Goals for 2020, Goals for the new Decade

Published on 15th of January, 2020

The beginning of a new year always gives me a good feeling of renewal, even though it’s a completely arbitrary point in time. Since I’ve created this habit of yearly reviews and plans in 2016, it’s been fun and interesting to me to set these challenges for myself and try to complete them. In general I was quite successful, but I’ve always learned a few things from the failures, too. That’s why I don’t think I’ll stop this habit now. 

For reference reasons, here are the last few year’s posts I’ve published about yearly goals.

Review 2016, Masterplan 2017, Review 2017, Masterplan 2018, Review 2018 / Preview 2019, Review 2019.

My Main Plan for 2020

As in the last years, I’m making a distinction between important overall goals for the year, and secondary smaller ones. First, the main goals.

1. Run 12 Marathons

As in the last two years, I’m keeping my newfound tradition and will go for at least 12 runs of marathon length or more again, roughly one per month. This year I won’t set the rule that it has to be a (semi-) official race, just a training marathon will be fine, too. When I’m looking at my list it’s very realistic that I’ll get to more than 12 races, though.

Here is the rough cut of (ultra) marathon races I have already signed up for.

  1. January 5: Wesel Marathon – 3:28:53, it’s been a good start!
  2. February 16: Nicosia Marathon – finally, the EU capital of Cyprus has a new marathon. So I’m doing a bonus round to really complete my EU challenge.
  3. February 22: Kiel Marathon
  4. March 29: Freiburg Marathon
  5. April 19: Hamburg Marathon
  6. April 25: Harzquerung Trail 51 km
  7. May 15 to 17: Triple Kärnten Laufklassiker – 76 km over three days, marathon in the middle.
  8. June 20: Mozart 100
  9. July 4: Arlberg Marathon
  10. July 5: Gletscher Marathon
  11. September 26: Rauchwart Marathon
  12. October 11: München Marathon

I have a bunch more on the list, especially for the late summer, but those plans aren’t finalized yet. 

Within these 12 races are three special ones. First, the Mozart 100. This is a race in the area of Salzburg, Austria, which has a total length of 108 kilometers and an elevation gain of about 5,000 meters. You get 22 hours to finish it. This will be by far the toughest race for me yet and a serious challenge. That’s why it’s probably the race I’m the most excited about. 

Climbing three mountain tops during the race
Climbing three mountain tops during the race

The other two special races are my local Hamburg marathon in April and Rauchwart marathon in September. For Hamburg, I will make a new focussed training effort to beat my personal best of currently 3:17:40, hopefully to get under 3:10 hours. In Rauchwart, I will do the same again, maybe even getting near 3:05 hours and hopefully also defending my win on that race in 2019.

2. Read 12 Books

As with my first main goal, I’m going to borrow last year’s one for 2020. 12 books seem to be a number I can reach comfortably. In 2019 I got to 19 total, but I’m not looking for new personal records here. I just want to keep myself motivated to grab a smart book every day and expand the knowledge or entertain myself in a better way than mindlessly watching Youtube. 

I enjoyed the challenge during the last year and even got feedback from followers of this blog who were happy about the new book suggestions. That’s why I’m going to expand this website to have a books section soon, which will get filled with new books I have finished, containing my verdict of them. That way I myself will keep track in a better way and also be able to share these explorations. 

Here’s a little preview of the books I’m planning to read during this year or which I’m currently reading.

  1. Jim Collins: Good to Great (Topic: leadership)
  2. Ian McEwan: Saturday (Topic: no idea, recommended by good friend Vera)
  3. Nils Wittrock: Wer jetzt noch umblättert ist selber schuld (Topic: musician’s autobiography)
  4. Haruki Murakami: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Topic: Yes, running)
  5. Daniel Coyle: The Culture Code (Topic: building company culture)
  6. Sally Rooney: Normal People (Topic: impactful relationships, recommended by Barack Obama)
  7. Bob Iger: The Ride of a Lifetime (Topic: Disney CEO’s autobiography)
  8. Scott Young: Ultralearning (Topic: well, ultra fast and efficient learning)
  9. Michiko Kakutani: The Death of Truth (Topic: propaganda, modern science discrediting)
  10. Evan Ratcliffe: The Mastermind (Topic: Paul Le Roux, a weird online drug kingpin’s life story)
  11. Mike Monteiro: Ruined by Design (Topic: society’s seemingly intended self-destruction)
  12. Helmut Schmidt: Was ich noch sagen wollte (Topic: Former German chancellor’s autobiography)

The total list is 31 books, but these are the ones I’m most keen on reading. 

The Secondary Goals

And now, the fun part! Without further explanation, here’s the list.

  1. Run at least three times during every single week (Monday to Sunday) of this year, 5 kilometers minimum.
  2. Do a period of 1-3 months during which I don’t buy anything new for myself. Exceptions: broken stuff, essentials.
  3. Miracle Morning month: Wake up every day at 5:00 AM straight for 31 continuous days.
  4. A vegan month.
  5. A running streak month, run every day for at least 5 kilometers.
  6. Do a month with at least 400 total running kilometers.
  7. A month of zero alcohol.
  8. Get to 100 rope skips without a break.
  9. Repeat the daily 7 Minute Workouts month.
  10. Reach 5 minutes of planking.

Those all feel like fun challenges and I’m looking forward to start them. Many of them can be combined but I’m not sure which plan to follow yet. 

