I’ve never trained for a half marathon before, but I know that a key part of it as a blogger is recapping my training experience. I’m actually super excited about this as I want to be able to read back on how my training progressed. I’m starting from nothing and want to be able to look back and reflect on how I felt each step of this journey. My plan is to write these throughout the week, on the same days that I do the runs and then post after I update with the last run.
Run One: Three miles, nice and easy. Only, not really. Because, while three miles will hopefully be a nice and easy run soon, currently they kick my butt. I fought for every step, but let’s face it, I didn’t sleep the night before and indulged in several drinks as well. But, I never considered skipping it, never considered stopping. I took a couple of short walk breaks, typically the length of one car, but otherwise ran the entire run. My average pace ended up being 12:09, with my fastest mile being completed in 11:16. Which mostly shows I have a lot to learn about pacing. While it wasn’t the easiest run in the world physically, emotionally and mentally I was fully engaged. It’s good that I’m so motivated right now and hopefully if/when the motivation lags the physical side will be easier and help carry me through.
Run Two: Four miles, with a one mile warm up, two miles running Fartlek style, and a one mile cool down. This run was tough. I took the first mile slower than yesterday, which helped as pacing doesn’t come naturally to me. I tend to run hard and then poop out, which clearly isn’t a good training strategy. My original plan was to try and run everything, but that didn’t happen. I embraced needing to walk between my speed surges and kept it to a minimum. I ended up running 2-3 minutes and then walking for 1 to recover during the middle two miles. And, of course mile 2 of today’s run has my fastest overall time for training thus far. What I’m really proud of is that I ran the entire fourth mile home. There’s definitely a mental component where I’m refusing to walk because I don’t want to fail at training. Hopefully it keeps going with me. I’m grateful that I’m done with half of my runs for this week and that tomorrow is cross-training and then a rest day.
Cross-Training: I took Loki for a brisk walk this morning, though to be fair we walk him every day regardless. My plan is to double up with another walk this evening, but it has to cool off out there first. My official cross training was some lifting. I know that my knees have a tendency to be wonky if I run without lifting, plus lifting legs is probably my favorite work out activity out there. I’m trying not to do too much with it and am following the advice of going with lighter weights and higher reps. I was surprised by how much faster I felt muscle fatigue compared to when I’ve lifted before training. I did 3 sets of 15 squats at 20 lbs then did 3 sets of double room length walking lunges with the same weights. I wrapped up by doing both sets of 10 leg curls and extensions at 45 and 55 and 70 lbs. I don’t want to ignore my upper body, but I think I’m probably going to work a lift for that into one of my rest days.
Run Three: Three miles, with two nice and easy before speeding up for the last mile. What a run. This is the first time I paid attention to my paces through the whole run, which was an interesting experience. It was distracting, in that checking my pace gave me something to do, but I can be a bit obsessive and probably don’t need to check every thirty seconds, much less every fifteen. My first mile clocked in at 11:09, I find it hard to take it easy at the start and really had to work to slow down to something maintainable. The second mile I slowed down a touch to 11:35. Since my instructions were to take the first two miles easy, I didn’t worry too much about the slow down. My main goal was keeping them under a 12:00 pace. For the last mile, I really focused on speeding back up. That wasn’t easy, but I did it. For my final mile, I picked the pace back up to 11:11. While I didn’t quite manage to speed up faster than mile one, I did at least pick the pace back up. I ran out of steam on my list 2 tenths of a mile or so, and had to fight for every step.
Run Four: Four miles, nice and easy. This is the run that almost didn’t happen. We have a friend in town, B got off of work four and a half hours late, and I had to teach this morning. Sometime around midnight last night, while we were still wide awake and chatting, I decided it just wouldn’t work to run this run today. I justified that I started my 12 week program 15 weeks out so I can skip some runs. And then I set my alarm. I actually woke up from not really sleeping before my alarm. And I got up. And I ran. I was slow. My slowest pace yet. But I did it. Four miles, all running. It’s hard to explain how proud I am of myself. It doesn’t matter that I was slow. It matters that I ran. That I stuck with it. Because, that is what will get me through 13.1 miles.
I just started my training. But I’m shocked by the changes I already see. Not in the ease of running. Not in my paces or form. But in my attitude. Because I don’t want to skip any run. Because I don’t want to quit. Bring it on.