It’s Saturday afternoon, after a long run, some coffee, and food. Ben and Bandit are snoozing, so I’m taking this opportunity of quiet time to put some thoughts down.
First, some great things that I’ve read lately
Beaucoup kudos to Allison for her great race at the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon. I loved a recent post that kept on on the edge of my seat as I read it: Inverted Sneakers’ Fantastic Race Report on the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon
Sarah is a sage, and as always full of wisdom: Running on Healthy’s Why I Don’t Do WIAW
I’ve been following Angie of My Outdoor Running Adventure for a while now. If you love nature (and dogs), you should definitely follow her Facebook and Instagram accounts because Angie just has the coolest shots of all the incredible places that she and her trusty sidekick, Kobi, run. I particularly enjoy Kobi’s “comments” on the photos: My Outdoor Running Adventure Facebook & Instagram
I also want to thank Angie for the lovely gifts she sent me and Bandit. Bandit was totally thrilled about her treats from Kobi. We could tell how much Bandit wanted them because she played dead before we asked her to (it’s a trick she doesn’t particularly like doing) and drank lots of water so she could go pee and game the system because we give her treats after going. Angie also knitted me some lovely half gloves, which I adore. The weather is cooperating so I’m even able to use them right now in May! The gloves are absolutely perfect for work in the winter when I freeze to death in my office.
If you’re curious what it’s like to be a runner around the world, I totally recommend these series of posts, Running the World, from My Heart’s Content. It’s fascinating reading about running culture in other places.
Lastly, listen to this podcast, I’ll Have Another. Lindsey interview Laura and Kyle of Salty Running, the blog that I contribute to. These ladies are fun and I love the fun quips (e.g., I run to catch a man).
Next weekend will be my big goal A race of the Spring 2016 race season: Run for the Red Pocono Half Marathon. Last winter when we were discussing which races we should sign up for, I found the Run for the Red Pocono Marathon. The incredible net decline, the fact that it goes past our 48 acres in the Poconos, and that it was a mid-May race made it very attractive. Originally I intended to sign up for the marathon thinking that I had a great training from Wineglass and that I could easily ramp up in January after we came back from our honeymoon. I came back with some serious bronchitis (yes, I still have it, it’s lingering) and I knew I wouldn’t be able to recover in time to train effectively.
Anyway, getting bronchitis wasn’t so devastating because even if I hadn’t gotten sick, I still wouldn’t have been able to do marathon training. I realized that my work demands and schedule in the spring are not conducive to marathon training. I know there are other people who work much longer and harder hours than I do and are still able to train, and hooray for them, but personally, I can’t handle it.
I spent January and February doing minimal miles. Never pushing myself because of the severity of the bronchitis. Just a few miles every week so that I was doing a little something. I ran easy and slow. I ran whatever I felt like in terms of distance and speed. The frustrating part was that until I started running, I had no idea what my body was capable of. One day a 3-mile run at 9:30 pace felt fine. A few days later, it was a struggle to do one mile at 11:00 pace.
Once more of the coughing cleared, I slowly added miles in March. I added short bursts of fartlek to reintroduce speed work. I added short and slower tempo runs. I added more mileage.
In April I began more serious training. Tuesday was speed work. Thursday was tempo. Saturday or Sunday was a long run. I got faster, but I was still coughing. There were a number of not so great runs.
I’ve been spending late March til now to get into as good of a shape as I could in those 7 weeks. While I’m not in PR shape (something that I had hoped for earlier in the year), I’m in pretty reasonable shape. Whatever training that I’ve done and the PR-friendly race course will help get a good time at the half. I’ve also been treating this period as a base-building period for summer marathon training.
I’m curious to see how well I do in this race for a number of reasons. Because of bronchitis, I’ve done more long slow runs than I’ve ever done before for a half marathon. My usual six week half marathon training consists of a ton of short fast speed work (most under 2 miles in total distance), and tempo runs (3-5 miles) and 2 long runs of 10 miles at a steady state pace (10 secs faster to 20 secs slower than goal pace). This time around there were far fewer speed work and tempo runs, and way more long slow runs.
The other reason is that the half marathon will give me a solid idea about my current level of fitness going into marathon training. Last year, I went into marathon training after taking two months off running. Obviously the start of last year’s marathon training was rough because I went from 0 miles/week to 18 miles/week right away. It took about a month to figure out the right goal time for the training plan because if I had used the current level of fitness, the training plan was quickly going to be too slow later on, and if I had used the goal MP, the training plan was too hard in the beginning.
I feel pretty solid about what I’ve done so far. I’m really looking forward to this race.