2016- Breaking Free

It’s that time of year!   Social media is filling up with goals and resolutions for 2016.   For runners, that often shows as mileage goals, pace goals, race goals, etc.  Along with all the other things we want to accomplish in the year to come.  So without further ado- here are my goals for 2016-




No need to refresh your screen, there’s nothing there.   I’m not setting goals for 2016.

There I said it.   I’ve had this post half written for months, talked about it with my mother, talked about it with my boss.   But clicking publish? Sharing it with a community who thrives on goals?  A community that uses hashtags like #goaldigger?  That was harder than I thought.   So let’s break it down.

I set goals in 2014 and 2015.  2014 was about 50/50 for goal completion.  2015?   I didn’t compete a single goal.   Not one.     2015 was a stressful year, and worrying about hitting some arbitrary mileage/pace goal wasn’t helpful in calming me down.    Feeling like I “should” run just to add to my total was harshing my running joy.   That’s just one example.   2015 also had it’s share of shiny and that will be up in my next post.

Now, this is isn’t to say that I don’t want to improve.   I do.  I will continue to search for the training plan that works for me.   I will do my speed work and my long runs.  I will enjoy my easy runs more.   I will still track my mileage and the paces I hit.   Just not for some random number total I pick because I think it looks good.   I want to become a better runner, but in a more natural, linear progression kind of way.    Because I enjoy running enough to do it often and not just because I should get in that extra 3-4 miles.  I will still recap my training and running, I like sharing with you all and I look forward to the feedback.  Between this blog and Timehop, I am able to look back at the way things have changed for me over the past few years.  I still like looking at all the numbers; I just need a break from the pressure of feeling like I don’t measure up.    I used to care less about how I measured up with everyone else and I need to get back there. Back to basics, I was there in 2013, can I find that calm again?


2014 started a ball of stress that grew and grew in 2015.   I felt like a boulder being rolled down a hill picking up mud along the way.    Some of the stressors are things that I am not currently in the position to change, others I can.  Starting with how I react to it.    I did a piss poor job in 2015.   Going forward, I want to focus on calming the hell down.   And turning to food less, but that’s another story.

I want to try to focus on finding the shiny in things in life.   Running should be one of those things.   Now I realize that most of my runs will be hard and tiring and there will still be days I want to quit but I used to enjoy the hard or rough days.  I haven’t in a long time.  I need to change my mindset and in order to do that “goals” and I are taking a break.   Goal has become a four letter word in my book, it’s joined the ranks of “potential”.  I dislike that word and try to never use it but that’s not the point here.


That last bit needs to be my new motto

Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having goals.   I just need a break from them.  Call it a trial separation.    Maybe this won’t work, maybe it will.  Either way, it’s something I need to do.  The journey to an improved Slacker starts now but goals are not invited on this road trip.

So, are you still with me or have I scared you all off?

30 thoughts on “2016- Breaking Free

  1. One of my ‘goals’ for 2016 is to do a lot more yoga! So good for the body, mind and soul!

    I feel ya though on chilling out on being so hard on yourself!! Goals will always be there…just do you, enjoy running for exactly what it is and for the sheer joy of the sport! Happy running to you!

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  2. I’m a big fan of doing things organically! I’m okay with you not having goals 🙂 A few years ago I had to work on not comparing myself to others and follow my own path more, which is why I can read your blog and you mention “a quick warmup run” that is the same as the distance I have to push myself to hit and not have bad feelings over it! You have to do what is right for you, and it’s okay if that looks different to others!

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    1. The comparison trap can be hard to avoid sometimes. There is someone I follow that considers 7 miles and nice short run. Ummm, no? 🙂 I am working on getting out of my head and back into the real world. 🙂 Finding that balance is harder than I thought it would be but I am going to keep trying!

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  3. I’m WITH you! My only goal is to complete my first marathon, which I’m pretty confident will happen due to various steps I’ve taken. Otherwise, I’m too busy and “goals” stress me out too much.

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  4. I also don’t have goals for 2016! Well, okay, I have one. And I may set more later but my new philosophy is “one thing at a time.” It isn’t easy giving up my life as a “goaldigger” (LOL how have I not heard that yet?), especially this time of year, but I know that forcing myself to do it will be good for me.

