Running Goals For 2014: I Feel The Need For Speed

running goals

Thanks for the thumbs up, Maverick!

We’re nearly a week into 2014 and my first three races of the year—the Disney Family Fun Run 5K, Walt Disney World 10K and Walt Disney World Half Marathon—are already upon us.

I guess it’s finally time to write down my running goals for 2014.

When I look at them, one thing comes to mind: I’m a Maverick. I want to go faster. In 2013, I made the realization I’m a Speed Demon, not an Endurance Monster. I love speed workouts. I hate long runs. I run a 6:46 mile, but have struggled to break 2 hours in the half-marathon. Speed, not distance, has been good to me. So I’m giving into that for 2014.

But let’s see how I did on my 2013 goals, first.

Running Goals For 2013

1.   Get even faster

SUCCESS! I make this goal every year because it works for me. Last year I wrote: “In 2013, I’m going to try to knock out a 5K and 10K PR.” Done and done. I knocked out the following personal records in 2013:

Wild Dog Triathlon, running goals

On my way to a 3-mile PR at Wild Dog Triathlon (Photo: Phil Hospod)

3 miles: 23:22. I lowered this mark twice. Once during a training run on a measured bike path, clocking in at 26:36. Then I lowered it again to 23:22 at the end of a triathlon the very next day. What!? I have no idea where that came from.

5K: 24:46. Boom. At a season-ending Turkey Trot. Felt great to close the racing year with a high! And it confirmed that my 23:22 3-miler was no fluke.

Newport Liberty Half Marathon, Jersey City, Manhattan skyline, running goals

I ran a 10K PR at the Newport Liberty Half Marathon. (Photo:

4 miles: 34:38. My teammates and I (I run with a club called the New York Harriers) were running 1200m repeats on the track with a 400m jog in between. I ran the repeats fast and the jogs slightly less fast.

It all added up to what might have been the best workout of my life.

I ran 4-mile, 5-mile and 10K PRs during the workout. I realized what was happening somewhere around the 5-mile mark and couldn’t believe I was taking down PRs on the track. It shows the power of 1) Running with friends/teammates and 2) A nice, flat course.

This wasn’t a measured 4-miler, so the exact moment when I crossed the 4-mile mark is up for debate. But since I was running a measured track with a GPS watch, I have a good idea of when that happened. Sure, it may be a few seconds off in either direction, but this is the time per my watch.

5 miles: 43:01. Another PR at the aforementioned track workout. Pure magic.

10K: 54:09. I lowered this mark twice this year. First to 56:57 as the first half of the Direct Edge Newport Liberty Half Marathon.

running goals, marathon

At the Scoitabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. (Photo:

Then I lowered it again to 54:09 during that magical track workout just three days after the half-marathon. What!? I was hoping to peak during the race. I didn’t. I missed my half-marathon PR. But I seem to have peaked 3 days later.

I’m looking forward to running the measured Walt Disney World 10K to see what I can really do.

2.   Get fast enough to run a sub 2-hour half-marathon

WOMP WOMP. It was not to be. Though I ran four half-marathons in 2013, I only raced one of them. And I had a terrible run. My current PR is still 2:00:30.

3.   Work on long distance speed for a sub 4-hour marathon someday

SUCCESS! I wrote: “To get there, I’m going to keep racing halves and one fall marathon. I’m also going to work on my 5K and 10K times to get my muscles twitching faster.”

I didn’t run a marathon PR last year; I was sick on marathon morning and ended up having to throw in the towel on my PR attempt. But I ran four half-marathons, one fall marathon, and ran 5K and 10K PRs. Plus, my last 20-miler long run before my marathon was my fastest 20-miler ever. I’m definitely chipping away at this goal.

Wild Dog Triathlon, swimming, running goals

Warmed up and ready to swim. (Photo: Phil Hospod)

4.   Keep cross training

MEH. Last year, I wrote: “I struggle to keep cross training once triathlon season is over.” It’s still true. While I did two triathlons last summer, I fell off the wagon once marathon training started. I did manage to go to my very first spin class. That’s got to count for something, right?

