Fitness Goals

Running Goals: Here We Go!

September 13, 2022

Hmm. My friend left medicine . . . and I decided to go part time several months later.

Chelsea and Coco have had amazing training cycles . . . and I want to jump right in there with them and really train for a marathon.

(There are plenty of things people do that I have ZERO desire to emulate, but admittedly when someone does something that strikes a chord of desire within me, I tend to notice!)

So, I want to run faster again.

Honestly, I am not thrilled by my 5K training cycle. However, I just did some analysis and . . . I’m being very impatient. First of all, I really just started training a couple of months ago. Second, I didn’t run that much!!! August was my highest mileage month, and it topped out at 84 miles. Prior to that, most months were ~50ish miles (some were 30!) which is . . . not a lot of miles.

There was a time when I ran 50 miles a week. It should not be surprising that I was a lot faster in those days.

I do not want to spend alllllll my time running, but I feel that I do have more time/energy to spare than I am currently giving especially now that we have figured out bedtime (YAY!), we no longer have *babies*, and since I will be a bit more flexible at least 2 weekdays mornings/week very soon.

So, I am going to work on it!


Now through February 19, 2023: Train for A1A half marathon, first by building some more legit base mileage and then transitioning to half-specific training. There are 5 months between now and then which should be plenty to make some progress.

Convenient, flat, and hopefully not too hot!

February through Fall 2023: Base maintenance and train for 5K or 10K (so incorporating more speed). I think at this point I will start working with a real human coach (likely someone from the company Chelsea worked with!). I am not starting this yet because . . . well, it’s pricey and I feel like I can do a bit more using Runners Connect training plans first.

Fall/winter 2023 to Spring 2024: Marathon specific training leading up to Big Sur. Somehow I will have to figure out how to get hill training in for this race, and I live in the flattest place ever. But I do have a treadmill and I’m sure people have figured this out before.

Obviously there will be cutback weeks and recovery periods along the way, and I plan on continuing to do strength work minimum 3x/week.


I don’t know. But why does anyone do anything, then? Hmmm. Deep questions for a Tuesday morning . . .


MY HOBONICHI ORDER ARRIVED!!!! BUT, I still have another cover coming (because I had a little incident on ordering night where what I truly wanted appeared to sell out and then reappeared) so . . . pictures will have to wait until I can photograph the entire stack. Admittedly though I’m already excited for 2023 planning to begin!!!!


  • Reply Meg September 13, 2022 at 6:05 am

    Did your friend leave medicine to work in a corporate job or just leave the workforce entirely?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 13, 2022 at 6:43 am

      Retired. At my age. Her husband owns a business and my guess is her income was less important to the family compared to other things. Thus far she is very happy!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 13, 2022 at 6:43 am

      And no- this is NOT my plan !

      • Reply Meg September 13, 2022 at 3:00 pm

        Very interesting, do you think if you had the means to retire right now from medicine you would want to? Seems like you do get some joy from the clinical aspect of your job, seeing patients etc.

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 13, 2022 at 3:13 pm

          No- definitely not 🙂 I just realized I wasn’t happy with the current status. I have no plans to leave clinical medicine.

  • Reply Chelsea September 13, 2022 at 6:41 am

    I’m sooooooo excited for you! I think that’s an awesome plan that gives you enough time to go into each race truly prepared. Plus Big Sur seems like such an amazing race! There has to be some kind of overpass near you for hill training 🙂 Do you have any sense of how hard it is to get in? I feel like Big Sur is one that has a lottery entry. Would you do charity if you didn’t get in, or do you think you would try for a different race?

    I totally get saving working with the coach until your marathon training phase. McKirdy is fantastic, though. There are multiple people in my area that use them now (some before me and some after) and we’ve all had really good success. I would also really, really recommend working with Featherstone Nutrition. If you get on her mailing list, she does group classes a couple of times a season, and there’s also an option of working with her one on one. They are $$$$$$$ BUT she is the real deal. I think she has her MS from Case Western and she worked as a hospital dietician for many years before doing the sports thing. This is not “we should all eat fruits and vegetables to be healthy” but rather “lets figure out exactly how many g of carbs you should be consuming per hour of training and during races” and “how much sports drink do you really need not to feel like death during your summer long run”. She can also look at blood work and recommend supplements (and tell you which ones are crap, which is super helpful). Of my recent success, I attribute 1/2 to training and 1/2 to really nailing nutrition.

    I just registered for Boston yesterday (gulp!). I think we find out in late Sept or early Oct exactly who gets in. If I get in, I want to do some fast, short races during the winter, run Boston not for time (we’re going to bring the whole family including my parents and make a vacation out of it) and then run Chicago (I have a guaranteed entry for this year because of my BQ) in October for time.

    Woohoo! 2023 running 🙂

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 13, 2022 at 7:18 am

      I’m SOOO excited for you re: Boston! SO AMAZING. And Chicago would be fantastic as well.
      Big Sur appears to have a “VIP” program that costs extra but has guaranteed entry AND a room block in the hotel that is right there so that is my plan as of now!!! (And Josh has expressed interest in running it as well – would be such a crazy yet fun couples trip!!)

      • Reply Cassie September 13, 2022 at 2:57 pm

        Ran Big Sur 2022 as a VIP registrant; and it was worth every penny to have charter bus service from hotel to start, VIP bathroom access, warm tents and VIP bag check and food at the end. You will not regret it!

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 13, 2022 at 3:13 pm

          Oh that is awesome to know!!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 13, 2022 at 7:19 am

      And thanks for the nutrition recs as well! I think it’s a great idea.

