Half Marathon Training Starts….NOW!

After a week off of running and generally working out post-RnRAZ, I am so ready to get back on a plan.  The Albuquerque Half Marathon is just 12 weeks away and I was feeling rested, so I started this week.  I’m a loyal follower of AnotherMotherRunner.com and I absolutely love their books.  Their Half Marathon Own It Plan from their book Train Like A Mother got me to a huge, huge, huge PR last spring of over 20 minutes at 1hr53minutes.  I never could have imagined that I could go that fast and while I was exhausted at the end of that race, I was so happy with the results and my ability to push through.

That smile says 'Huge PR'!

That smile says ‘Huge PR’!

This round of training I am going in a different direction, though.  My husband followed the novice marathon training plan from Run Less, Run Faster by Runner’s World this fall and I really like the idea of cross training more.  After being injured I decided I want to focus more on whole body wellness.  I want to do more strength training, include pilates and ride the bike or swim at the gym more during my training.  The idea behind the Run Less, Run Faster plans are that you have three quality runs each week – a long run, a tempo run and a speed workout, along with two cross training sessions.  ONLY THREE RUNS A WEEK.   Because you are running less, you have to make those workouts count so they give you very specific time goals to hit for each one.  One huge difference is the speed of the  long runs.  In the past I have taken my long runs very easy and haven’t watched my pace all that much – one to two minutes slower than race pace usually.  In Run Less, Run Faster all my long runs for half marathon training are going to be at half marathon pace + 20 seconds or half marathon pace + 30 seconds.  When deciding what my half marathon pace is going to be, I decided to focus on a range – keep my pace between a 1:50-2:00hr half marathon pace, with a focus more on the 1:50 side.    This is going to be challenging since I just ran a 2:04 in Phoenix a week ago at a lot lower altitude.  But I know I am capable of a 1:53, and that is something I keep reminding myself.  Also, this quote:

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As long as my body can hang in there, I am going to push myself to the limit for this race.

The first thing I always do is hand-write out my training plan.

Run Less, Run Faster Half Marathon Training Plan

Run Less, Run Faster Half Marathon Training Plan…with shiny stars for my completed workouts.

Why hand-write it?  I think it prepares me for the work ahead and lets me see the ebb and flow of the plan.  When there is a challenging week, and when there is a week of easier workouts.   Right now I have plugged in all the bike workouts as my cross training, but maybe I’ll throw in a couple swim cross training sessions as it gets warmer out.

Yesterday I headed out for my first long run of the plan.  I have chosen to do my long runs during the week while the kids are in school because my husband is a CPA and tax season is gearing up – i.e. work seven days a week for 12 hours a day from Feb-April 15th.  Rather than get a sitter every Saturday (which I did last year during tax season), I thought I’d get my long runs and tempo runs while the kids in school, and save the nice short track workouts for Saturday mornings when I can get up at 5am and be done by 6am for him to leave for work.  So.  The first long run.  8 miles at HMP(half marathon pace)+30.  I chose to use my 1:53 half marathon pace of 8:37 +30sec for this run.  It was a challenge.  My body is so used to falling into the 10min/mile pace that I have been using all winter – I was constantly looking at my Garmin to adjust pace:

Pace all over the board...

Pace all over the board…

And then there are those spikes…where I either had to stop at a stop light, take a water break, or have a walk break.  The first 6.5 miles were only the former two, but after that things started to go down hill and I had to include a few walk breaks.  I wasn’t super-pleased with myself, but I reminded myself this was my first long run at such a fast pace and (hopefully) I will look back at this run in a couple weeks and be so much stronger.  And how did I finish?  At a pace of 9:07, I should have completed 8m in 1:13:04.  Here is the result:

8miles in 1:13:07

8miles in 1:13:07.  Run Happy!

I’ll take it.

Today is a rest day and I am taking full advantage of it.  The rest of my week:

Wednesday: Spinning.  5min easy, 3x(5min tempo, 1min easy), 5min easy  and Pilates

Thursday: 3×1600 (60 sec Rest Interval)

Friday: off

Saturday: 1mile easy, 6miles at 8:40, 1mile easy

I’m looking forward to this Run Less, Run Faster adventure.

What training plans do you use?

How much cross training do you include and what types?  

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December Goals

Wow, did December just fly by?!  Seems like yesterday I was setting my goals for the month and today we are wrapping up the year.  So how’d I do?  I’d give myself 75%.

Goal 1:  Hit 1,000 miles for the year.  I did it!

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And with one more run on tap with my running friend, Ceci, I hope to end the year at 1,065!

