. Over the past several months I've upped my routine to four or five days of running per week and I've made most runs longer. Soon I'll be running about 35 miles per week regularly, rather than sporadically, and peaking out in the 40s for my marathon training.

So I should technically be able to run 1,500 miles in 2010. Doing it of course is another matter.

Have any running goals or resolutions for 2010?