Tis the Season……Let the Training Begin!

Tis the Season……Let the Training Begin!

It’s been a busy busy week with work and Christmas and Running!  I fell down in the Blog posting department.  Since one of my million baby steps is about learning to forgive myself when I mess up, I’m hoping you can forgive me too! 🙂

On the home front,  the Christmas tree is up, and lit, and glistening, and pretty.  Bathing the house in soft color and light.   Ahhhh, the smell of Douglas Fir.  L.O.V.E. I.T.!!   Christmas Cards are in progress, and most (most) shopping is done, although Peter is proving to be my toughie this year.  How can a guy not want anything?  I joked that I can manage to find something new I want every single day — a new cover for my kindle, a new water bottle for running, a new pair of boots…….go ahead, try me.  every single day.   For me it’s about restraint.  It’s about not buying something every single day.   For Peter it’s about indulging.  Learning how to ask for something and splurging on himself.  It’s OK.  Go overboard once a year!   You are worth it!!  C-o-m-e—O-n!!

Anyway, I have been busy at work in New York this week with clients, which also gave me the chance to meet and catch up with my friend Marathon Brian.   With the start of my Half Marathon training rapidly approaching, I wanted to show Brian my training schedule and get his opinion.  I found the schedule on-line, and what I like most about it was a couple of things:  1) It was 16 weeks – so I had time to build myself up, being a beginner runner I need that time.  Some of the 12 week schedules are just too aggressive for me.  2) It had me running only 3 days a week, which is sort of what I am used to doing already, which helps me balance running and a really complicated work schedule. 

When Brian looked at the schedule, he saw different things and offered some advice that he thought would help me.  Firstly he saw that this schedule was starting too slowly.  Not aggressive enough he says.  [Huh.  I’m more capable than I think.  Weird!]   It had me starting way back at 3 mile long runs, and since I was already capable of 6 mile long runs – he felt I could do better.  Secondly, this schedule didn’t have a taper before the race.  What is a taper? you ask.   Well according to a lot of the literature around running, particularly marathon running, one of the most important aspects of marathon training is the taper phase.  During the final two weeks leading up to the big race, tapering is about reducing weekly and long run mileage so that you will be fully recovered from previous workouts while at the same time being completely rested for the big event.

Sooooo, Brian gave me a new game plan.  He took his NYC Marathon Training Plan, cut it in half (distance wise) and adjusted it to me for my Half Marathon.  He set up a plan that incorporated all the aspects I was looking for, mmmm and some I wasn’t.   He gave me a 19-week plan giving me time to build my endurance.  He gave me the taper, so I would be strong and rested come race day….but I had to bite the bullet and accept that it’s better for me to have 5 running days a week.  Five, instead of 3.  Ugh.  Well, here is how it lays down.  Most of my week day runs will be between 2 or 4 miles – completely doable.  My long run is still on Sunday, with my first long run starting at 5 miles and building up to 11 miles.  11 miles, WOW.   The long run on Sunday is then followed by a short recovery run of 1 and 1/2 miles on Monday.  It was so interesting to hear Brian talk about the importance of the recovery run the day after a long run.  Apparently many runners believe that you need a slow recovery run the day after a long run, or the race itself, to help clear the lactic acid from your muscles, and get blood flowing to your legs.  Recovery runs appear to be a bit of controversy when you read about them online.  Other runners call them junk miles, as if to infer they add no value to the training regime.  Well, for me, I’ve decided to only label miles I take in my car as junk miles.  My mentality is and will forever be:  If I log a mile on my own two feet, there Ain’t Nothin Junk About It! 

So in summary, my Half Marathon Training Plan will have me running for the next 19 weeks, between 5-6 days a week, mostly in the dark at obsenely early hours of the morning.   My weekly mileage starts at about 12.5 miles (which I am already doing now) and climbs to 22.5 miles per week.   When all is said and done and my training is complete, I will have put in over 343 miles on my own two feet.   That’s like running 26 Half Marathons! 

In my final moments with you today – I will share with you a saying I saw on a T-shirt.  It read, “I’m doing the Half Marathon because I am only Half Crazy”.  Mmmmm, I might have to rethink that part of the plan because I think I’m full-on Nuts!  But I’m also really excited, and happy!  With each run I’m on my way to becoming capable  (remember??) …. aka more able….of accomplishing just about anything I want.  And That, my friends, is a delicious Holiday Treat, I tell ya!

Ciao for now…..Diane

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