Flying Solo

FxCam_1297975544963so lonely

Last week it became official: the three (nameless) individuals who I was supposed to run races with this spring (both Run the Bluegrass and the SLO Half) have, for various reasons, all backed out.

So I spent a lot of last week on the fence.  The weather was crappy.  Work was busy.  Shins were hurting.  I was exhausted.  Motivation was very low.  Training for 13 miles started to seem stupid.

On Thursday I made a deal with myself.  I would suck it up and do the 10 mile run on Saturday.  If I had any hip, knee, or shin pain, I would skip RTBG, mellow out on the longer runs for the next week or two, and re-evaluate for SLO.

Saturday morning I woke up really grouchy, not wanting to run at. all.  But (after a lot of bitching…sorry Paul), out I trudged.

The weather was…great.  And the run felt good.  Almost easy.

So for now, we’re sticking with the plan.  Sometimes flying solo isn’t a bad thing.


Spring Training Schedule


I have always found plans to be useless, but planning is indispensable.
~Dwight D Eisenhower

Sunrises lately have been ridiculous.

So last week I did one of my most favorite things: sat down and put together a training schedule.  I put some serious time into the presentation of my training schedules (that are generally excel sheets that only I see), color coding and making them look like this:


Because where’s the fun if you don’t seize every time you open up your schedule.

So, 2 half marathons in the next 4 months (late March and late April).  Time to get some structure up in these parts.

First: considering the fact it took me just about forever to feel normal running again, I am starting from the beginning.  Novice training plans.  No serious speedwork, no super hard runs.  I am not shooting to PR at either of these races, I  am just working to get my mileage base back since I’ve been out of the game so long and have found it so hard to get back.

Second: I have never been a competitive runner.  I’ve never had a coach.  I mostly run because just swimming all the time gets really boring.  But I do understand the basic structure of a training schedule for an endurance sport (thank you, decade and a half of swimming and coaching) and have done enough recreational running/triathlons to know at the very least what some of my limitations are.  Included in these are the fact that injuries tend to flare up when/if I:

  • Do too many consecutive days of running (especially after long runs)
  • Make every run a “hard” run
  • Don’t foam roll before and after every run
  • Don’t cross train/strengthen

One other thing that will be different this time around:

20140111_104104Yes, this.  I am working full time, (trying to) coach in the mornings again, usually running on minimal sleep, and dealing with a tiny HH.  Flexibility is really important.

When I put together a schedule for any race, I usually take a look at a few of the free options online (see: here, here, here, here for half marys…there are a ton) and build off of those.  (Runners World also has some more detailed training plans for a variety of different levels, but they cost money.)

Hal Higdon was my go-to when I trained for my first marathon.  Things I like about Hal’s approach:

  • He incorporates cross training/strengthening into the schedule.  It’s not just straight up running.
  • He provides alternatives on days that are not speed days or heavy mileage days, giving the runner some flexibility.
  • You can stick with his training schedule and avoid running multiple days  in a row.

Elements of Hal’s novice schedules that don’t work great for me:

  • The longest run on the schedule is significantly shorter than the race distance (10 miles for a half, 20 miles for a full).  Personally, I like to have one run that is close to race distance under my belt before race day, especially at this stage when I’m building back into a solid fitness level.
  • Race days are incorporated into the schedule.  I like this in theory, but in reality it probably is not going to happen.  Finding a 10K race somewhere in this region on one specific weekend requires a little too much logistical maneuvering than I am up for right now.  At this point I am less concerned with speed, more concerned with getting that base mileage in.

And so, for this spring, I have taken Hal’s basic outline and combined it with a slightly different mileage structure, and after taking into account a few other things (such as the fact that the race is on a Saturday instead of a Sunday…)

half mary
And yes, I am calling this a spring training schedule even though it’s January.

I will not hit every single workout on here, but it is what I’m shooting for.  I have, however, given myself five mandatory things I need to do each week (barring any extenuating circumstances, like an illness):

  • Complete the long run of the week, even if it doesn’t happen on Saturday.
  • Get at least 2 shorter runs in during the week, even if they aren’t the full distance.
  • On the days I can’t get a run or cross-training session in, complete hip/core strengthening exercises for at least 10 minutes, just to maintain a certain level of strength.
  • ROLL AND STRETCH before and after runs.  Because (a lot) of times I am squeezing runs into very tight time slots, this can be harder than it sounds.
  • Try to swim at least once a week at the very very least to stretch everything out.

You can also assume the majority of my cross training will be swimming (though the intensity/distance will vary), since I think I OD’ed on stationary machines the past 3 months.

Finished Week 1 yesterday.  So far, so good.