Goal 2: Stay Healthy.  I’ve worked hard this month at really listening to my body and not over doing it (see Goal 3).  I have been doing a lot of foam rolling, stretching and self massage on my shin splint and it is feeling much better than the beginning of the month, although not totally healed.  At the beginning of December I still was holding out hope that I would be able to complete the full marathon at Phoenix Rock and Roll.  I really, really wanted to cross that finish line and had even given up all time goals just to be able to say that I had done it, but then I went in to my local running store (Heart and Sole) to buy a new pair of Mizunos.  I just love this running store and the people that run it – they are very experienced and always have great advice.  I started telling them about my injury problems this fall and how RnR was coming up and that I wasn’t sure what to do.  They reminded me that I have many, many years ahead of me and why push my body beyond what it is ready to do and risk further injury?  (This advice was accompanied by their own stories of ‘pushing beyond their limits’ and ending up hurt for months afterwards).  So that sealed the deal for me.  I needed someone to talk me down from the full marathon and they did.  I am now signed up for the half marathon on January 19th, and have been training as such.

Looking forward to earning one of these in a couple weeks!

Looking forward to earning one of these in a couple weeks!

Goal 3: Complete the Runner’s World Holiday Streak.  I loved, loved, loved doing the Holiday Run Streak last year.  It kept me focused through the busy holidays and got me out the door even when it was cold out.  This year was different, though.  I already had a goal – get to Rock and Roll without further injury – and after two weeks of streaking, I decided to take a break.  I was feeling worn down and tired and I knew if I pushed through the month of December running everyday I would be burnt out in January.  As I look back on the decision, I think this has shown my growth this year.  Last year I wouldn’t have stopped.  This year, I have learned that I am not invincible and injury can happen.  I’m ending the month stronger than I started, and I attribute that to having a few rest days here and there.

Goal 4:  Complete the Run Chat Holiday Scavenger Hunt.  I absolutely loved doing this Scavenger Hunt this month.  It kept my runs interesting and forced me to run some new routes to find some of the items on my list.  My favorite run was when I had just three more things on my list –  I knew where I could find the items, but they weren’t in the neighborhoods I normally ran in, so I set off on my adventure.  I needed to find a body of water, a railroad crossing and a local coffee shop.  What I thought would be a 3-4 mile run, ended up being 7 miles that flew by.

20131231-071153.jpgWhile I didn’t win any of the prizes from this contest this round, I connected with some new runners via twitter and instagram and looking forward to their next hunt this spring.

That is my December in a nutshell.  Accomplished most of my goals, stayed healthy, am on the road to Phoenix and am looking forward to setting my 2014 running goals.

Let me just close with this one last snippet about running goals.  My 6 1/2 year old daughter loves to hear about how far my husband and I run and is always asking about how far a 5k, 10k, half and full marathon are.  She has completed four 5k runs this year – some running, some walking – and really enjoys crossing a finish line.  This week she decided she wanted to up the ante.  She wanted to go to the track and try to run 4 miles.  On Sunday morning, I took her up to the local high school, strapped my Garmin to her arm and told her she needed to complete approximately 16 laps to hit 4 miles.  I didn’t really think she would complete it and reminded her every time she passed me that if she was tired it was ok to stop.  Well.  She did it.  She didn’t run the whole thing, taking several walking breaks, but she did complete all 4 miles.  She was so happy and proud, and it reminded me about what makes goal setting so important.  Setting goals for yourself pushes you beyond what you think you can accomplish.  It makes the impossible seem possible with the right training.  My daughters enthusiasm and belief in herself was so innocent and beautiful.  It will be something that sticks with me during those hard training runs this coming year.  Believe and you can do it.

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December Goals

It’s the 1st of December and time to set some goals to get through the holiday season.

1. Back in January I decided I wanted to set an aggressive goal of running 1,000 miles this year.  I had originally considered 1,200  but thought I would give myself some wiggle room for injuries, and thank goodness for that.  Since I’ve logged a few miles in the last few days I thought it was time to see if I was going to make the 1,000 mile mark by the end of December and guess what?!…..

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I’m 44 miles away from making the mark!  So goal #1 for the month – hit the 1,000 mile mark!

2. Stay healthy.  With Phoenix Rock and Roll just a month and a half away, I have some decisions to make.  I’m signed up for the marathon right now and conceivably could run/walk it if I add two miles a week to my long runs over the next 8 weeks, but I’ll have to see how training goes.  Is it the wisest decision to jump back on a marathon plan after a couple months off ?  No.  Is it hard to give up on my dream of taking on my second 26.2? Yes.  I can always drop down to the half marathon if things don’t go well in the next couple of weeks, but I’m going to see how it goes.  The ultimate goal is to stay healthy, though, so I can take part the race, whatever the distance.

3. Run one mile a day from Thanksgiving to New Years.  I love the Runner’s World Holiday Streak.  It keeps me accountable to something over the holiday and that 10 minutes of fresh air a day helps me clear my head.

4. Finish the Run Chat Holiday to Holiday Scavenger Hunt.  I love this idea and they are giving away some fun prizes for the people that participate.  You can follow people participating using the hashtag #runchathunt on twitter.