Monday, March 18, 2013

It's Training Time

Note: I wrote this post prior to leaving for the Princess Half, but things got crazy in those couple weeks before the race, so this didn't get posted! My apologies! My Princess Half Recap will be going up soon now that I have purchased the pro pics and downloaded my own pics onto my computer :)

I began my training following Jeff Galloway's recommended plan for the Princess Half, which started at the beginning of October. I could do three days a week! That seemed easy enough. I was using the run/walk/run method and feeling good!

Well, as you know, it can get a bit cold and snowy up here in Canada, so about 3 weeks into my training plan, Mother Nature decided it was time for Winter. Mix into that Daylight Savings and there was no light for me to do my midweek runs when I got home from work. As I mentioned before (in my intro post), living on an acreage is great! Until you have no light and have to run down secondary highways in the dark. Not the safest way to run, that's for sure.

Needless to say, life caught up with me and with winter and the dark as my excuse, I barely ran through the rest of October and November. Not exactly the best way to start training for your first ever half marathon, when prior to this, you had never run farther than about 3 miles. Hmmm.

My husband and I decided to invest in a treadmill. We knew it was not possible for us to run outside too much during this time of year, so we took the leap and purchased a treadmill. I started running again!

I also decided to invest in a new pair of running shoes and go to a running store, where they would know what type of shoe I required. I ended up purchasing the Asics GT-2000 in the black/pink/blue. I know, the purple is awesome, but for some reason I was drawn to the black pair. Anyways, I've been using these shoes now and my feet feel much better overall! I highly recommend investing in a proper pair of running shoes for your feet - it may cost a bit more, but it will make all the difference!

Photo Credit: ASICS America

I did my best to run twice during the week (for 30-45 minutes), but really, I was terrible at it. I'm a bit worried about that coming into these last couple weeks, but it's too late now! I was hoping that keeping active by dancing 3 times per week would help make up for this, but we will see!

One thing I made sure to do every week was to at least get out for my "long" run in order to increase my mileage. Starting at the end of December, I began at 5 miles, adding about 1 mile per week as I went along:

5 miles
6.13 miles
7 miles
8.07 miles
4.11 miles
8.06 miles
5.13 miles (*this was supposed to be 10 miles, but didn't go as planned - see below)
6.32 miles (taper week)

I did just over 8 miles on two separate runs, and both times felt great! I probably could have gone farther on both those days, but didn't want to increase my mileage too much more than that each week, especially since I was slacking on my mid-week runs. These 8 mile runs were also the ones where I tried out my tutu that I had ordered for the race. I needed to make sure I could run in it without any problems like chaffing! It was going to be perfect!

As you can see, I was hoping to make it to 10 miles two weeks before the race. Well, that did not exactly happen. In the weeks before the race, I had a lot going on. I was sick with a head/sinus cold that was wearing down on me after almost two weeks of being sick. I also was trying to get my Masters paper finished before we left for Florida. I was dancing four days a week at that point (subbing for my friend's classes in addition to my own two weeks in a row). I was exhausted and everything about my body was anti-run that day. But I needed to do 10 miles, so I made myself run that day.

Well, I made it just over 5 miles, which was a miracle in itself considering that I was less than 1 mile in and already struggling. I was so tired. My walk breaks were getting longer than my runs (I was trying to keep up a 2 min run/1 min walk interval). I was actually concerned the treadmill would throw me off at one point because I was having trouble keeping up. I stopped for a quick bathroom break, thinking that would help and got back on the treadmill. And then I started crying. Not just a tear or two but it was getting close to ugly cry territory.

I knew that was the time to stop. I was actually amazed I had even made it that far, quite honestly! I wasn't going to make it to 10 miles before the race. I was so worried and stressed out and was not even sure I would be able to run 13 miles, having only made it to 8 miles twice. I learned an important lesson that day though. Listen to you body! Sometimes it is more helpful to rest than run. Sometimes you have bad runs and that is ok. The key is in recognizing when to run and when to stop and try again another day.

My last run before the race was 6.33 miles the following week. I felt awesome. I knew I could have done more that day as well, but I had to get up early on Sunday, so I decided to stop there. It was that run when my "aha" moment came. I was going to run a half marathon in 1 week...and I was going to finish!   

Have you had any bad run days? What lessons did you learn?

Next up...Princess Half Marathon 2013 Recap!