Seeing that the first of the year is a natural starting point I need to develop a better plan for where I want to be come Boston. I also know that having specific checkpoints along the way will establish whether I am on track or not. Placing those down on paper are the framework or skeleton by which you can achieve that future goal. The big pieces should be placed first along the route as they establish landmarks by which you can fill in the spaces between.
I just looked at my calendar today and realized I need to get serious about more than just running Boston in April. A nice stop would be a warm place to run a half-marathon in January. I just found that a race I've done in Cabo is one week later than I thought, which is good. Something in February would be nice too, but not crucial and definitely a good shakedown effort in March is important.
As you can see I've already created some general landmarks around which to build training and workouts based on what I'd like to accomplish along the way to Boston. Now I may not run the race or race as well as I anticipated but at least I've better defined where I'm at and what I need to do to either reach my goal or better modify it in the face of not being as good I'd hoped or better than I thought. Sometimes having a poor result just helps the body be better prepared for racing and doesn't mean you can't stick with your original goal.
Three weeks before Boston in 2007 I ran the DC 1/2 Marathon as a final tuneup. I had missed a week of training because of a sore tendon in my foot but felt confident to race. The race went poorly and I struggled to run 1:18 for the 1/2. It was disappointing because I had hoped to run that pace for the marathon in three weeks so having trouble doing it for 13 miles wasn't a positive sign. Fortunately, I knew I was in good shape but my rhythm was out of sync because of a lack of running. A tough race was just what I needed to shake up my system.
So rather than let the result by itself discourage me I allowed it to help me understand where I was at. Certainly I wasn't thinking I was going to run much faster but I did run 2:39:30 on what has been called the worst weather ever at Boston. Having a tough day in DC and working through it made me better for Boston three weeks later.