Thursday, February 26, 2015

Half marathon training is officially underway

Training for the Drake relays half marathon is officially underway, based on two factors:

1. The calendar.

2. My dreams.

This past week, I've already had two running-related dreams. The more recent one was pleasant and inspiration: I realized that while I'd been missing workouts, I'd been consistently doing my long runs, and doing them well.

Earlier this week, though, I dreamed that I was doing a half marathon, in which even my stop for a meal (?) didn't halt my momentum through mile eight or 10.

What totally derailed me in this dream race was reaching the indoor portion of this race. As soon as I got inside the building, I struggled to figure out the route and had a total and complete meltdown.

It wasn't even a PR-attempt race, but I told my boyfriend that I was DONE, maybe even insisting that someone (him?) come pick me up — I wasn't even going to finish.

Fortunately, week one of the training schedule more resembles the first dream I described, not the second.

More on that once I have a bigger sample size of runs with a purpose.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Eating my words, spring half marathon edition

As promised, here comes my explanation for signing up for a spring half marathon, something I declared I wouldn't do again*.

The best explanation I have to offer is that this is a practice half marathon (there I go again, saying things that only "real" runners say).

A half marathon registration forces me to run, and that the training program puts me in optimum 5K shape, which I need in order to redeem myself after last year's Friendly Sons fail.

Yes, I could do these things without spending $60 to wear myself out on my day off work. I could also totally bail out on the financial commitment.

I probably won't do either, though. I'll spend two month being some combination of sore, sleepy and starving, complain about it the entire time, and then (finally) be grateful I did at the end of each race.

Nonrunners and some really intrinsically motivated runners might not understand, but I have full faith that most other runners are nodding their heads emphatically or empathetically.

My choice of race — the Hy-Vee Road Races half marathon — might also have some of you wondering about my sanity. In descending order of importance, my reasons for picking it are:

1. It's a month-plus earlier than Dam to Dam and on my regular day off of work. The timing thus hopefully works better for training and racing weather, and it definitely lines up better with the 5K race date.

2. The horrible hills at the end of this route are very close to where I live, so I can prepare myself — it won't make them that much easier, but it'll help me, mentally.

3. I know the route is a beast, and I know that race-day weather is a total crapshoot. With that in mind, I'm highly unlikely to secretly and/or realistically think about a PR attempt during what's supposed to be a shake-it-out event.

4. Cory and I were able to guilt friends into joining us. (Zach and Emily are totally going down.)

Base-building is in progress right now; full-on training starts Feb. 16-ish. Wish me luck.

* Have you noticed that of my first four posts in 2015, half of them address me retracting previous posts. So much humble pie.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Putting my plan to the test

I opened 2015 the same way I've done for the past couple of years — by not running.

This time, though, I committed to not running. I sketched up my workout routine through the end of April as follows:

* First few days of January: Total rest.

* Weeks of Jan. 5 and Jan. 12: Moderate cross-training (biking, "Just Dance," yoga, walking).

* Week of Jan. 19: Mostly cross-training, but add a two-mile run.

* Week of Jan. 26: Two short runs, plus cross-training.

* Weeks of Feb. 2 and 9: Three runs a week.

* Week of Feb. 16: Vacation and recovery.

* Week of Feb. 23: Time to train for the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick 5K, on March 29, and the Hy-Vee Half Marathon, on April 26. (Yes, I know I declared myself done with all spring half-marathons and this one in particular, but that's a post for another day.)

I designed this to achieve three goals: avoid spring-race-signup-overexcitement, which results in me getting tired of running long before said races; accommodate a nearly weeklong vacation; and acknowledge that Midwest winters can be beastly.

I'm confident that goals one and two — the one I can actually control — are in the books. As for the third one ... well, it turned out there wasn't much horrible weather in January to avoid. (It's here now! Just like the multiple-run weeks on my schedule!)

Let me be clear: I am NOT complaining about mild temperatures and dry skies. I'm just a little sad that my moment of clarity on winter workout planning came a year too late.

At least I'll have that spreadsheet ready for all the miserable Januaries to come.