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As a follow up to Taylor’s post about ABC goal-setting yesterday, I’d like to spell out my ABCs for this year, and revisit why I started defining race priorities.  Admittedly, unlike Taylor and her meticulously-kept training logs courtesy of her paper planner, I’ve never been good at tracking my workouts beyond syncing my Garmin.  I’ve trained for running races and triathlons – short and long, with and without formal training plans.  My preferred approach is to use training plans to benchmark my progress, especially for long swims, rides and runs during marathon and triathlon training.

When I decided to venture into uncharted territory and race Ironman Lake Placid in 2012 without a club affiliation, training partner, or coach, I read an excellent book called Going Long that I’d recommend to anyone interested in long course triathlon.  I revisited my approach, and ultimately broke my training into two phases: 70.3 prep, and the final push for 140.6.  I stitched together two training plans: a 20-week 70.3 plan to prepare me for a PR at Wildflower Long Course in May, followed by an oxymoronic low volume Ironman training plan.  Going Long also introduced me to the concept of ABC prioritization, and how detrimental goal-setting is to Ironman execution.

Thinking in terms of ABCs simplified my 2012 season:

A: Ironman Lake Placid, 7/2012

B: Wildflower Long Course, 5/2012

C:  North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile, 12/2012

Ready for A big day - Ironman Lake Placid 2012

Ready for A big day – Ironman Lake Placid 2012

Carrying that approach into 2013, I was determined to make this the year that I ran a sub-four hour marathon.  I prioritized becoming a faster and stronger runner.  Although only two of my eight marathons have been on the road, I flirted with four hours at my first marathon – Philadelphia 2009 (4:15), and then again at NYC 2011 (4:04), only to crash and burn in the final miles both times.  I wanted to PR and break four hours in my hometown, and registered for San Francisco Marathon with Taylor.

Next up would be Ironman Lake Stevens 70.3, where I planned to ride my residual fitness from the marathon and do just enough biking and swimming to feel race ready.  I had soft goals of bettering my 70.3 PR (5:58), breaking three hours on the bike, and two hours on the run.  Realistically, any of the three would be a huge win five weeks after a max effort marathon.

Finally, I wanted to round out the year with a new ultra, and registered for Quad Dipsea in November after running the Double Dipsea with Taylor in June.  Taylor’s gunning for her first ultra this year – North Face Endurance Challenge 50K, and the least I can do is pace her after she ran half (more like 27 miles) of the 50 with me in the pouring rain last year.  It just so happens that these two races fall in consecutive weekends, but I’m no stranger to masochism.

A: Sub-four hour marathonSan Francisco Marathon 6/16/2013 – 3:49 (15 minute PR)

B: New 70.3 PR – overall, bike, and run – Ironman Lake Stevens 70.3 7/21/2013 – 5:44 (14 minute overall PR – 2:59 bike, 1:59 run – both PRs)

C: Finishing Quad Dipsea and North Face Endurance Challenge 50K in consecutive weekends – 11/30/2013, 12/7/2013.