At the moment I’m already at zero alcohol for a few weeks, so a checkmark for Goal #9 is on the way. During February I will start with another running training cycle, so the 400 kilometers will probably fall during that month. Maybe I’m combining that with going vegan again. The running streak month could be done during May possibly, combined with the Miracle Mornings as the daylight will be more helpful to wake up to during those summer months. 

Looking forward to them all. For some of the goals I might publish blog posts when I complete them.

Goals for the New Decade

2020, in my opinion starts off a new decade. Some say that won’t happen until January 1st of 2021, as 2020 closes off the 2010s decade. Well, it might be technically true, but I’d like to set goals for the new decade right now

You might be aware that I have previously followed a long-term goal of running a marathon in every single EU country’s capital. It took me 7 years and has been great. Now, about a year and a half after the conclusion of that challenge, I feel like I’m ready for a new long-term challenge. Not just one, but rather two. Or three, really. These are all in their infancy and I might soon realize that they won’t work out and abandon them. But right now I feel good about them all and choose to publish them here. 

Goal of the Decade #1:

Qualify for and finish the Western States 100 Endurance Run.

This 100 mile race is one of the best known in the world and takes places annually in late June in northeastern California, located roughly between Lake Tahoe and the city of Sacramento. 100 miles are 160.9 kilometers. This race also features 5,500 meters of total elevation gain and 7,000 meters of elevation loss over that distance. You get 30 hours to complete it.

Looks terrifying
Looks terrifying

Why is that a goal for the decade? While I’ve been aware of the race for a few years and was intrigued, this is not about this particular race itself. The race would just be the grand finale of this decade challenge. The reason being the complicated qualification process. You can’t simply sign up, book flights, and run. You have to qualify by finishing an ultramarathon of their accepted list and then sign up for the lottery. The field is limited to 369 runners because of environmental reasons, and the number of applicants for the 2020 edition was 6,664. That’s 18 times the amount of slots available. 

There are a few more factors to the system. You need to run an ultra of their list – and those are very tough ones, all of them –, sign up for the lottery, and you’ll get about a 2.5 percent chance of getting to compete in the Western States 100. If you don’t get lucky, you can come again next year, will have to run another ultra of the list, but your name will be put twice into the hat. 4.9 percent chance. Year three, another ultra, doubling your tickets to 4 and your chance of success to 9.5%. So after 7 years of trying and running crazy ultras every year, you’ll be at an 80 percent chance.

And that’s why I’m thinking of this as a goal for the decade. Along the way I’ll mostly enjoy picking exciting looking ultras from the qualifier list, which can be found here.

You may have guessed it, the Mozart 100 is part of them for this year and marks the start of this decade challenge for me.

Goal of the Decade #2:

Finish a Marathon Race in Under 3 Hours

It’s not obvious which of the two goals will be harder in the end. Although it looks like I’m not too far away from a 3 hour marathon at 3:17:40 currently, it’s very tough to improve the marathon time at this stage. I think it will be at least three years of focussed efforts, two fast races per year with a structured training cycle up front. If the time permits it, the races themselves need to go as planned, too. I need to have a good day on those ones. 

In 2019 I first tried to improve the time significantly, and while failing to reach my 3:15 goal, I got quite far and enjoyed the way there a lot. That’s the big reason I’m trying again. Right now, the plan is to go for a 3:09 marathon in Hamburg in April, and if that goes well, try a 3:05 marathon in Rauchwart in September. That’s very ambitious for my current state, but I tend to do better if the goals are far up there. If I fail, I’ll just try again. 

By the way, both of the former two goals have been heavily inspired by, if not even copied from, my running buddy and Hamburg ultra legend Michael Mankus.

Bonus Goal of the Decade #3:

So far I have never published any work-related goals of mine and I also don’t plan to do that. At least not in a detailed way. But this is a goal that will have a bigger impact in my life and also consequences for the other goals. It’s the expansion of my web design company to 10 employees. Although I have been running the company since 2011 there has never been a situation in which I felt up for the task of growing it past a few people. Right now, it’s two employees and a bunch of freelancers and has been for a while. But I have been thinking about this for many years now and 2020 is the year I will take the risk and do this. In February, a new graphics designer will start at my company and in March we will get a new project manager / coordination partner for us. For this year I hope to find a new stability within that growth, to build upon during the next years.

But why? For 9 years now, the small size of the company was all I wanted and needed. But during this late summer I had a key experience. A new potential client contacted me with whom I really wanted to work. The process took a while but in the end they decided in favor of another web design company, citing the reason that we’re too small for larger and rather spontaneous projects. Absolutely correct. I want to change that in order to attract more clients similar to that one. A little change is always good, I think. 

It also means that I will make work a higher priority. It’s not about the hours put into it, it’s about what you get out of the hours – how efficient you work. A thing I’m constantly improving upon. And looking forward to improve even further, in addition to slightly increasing the hours.

Now, how will this be possible to do? “More of everything” seems to be quite hard? 

One of the measures I’m taking is a slow shift in my sleep routine. Eliminating the wasted hours in the evenings where all the day’s energy is gone already, to instead wake up early to get a run in before the kids’ routine begins at 6:30 AM. This alone shall fulfil a big part of the plan. Let’s see how it goes from here! I’m surely going to give updates on this blog during the year.

Have you got suggestions? What are your plans? I’d love to hear some via the box below. Include your email if you’d like to receive replies, by the way. 

Have a great year 2020, everyone! 😀

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