January in Review: Inertia

January in Review: Inertia

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. 

January in Review: Inertia

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. 

Lake Sammamish Half Marathon Training Week 4

Goal: Do Hill Sprints Once per Week
Progress: None
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. 

January in Review

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?

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20 Responses

  1. Inertia is such a good word for January! I definitely think this is a tough time of year and we need to rely on that motivation from the new year to carry us forward. Sounds like you are doing great with your goals! Its tough to get in hill sprints when its icy so often.

  2. I don’t even know what is going on with me–I pulled my hamstring yesterday (I could NOT get my glute to activate! #ironic), so now, I just want to maintain my inertia in terms of consistent movement. Whatever that may mean!

  3. Great post, Laura! I love how you work the idea of inertia into this. I once read something that said “the less you do, the less you want to do.” It’s paradoxical but sometimes forcing myself to get out and do things and be productive actually helps me gain energy. It’s something I’m working on. Anyway, good for you sticking to your guns and starting your year off on the right foot (so to speak, hehe).

    I know how important momentum is, so I have been trying really hard to stay on the ball with all my goals because I know that as you said, if I poop out now, I’ll probably just keep pooping out. I actually think I did pretty well for as much of it as I could control. But sometimes, life just happens and there were definitely some wrenches thrown in my plans this month. I’ve been trying really hard to stay strong with my momentum in spite of that and I think I’m doing pretty well; some goals, of course, went better than others. But I definitely need to get a little tougher with my willpower and fingers crossed I can do that better in February since my schedule will calm down a bit.

  4. Even if you were “inert” it sounds like you’d have a good February! There’s always room for improvement but make sure to acknowledge the good things!

  5. I really like Strava- I guess I should look you up so I can follow and “kudo” your workouts. You’re doing really well with your goals and I love seeing how your training is going on here.

  6. I love it that you and Ryan run together! I’ve been able to run with Andrew lately since he started running again. It’s so great! My goals for February are just to keep doing what I’m doing: not training for anything in particular, just keep a solid base for when I do feel like kicking it up a notch. I also plan on keeping up with my strength training stuff too, which I don’t love doing but helps me so much not just with running but with everything.

  7. I love the concept of inertia! I feel like I’m off to a good start as well and am still feeling inspired and excited about my goals for this year. All these January wrap up posts inspired me to put one together for this week, too!

  8. You are making great progress with your goals!! Running wise, I do not have any concrete goals. Trusting the training and seeing where you push me beyond limits I thought possible. My February goal…Stretch! And foam roll!! ?

  9. I have often thought about the inertia aspect of running. As I am getting older, it seems even more relevant! I have been doing pretty well. As usual, my fault is in the strength training.

    1. All the years of running definitely add up to keep one running for more years to come! Strength training is almost every runner’s fault – that’s why I had to set it as a goal, otherwise I’d skip it!

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