Introducing 2011: The Year of the PR

by Jason Fitzgerald

Year of the PR

Year of the PR: How Many Medals Do You Want?

The summer of 2005 was transformative for me. After a somewhat successful spring track season, I saw a spark of talent I hadn’t seen in years. I had put in slightly above average training for only 4 weeks, but it was nothing spectacular. During the last race of the season I ran a personal record in the 5k.

This flash of success made me curious: how could I run a PR after just 4 weeks of above average training? What if I had 12 weeks of awesome training? The possibilities started flooding my brain – all of the “what if’s” that run through your head when you start planning for future success.

Now that my season was over, I had some time to plan my summer training, so I started looking at how I could dominate. I had 13 weeks until cross country started at the end of August.

I made the simple decision to dedicate myself to seeing how good I could be. I gave myself three months and the test was our annual cross country fitness test. What did I have to lose?

Throughout the summer, I made every right decision:

  • My mileage increased to 80-85 miles per week based on how I felt. I never pushed it when I was exhausted.
  • I spent 2-4 hours every week riding my road bike and pool running.
  • Barefoot strides and drills helped me prevent injury and become a more efficient runner.
  • My long run increased from my standard 13-15 miles to 16. I never felt stronger.
  • I did a core routine 2-3 times per week, something I had never done before.

Unlike other years, I simply made the decision that I was going to be a better runner. I put in the work that I knew I needed to. I made all the right decisions, including averaging 9 hours of sleep every night. I was a machine. I knew I needed to run more, stay healthy, cross train, do core exercises, and rest when I needed to. So I did it. Every lifestyle decision was influenced by the background question, “How will this affect tomorrow’s run?”

When you have the mindset of a faster runner, you become a faster runner.

Here’s my last week of summer training in 2005 to give you a feel for what I was doing (and yes, I have running logs going all the way back to 1999):

Monday 8/22: 9 miles with a 6:40 mile on the track
Tuesday 8/23: AM: 4 miles with a 6:41 mile on the track, PM: 13 miles + ice bath
Wednesday 8/24: AM: 3 mile w/up, 5k @ tempo, 4 mile w/down. 5k in 17:38 on the track – mile splits 5:45, 5:40, 5:31, :42. PM: 80 minute pool run w/ 2x(10×30″ pickups with 30″ recovery)
ursday 8/25: AM: 5 miles, PM: 10 miles
Friday 8/26: 16 miles
Saturday 8/27: AM: 5 miles with a 6:51 mile on the track and 4 strides in spikes, PM: 46′ bike ride
Sunday 8/28: Fitness Test – 2x3k with 10′ run recovery. 1st rep: tied for 2nd place in 9:48. 2nd rep: 1st place in 9:47.

So what happened after that summer? I went from being our 6th or 7th Varsity runner to winning the last rep of our fitness test. Talk about improvement!

This is what happens when you decide to make a positive change in your running and implement it correctly. I took action.

That’s what this year is going to be for you. I am going to help you achieve times that you previously thought were impossible. You’re going to crush barriers, stomp on preconceived notions of how fast you are, and surprise your running friends by your progress.

I’m going to ask a lot of you. Sometimes it will be hard and easier to sit on your couch and eat ice cream. If that’s what you’d rather do, then maybe this isn’t for you. Let your friends worry about the best new running top and the differences between treadmill and road running. You’re going to dominate them.

The #1 thing people ask me about is how to get faster. I hear that they want to run personal bests. That’s why I write here at Strength Running – to help you achieve your goals. I’m constantly thinking about ways to get you faster. I’m serious – sometimes I text myself ideas when I’m out because I don’t want to forget.

I am really excited to announce that 2011 is the year of the PR.

Maybe you want to qualify for Boston but find yourself hovering around that qualifying time. I’m going to show you how to tweak your training to reach that new fitness level.

If you’re just getting started then I’ll show you how to consistently shave time off your race performances while having fun, reaching your ideal race weight, and setting the foundation for long-term success.

This is what’s coming up this year:

  • Interviews with successful runners who will share how they’re dominating – and how you can too.
  • I’m going to push you to try new things, run harder, and run even more. You can’t get better without taking ACTION.
  • My own personal successes and failures. I consider myself a case study for the Strength Running philosophy – so follow along to see how fast I can run.
  • Later I’m launching my own running program – for those who want a comprehensive, detailed guide from start to finish (more on this later).

What now?

I hope you’re as excited as I am. I have big things in store for 2011 – for Strength Running, my personal running, and for YOU. Get on board and make the decision to get faster. Here’s what I want you to do:

  1. Stop thinking about running faster and making excuses. Stop reading “Top 10 Running Shoes” posts.
  2. Realize that you’re going to have to take action and be proactive about reaching your running goals.
  3. What are your goals? Leave your goals in the comments below and let me know what you hope to achieve in 2011 and how I can help.

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