The start of the month of January is often ripe with big dreams, new goals, and grandiose plans for the new year. The end of January, however, relies not on dreams or goals but on inertia. The OED defines inertia as “A property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.” A body in motion stays in motion. A body at rest stays at rest.
As January transitions into February, a marked by the winter doldrums, we find ourselves continuing our state of motion. If January was a month of creating habits, chasing goals, and trusting the slow and hard work of training, so shall February be. If you slacked off in January…it requires just that much more energy to break through the inertia and chase your goals in the dreary month of February.
That’s not to say that you can’t start goals in any month; but there’s something valuable about inertia, about continually fostering the habits and investing in the hard and slow work of training, however that work may manifest for your current season and goals.
I like to train for a spring race for that reason. Inertia, momentum, whatever you want to call it – a spring race sets up for a strong year of achieving goals and working closer towards that intangible telos of getting faster.
My inertia is moving strong and forward from January. I definitely have room for improvement in some areas, but overall I feel like I set a strong tone for the year and spring racing.
January in Review:
Goal: PR in the Half Marathon
Progress: Promising Training
I’m halfway through training for my March half marathon and training has been going surprisingly well. I think taking December as a full recovery month from CIM set me up to make more progress in training and stay injury-free than if I hadn’t had that downtime.
I’m maintaining moderate mileage in the mid-30s, but pushing appropriately hard in my workouts. My workouts so far have included fartlek long runs, tempo and interval combo workouts, and cruise intervals and I’ve been pleased with my paces! After this week, which includes 1K repeats and another fartlek long run, I’ll begin my sharpening phase with even more cruise interval, multi-pace workouts, and long goal pace tempos.
Goal: Strength Training 2-3 Times per Week
Progress: Consistent Effort
Even if one of the workouts was only 10 minutes, I have consistently logged two strength workouts per week – some weeks even three! My go-to strength workouts have been at-home workouts: total body strength with the medicine ball, resistance band core/hip/glute workouts, and Pilates with the toning ring for added resistance. Right now, I’m liking these pieces of equipment so much more than just dumbbells, especially because I can target multiple muscle groups with exercises like med ball squats or smaller stabilizing muscles with exercises such as clamshells with the band.
Goal: Do Hill Sprints Once per Week
So here’s a big fat zero. I didn’t start these the first week of half marathon training because of icy spots and, true to the law of inertia, this aspect of training remained unchanged.
Goal: Run with Ryan Twice Per Week
Progress: At least once per week
There were two weeks where Ryan and I didn’t get in two runs together: one where we both delayed our runs due to gross weather, and another due to me moving my long run to the weekend (again due to weather). But other than those two occasions, we’ve been enjoying our runs together! Right now our easy run paces are in the same range, and it makes training so much more enjoyable to have company on those easy runs.
Goal: Keep a Training Log
Progress: Good, but Room for Improvement
I started using Strava as my training log, and after hard workouts I go in and add relevant notes. I’m not so good about making detailed notes on my easy runs, however, which is something I wish to improve upon in February. I enjoy seeing all of the numbers for the week – mileage, percentage of hard running, and elevation gain – and analyzing each week, and as of now the format of Strava has certainly been more conducive to that than simply using my blog or a paper journal for logging.
How’s your inertia right now?
Do you like to train for spring races?
What goals do you have for February?