    I know how you feel about running this year and being tired of the expectations and the feeling that you’re “falling short”. I did achieve one huge goal this year, but the next 6 months of the year were a big heaping pile of nothing, and I felt disappointed in almost every race I ran after that. What I’ve come to realize is that while running is still unique in being more of an “everyman” sport, we are still not immune from the fact that it takes big sacrifices to achieve big goals and we all have to dig deep and decide what is worth sacrificing and when. We all improve naturally to an extent, but then it gets to a point where improvement gets harder and if we want to keep improving we have to put in more work and dedicate more of our time and effort to training. I’ve always dreamed of getting to a point where I can run naturally in the 7:xx pace range and have a half marathon in the low 1:30s, but I’ve also realized that if I really want that I will have to buckle down and train really hard, really consistently and it will still probably take years to get there. But I can’t see that lifestyle ever being realistic for me, so I’ve come to terms with the fact that I may never get that fast. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean I can’t keep running and improving and setting new goals. It just means I’m coming to terms with the fact that there are certain sacrifices I can’t make, which means I may never get as fast as I want to be. But I’m not an elite pro athlete so honestly, why put all that pressure on myself anyway?

    I look forward to seeing what 2016 has in store for you!!

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    1. I’ve seen that phrase on exercise shirts as well as social media! And of course it was right around the time I was feeling particularly down about my running this year. 🙂

      That’s exactly where I am at right now. I would love to run paces in the low 8’s consistently and have my race times reflect that but realistically, I don’t know if I have that training in me. I want to keep improving as I go but I also can’t pin all my running thoughts on a pace goal. I think it would burn me out to the point of quitting and I don’t ever want to get to that point.

      Here’s hoping we have a good 2016!


  5. I totally think that setting goals can take the fun and joy out of things. I know for me, my motivation and dedication are absolutely fluid, and when I make myself do things all the time that I’m not necessarily into, I end up resenting (and hating) that thing. I love that you are taking a break from goals so you can see what happens! I bet it will be something big 🙂


  6. Wow! I’ve had a similar post percolating in my head for a while! Nice to read you’re in the same spot


  7. Think you’re totally doing the right thing. You should just run how you feel as much as u can. I have a goal this year just cos I needed something to scare me back into running again 😉 but your approach is the one I’m ultimately aiming for 🙂


  8. Hell yeah, still with you! This is a refreshing, honest post… thank you for that. 2015 wasn’t a great year for me running-wise, and when I look back at 2014 and the goals I set it’s pretty disappointing. I really like your approach of progressing naturally and not shooting for numbers because it looks good… I need to do something like that, focus on the shiny (I love that, by the way), and not get frustrated because I’m not meeting the goals I set. Clearly goals aren’t motivating enough for me anyway, given my track record. So yeah… I’m totally with you 🙂


    1. Thank you! I need to get my mind set away from numbers but it’s so hard! It’s part of how we track improvement so it’s hard not to get bogged down by all the numbers. Goals backfired big time so hopefully this new idea works! Fingers crossed! 🙂


  9. I think this is awesome! (Read this before but forgot to comment until Rachel mentioned it!)

    I definitely find that many of the running bloggers I read put WAY too much pressure on themselves when it comes to running goals – and my concern is always how many of them end up getting hurt or burned out. Running is supposed to be a joy … not a job!

    Sure, I know that many of the running bloggers I read are late 20’s to mid-30’s and their lives are pretty much goal-dominated right now … but “having fun doing something you enjoy” shouldn’t be a check-box on a to-do list.

    Yeah, I know I run a lot of miles and most days … but one thing I did was to take a lot of the pressure off myself. I love to run, and feel great as a result of running … so I run. But I try to run easy, listen to my body and stay healthy so I can run tomorrow. For me that is goal #1 – don’t let anything in terms of races, distance or pace get in the way of being healthy and able to get up and run tomorrow. This means I know I could be faster, but … who cares?

    I also think maintaining perspective and priorities is important. The big marathon in our area that I ran twice falls between my wife’s and my older son’s birthdays. SO I did it a couple of times, but it isn’t worth the impact on their birthdays.

    Have a great 2016!


    1. Thank you!
      I love how social media has broadened my social circle but sometimes it’s hard to not fall into the comparison trap. Then we (I) start putting numbers on the line and push it and things fall apart. I love that you run often and rack up the miles but it’s more for the joy of running. I want to get to that point one day. It’s hard to ditch the number fixation though. It will take some rewiring of my thought process but I am excited to try. I do want to get a little faster but I am hoping that will just happen if I run more consistently.
      Happy New Year!

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