      • Reply Chelsea September 13, 2022 at 9:58 am

        If you haven’t, check out her podcast Fuel for the Sole. It’s only 30-40 mins every other week, but it has a lot of great info as well.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns September 13, 2022 at 8:08 am

    This is so exciting! I thought about doing Big Sur back in my marathon training days but the timing of that race is really hard for Midwest runners. I will run if the temp is 0 or higher but there is a good chunk of time when it’s colder than that and dangerously cold. But a spring race is perfect for a Floridian. I think you should take into consideration that you were training for that 5k in the hottest, most humid part of the year and then also raced on a hot, humid day. That really does impact things! We have pretty humid summers up here – not like FL, but more hot and humid than people would expect. So I trained for my half and full marathons in a hot season but then it cooled off in the fall so running felt easier on race day since the conditions were usually pretty perfect.

    I’m doing a 10k in October over marathon weekend. We don’t have any pace or time goals – just want to have fun and enjoy the race environment. I did the 10 mile on marathon weekend last year and it was just too much. My baby turned 10 months that day and while I got the training in, long distance running while nursing/pumping was tricky and I was sick so much that fall so just not in peak condition for a long race. But it’s helpful to see that your desire for long distance running came back when your kids got a bit older. I am done with marathons due to some health factors but would like to train for halves again some day. Maybe in 3-4 years I will feel ready for that!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 13, 2022 at 8:42 am

      Yes timing (training through winter) makes it great for Floridians and bad for you up north! I don’t think I could ever train for a fall marathon!!!

    • Reply Chelsea September 13, 2022 at 9:59 am

      I used to live in Wisconsin, and I watched every single episode of How I Met Your Mother doing treadmill runs in the winter. That is a lot of time on the treadmill!

  • Reply Nicole Vinson September 13, 2022 at 2:09 pm

    Just came to say, GO SARAH!

    I am proud of you and excited to watch this Goal become reality!

  • Reply Coco September 13, 2022 at 5:33 pm

    what a great plan!!! I am glad that I somewhat played a role in encouraging you to run more and a marathon. in some hard runs, my mantra has been do the hard things because i can. sometimes I think it’s maybe because in 40s, I feel like i must be ageing thus the need to prove that actually that’s not inevitable and we can be stronger and run faster as master runner.
    can’t wait to follow you through the training cycle. for me this time it went so fast and i do notice I got stronger with those workouts.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 14, 2022 at 7:20 am

      and I can’t wait to hear how Berlin goes, I think you will have an amazing race!!!

  • Reply sara taylor September 13, 2022 at 6:16 pm

    Looking forward to following along with your training! I’m prepping for a half in early November, and is is frustrating to see how much slower my times are since my last half! (I blame the ten years and two kids!)

    How do you track your runs… just the planner? Or do you use Strava or some other app?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 13, 2022 at 7:06 pm

      Currently I just use my Apple Watch and then manually upload stats to runnersconnect. It’s not great. I used to use strava but I hate that you can’t record intervals! Maybe I’ll go back to Garmin.

  • Reply Ida September 14, 2022 at 11:28 am

    A friend of my mine who lives in Miami does hill work in a parking garage! Sounds like a solid and reasonable training plan. Big Sur is a good marathon, but there are a lot of logistical considerations- just getting in is a challenge! If you do get in, i recommend treating it as a fun run and enjoying the experience of it.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 14, 2022 at 11:53 am

      Maybe I’ll have to come up with a good backup race! Hoping to do the VIP (costs extra, first come first serve, guaranteed entry) but I’m sure there’s no guarantee I will get in that way either.

      Will have to come up with a spring backup! Maybe Charlottesville … used to love that race. Love the parking garage idea!

  • Reply Ali September 14, 2022 at 1:04 pm

    How exciting! I think it is great that you are moving towards such ambitious goals!

    I 100% understand if you wouldn’t want to share this, but I am SO curious as to how you are thinking through the financial trade offs of working less. I have been on a reduced work schedule for years (and mostly love it), but think sometimes about how we could make different decisions with a drastically different income. By no means are we in bad shape financially, but it is a real commitment. Would love to hear how you are thinking through that (and on a related note, if you are making changes to your childcare setup as a result).

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 14, 2022 at 1:10 pm

      Truthfully I’m hoping to earn close to my prior salary with writing, podcasting, and other creative endeavors. Short term I won’t be there but hoping not to have huge financial impact.

      No plan to change childcare. If finances become a problem I likely would go back to full time endo … I did a lot of soul searching to come to this decision but having our nanny do what she does for us is really important to me and seems like it will only grow in importance as kids get older.

      • Reply Hilary September 14, 2022 at 1:45 pm

        I’m with Ali in being interested on this topic. Perhaps a future post? We are at what seems like a crossroads with our nanny -either keep her for the longer haul, or start to down ramp with her and figure out other solutions to fill the remaining childcare/household gaps. I go back and forth on which makes more sense.

  • Reply Kristie September 14, 2022 at 2:23 pm

    Loved this update! I also plan ahead for running and find it helps to have a shorter term plan (6-12 months) as well as a list of races and distances I’d like to run at some point. I wonder if this could be a podcast topic—planning for fitness goals?? I loved hearing how others make plans in this area.

  • Reply Abigail September 15, 2022 at 4:49 pm

    My Hobonichi order arrived two days earlier than the carrier promised – a d whilst I was away on a work trip. I got home last night and delayed that gratification a bit more. I was up bright and early opening parcels of planner delights with a coffee before sunrise. Great start to the day.

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