Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
Some of you will remember that back when I signed up for my first half marathon, I was pretty anal about creating a training plan and following it. I created my plan some 14 weeks before my actual race. I not only followed that plan all 14 weeks…I kicked its ass. I only had 3 10+ mile runs originally planned, and I ended up doing 6. (Let’s ignore the fact that I totally botched my original training plan and left out 2 full weeks, haha. Even so, I progressed much more quickly with my long runs than anticipated!)
This time is going to be a little bit different. I am just over 5 weeks out from the Nike Women’s Half in San Francisco, and not only have I have not stuck to a specific plan, but I’m also nowhere near the mileage I was at at this point last time.
However, there are a few differences this time around.
- I have been running 8.5-9 miles pretty much every week since my last half marathon (which was in March), with maybe 4-5 weeks of skipping it in favor of other activities (ahem, Color Run and stomping grapes) or of running a shorter distance. Last time around, it took me a whole 6 weeks just to work up to this distance, so the fact that I’m working with ~9 miles as my baseline is a great start.
- I also decided to spend a few weeks “training” for my long bike ride. I highlighted those in purple in my training plan so you can see where I was doing workouts that were out of the ordinary for me, but still served a purpose.
- After my half marathon, I started playing Ultimate Frisbee every week, which is excellent for speed/interval training. Lots of quick sprints! I’ve definitely noticed my running pace get faster.
- There is a massive hill on mile 10 of this race. It is probably 5x the size of the largest hill on my normal training route, and scares the living crap out of me.
So with all that in mind, I have decided on a little bit different of an approach for training this time around.
Instead of running 3 times per week and “lifting” 7 pound weights in my living room once a week, now that I have a gym membership I have decided to evenly split my time between running and weights/cross training.
My “weight lifting” is usually just ab/core work or a simple upper body workout, but I am committed to incorporating more lunges, squats, and lower body work on MWF. I prefer to run on Tues/Thurs, which is when I usually go to Boot Camp where I have an instructor yell at me to do those things 😉 I’m hoping the combination of lower body strengthening through plyometrics, the elliptical, and incline training will be enough to prepare me for at least any muscular limitations (as opposed to lung/endurance ones) that might haunt me on those SF hills.
I will also be running one 4-5 mile run each week in addition to my long run on Saturdays. Between Ultimate Frisbee and a treadmill incline workout, I’m pretty much getting the equivalent of 3 runs in each week, which is about right for me.
I am aiming to jump back up to 9.5 or 10 miles this weekend (the last time I ran 10 miles was on July 26th…just missed the cutoff for the spreadsheet! 😉 ) and will probably adjust the next few weeks based on how that goes!
While I followed my last training plan to a T, I know it is going to be a lot harder for me to stick exactly with a plan now than it was 9 months ago, for several reasons: 1) it’s essentially still summertime with lots of activities to distract me, 2) I now have a boyfriend who is equally active & super supportive, but we totally operate on different sleep/exercise schedules, and 3) the weather is WAYYY hotter now than it was back in January-March.
Basically, as long as I know my weekly goal is 2-3 gym trips, 2 runs, and 1 incline workout, it doesn’t matter to me which day of the week each happens. I will probably start keeping track of my pace to make sure I’m on target to beat 2:00:00 again, but otherwise I am taking a much more relaxed approach this time around. Maybe I won’t do as well, maybe I will. But the biggest achievement is to finish and to know that I tried my hardest along the way, and I can do that no matter how much (or little) I trained.
Do you stick with training plans for races?
How do you stay motivated to keep up with working out?