5.   Race at least 10 times

SUCCESS! I ran 13 races in 2013.

6.   Exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week

MEH. Last year I wrote: “It seems simple, but will probably be the hardest one for me.” It was. Of the 30 weeks that I tracked, I achieved this goal for 21 of them. The other 22 weeks that I wasn’t tracking? Who knows? I definitely worked out most of those 22 weeks, save a few that I was sick. But I doubt I worked out 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes. But, I’ve been running every day for the last 40 days, so at least I closed the year out right.

Running Goals for 2014

This year, I want to build on my successes in 2013 and learn from my failures.

running clothes, Oakley, Cuttyhunk Island, running goals

That girl looks like she runs fast. Oh wait, that’s me! (Photo:

1.   Get even faster

If it ain’t broke… I finished my very first race, a 4-miler, at an 11:34 pace. Now, almost seven years later, I run a 5K at a 7:59 pace. Wow! I’ve gotten so much faster over the years. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that. I’m hoping to start 2014 with a big, fat 10K personal best at the Walt Disney World 10K on Friday. I want to break 54 minutes. Here’s hoping.

2. Fast enough to run a sub 2-hour half-marathon

Finally, finally, finally. This has been a goal since 2012 when I ran my 2:00:30 PR. It’s really, for real, happening this year. Mark. My. Words. I want to run one attempt this spring in March or April. With a rock solid base from my current 40-day, 140-mile running streak, I’ll be well positioned to knock this one out early in the year. If it doesn’t happen then, it’s all I’ll focus on for the fall.

Montauk Point Lighthouse Sprint Triathlon, swim bike run, Trek Lexa S, running goals

I have a bike. Now I need to trick it out and ride it. (Photo:

3. Work on long distance speed for a sub 4-hour marathon someday

Having this long-term goal really worked for me last year. So I’m going to keep plugging away this year. I’m going to keep working on my middle-distance speed with those 5K and 10K PRs, while adding mileage to help translate it to longer distances. I think I can run a 4:15 marathon in 2014. And a sub-4 hour marathon will be in sight after that.

4. Become a better triathlete

Last year, I made “Keep Cross Training” a goal. That didn’t really work for me. But if I focus on getting better at the sport, the cross training will come naturally.

So what does that mean for me? Cycling, cycling, cycling. It’s my Achilles heel. It’s what keeps me from medaling in my age group.

At my last triathon, I finished the swim second in my age group behind the women’s overall winner. I finished third on the run, also behind the women’s overall winner and just one other person. But I botched the bike, finishing fifth overall in my age group. Womp womp.

So I’m going to get proper bike shoes and clipless pedals. I’m going to get aerobars. I’m going to go to spin class. And I’m going to actually ride my darn bike.

Wild Dog Triathlon, swim

Crushing the swim at Wild Dog Triathlon. (Photo: Phil Hospod)

I’m already a strong swimmer, but that’s also part of my problem. I don’t swim a lot because I know that’s the easiest leg for me. But imagine if I actually took my swim training seriously. I could be giving myself even more of a head start going into the dreaded cycling leg.

So while I’ve been running every day through the winter, no more after I break 2-hours in the half-marathon this spring. Cycling and swimming are getting an even shake. I want an age group medal around my neck at the end of the summer.

running goals, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Ready, set, go! (Photo: Phil Hospod)

5. Run 14 races in 2014

Why not? 13 in 2013 worked well for me. They’re fun, and they keep me training. And I’m already knocking out 3 this month. Of course, I won’t race all 14 of them. Some will be fun runs, some will be training runs, and some will be all-out PR attempts.

That’s it for my running goals. Happy running this year!

What are you running goals for 2014?

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a regular contributor to, the host of NYRR's On The Run web + TV show, and a race announcer at events like the TCS New York City Marathon. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now she freelances as a running reporter. She's run 7 marathons, 20 halves, 6 triathlons, sings in an '80s cover band, spoils her dog + travels compulsively.

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