An Ambitious Plan

So, half marathon training is underway. It has gotten started in spits and spurts. The first week was fine, no problems except that first team run was very hot and humid and my guts threw a fit. I couldn’t finish the 4 mile route; I turned back early.

The second week was fine, but I missed the training team weekend run because I was onsite for the ACL practice all weekend. That was a great, energetic weekend, but when I got nipped on the back of the leg by a dog, opening up one of my spider veins, it set my running back a bit while that healed up enough not to reopen.

So Saturday’s six miles were the first miles I had run in over a week. I was nervous. I hadn’t run anything over 4-5 in a while and I hadn’t run at all in a few days. It turned out just fine. I paced with some women who were trying out the intermediate team (they found the novice to be a bit too novice) and stayed with them for about 4 miles. That was great until I realized I could push it a bit faster, so I asked if they minded if I went on. Of course not, so I picked up my pace a bit and went on.

After a little while, I was joined by Cooter Coach Greta (I am on Team Red Bellied Cooters, in case you are wondering at the term) and she and I ran together, talking and just going. She helped me get over that subtle and very long hill heading east on Grove Avenue that ALWAYS kicks my butt. My pride kept me from asking for a walk break, and I never really needed it. By the end, the last little bit at McCloy and the hill back up to the Stadium, I was very tired but determined, and that hill did not stop me. I felt like a hero when it was over.

Okay, an 11:35 min/mile pace hero, but still. I was very happy.

Sunday, rather than a rest day like the novice schedule says, and which I am used too, Sunday is now a 5 mile day. Unfortunately, I waited until the sunniest, hottest part of the afternoon to go out, and my legs let me know in short order that just because I had had a great run the previous day, I was not going to get a repeat performance. By the 3 mile point, if I had had my cell phone on me, I might have called for a pickup. I was just that tired. I am glad I didn’t though because I did finish out my 5 miles, and the last mile was hard but it was mostly downhill and that was good for my brain.

I overcame.

Mondays are for cross training. Thinking of the higher mileage schedule, I have decided to apply much more running focused cross training exercises. No Michelle Obama Shoulders Plan right now (though my shoulders still look pretty damn good from the training early in the summer and an active late summer). For now, it will be strength training focusing on my core and my lower body with the goal being to prevent injury. Also, I am going to really try and add some yoga workouts into my weekly routine. That will probably mean setting the alarm for 5:30 in the morning, and my discipline for that is WEAK.

One of my favorite fitness bloggers posted an article last month on strength training for runners to prevent injury. It was exactly what I needed to read and today, I put it to good use.

I am not used to circuit training; I am more programmed towards strength building through heavy lifting, then one minute or so rest between reps. Circuit training was surprisingly challenging; I broke a serious sweat. I followed Tamara’s suggestion to pull one exercise from each of the 4 categories: single leg hip thrusts (both sides), a 30 second plank, lateral lunges (both sides), and a bent over dumbbell row with 15 pound dumbbells (that was when I noticed my shoulders don’t suck, haha). I did the 4 exercises with no rest between, then a second repetition. I was challenged enough that I did not do my planned 3rd rep.

I liked that workout; I didn’t need special equipment and I could probably do it at home if I dug out my heavier dumbbells or found my E-Z bar. Afterwards, I did about 10 minutes of timed stretches focusing on my lower body and back, and especially on my IT band and lower back. I like that I can swap in and out different exercises if I am bored with say, hip thrusts, then I can just switch to the hamstring curls with a ball.

My goal is to do that workout twice a week; Mondays and Fridays would be the ideal. It feels ambitious to say I want to run 5 days per week, cross train 2 days per week, and then find some way to squeeze a yoga session in there as well.

It is a lot, to be sure, but I want to run my best time ever this November. Really, I do, and the only way to do so is train harder than ever and avoid injury. I have to shave about a minute per mile off my pace to reach my goal so speed work, tempo runs, and strength training and stretching will be extremely important to staying healthy.


One response to this post.

  1. So happy you liked my post (and my blog!) and were inspired to do the workout. Best of luck with your half marathon training (and the event itself, of course).


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