HHN1: Thoughts on the First Six Weeks

I realized this morning that last week was the sixth week of my current training plan (catch-up: I’m using Hal Higdon Novice 1 marathon training to build mileage this summer).  The plan is 18 weeks long, which means I am officially a third of the way through it.  I think it would be jinxing things to make any comments about levels of health or success up to this point, but I do want to reflect on the past weeks a little bit.

I stopped doing weekly training recaps after the second week of the plan because I was finding them boring to write.  I already keep a training log for myself, so it’s not like I need weekly blog write-ups to hold myself accountable or to give me something to look back on.  I thought about posting a training recap today, but instead, here are some general take-aways looking back at the first six weeks of the program.

  1. I like having a structured outline of what days I will be running and how far.  I have never followed a training plan before and this takes a lot of the guesswork out of training for me.
  2. I was concerned about how the plan has three consecutive run days each week–Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  I’m finding that I can handle it physically, but sometimes I feel burned out by the third day.  The last two weeks, due to other scheduling issues, I have switched Thursday’s run day and Friday’s rest day, which I have liked better.  However, I’m going to keep sticking to the plan as much as possible.
  3. Following this plan has afforded me more consistency with running than I have had all this year.  My reasoning for choosing this plan was that I thought it was my best chance at the moment of rebuilding mileage as safely as possible.  So far, it seems to be helping me do that.  As a result, I have been able to run consistently and am starting to feel like I am slowly but steadily regaining fitness.  It is hard to see changes day-to-day, but as these first six weeks have compounded, I have started feeling more confident in my running.
How I am doing so far. Green means I did it, yellow means I did it with some modifications, red means nope.

How I am doing so far. Green means I did it, yellow means I did it with some modifications, and red means nope. Compare to my Google doc! 😉

On Thursday, I wrote that I would be running a 5k the next day and that I thought 27:XX would be difficult for me to achieve given my current level of fitness.  I will be writing a race recap tomorrow, but just to spoil it a little: I ran 27:04 and regrettably had something left in the tank at the end.  That is evidence to me that I am starting to improve again.  My 5k PR is 24:49, which suddenly doesn’t seem so far away anymore.  I’m doing this plan to build a base to hopefully train for a spring 2015 marathon this winter, but a shiny new 5k PR certainly would not hurt… 😉

All in all, I am happy with this training plan so far.  The exciting newness of it has worn off, but of course I am sticking with it and I 100% plan to see it through to the end.  This Saturday will be the first long run of the plan that is over ten miles, so it feels like I am just now moving into the meat of the program.  Additionally, since I have never run longer than a half marathon, I am quickly approaching brand new territory.  I look forward to seeing how the next weeks of the plan play out.

Thoughts from Today’s Long Run

This morning, the plan said to run 7 miles. On Thursday, I had asked Matt if he wanted to accompany me to a nearby park for the day’s 3-miler. He said he couldn’t make it but offered to run with me Saturday instead. When I said I was running 7 on Saturday, I totally did not expect him to want to come, but he offered! It was very exciting.

We got to the park around 8:30am and set out for the run. I really feel bad that my current comfortable pace is so slow because it’s so below his level, but every time I told him to go ahead if he wanted, he said he wanted to run with me. 🙂

Last week, I ran 6 and I was expecting it to feel short and easy, but it didn’t because of the heat. Today, I had no such expectations. I can tell that I am slowly regaining fitness, but it is going to be a looong process and my confidence has truly been shaken. I am so far from the 8:35-pace 10-miler I remember running nearly two years ago.

Today, as with last week, I found myself questioning whether I would even finish. Honestly, I knew I would finish, especially because there was no way Matt was going to let me cop out, but I still questioned how I would do it. Of course, 7 miles isn’t very far, but I guess I was struggling mentally. Physically, I felt fine and my pace was extremely consistent, but I kept thinking negative things. Things like, “I’m not even halfway,” “I still have X amount of miles to go,” etc.

In the end, I was okay. I finished the distance no problem. My last mile was the quickest by about 15 seconds. I ran the last mile on my own because Matt decided to go ahead after 6 miles, but it seemed to pass quickly and I wasn’t dying. At least, in hindsight I wasn’t dying. I probably felt differently in the moment.

I know it is going to take a long time to get back the fitness I once had. I know it will take patience and consistency. And if my confidence is lacking, I need to fake it till I make it. Because I can’t keep asking myself if I am going to be able to finish my runs. I won’t always have someone there to keep me moving forward. I know I can run these distances and they would not be in the plan if I couldn’t. I need to trust and enjoy the process and the results will come. 🙂

I’m feeling positive looking forward!

Training 5/5-5/11/14

This past week was a great week of training for me.  The last time I hit 20 miles for a week five weeks ago, I was ignoring hip pain that ended up needing a week off to rectify.  I started thinking there must be something wrong with me where I can’t even run 20 miles without getting hurt, even though I have ran more than that in the past.  My highest week ever was last spring at about 45 miles, although I got a stress fracture shortly after.

I am still learning how to recover properly and figuring out what works best for me, but I’m really hopeful that this is the start of some solid, consistent base building this summer.  I’m scared of saying things like that because I know the tiniest thing can push my body over the edge, but hopefully if I’m careful, I won’t be putting my foot in my mouth by saying it.

Training last week was pretty much just running.  I didn’t do any strength training besides a few pushups after one of my runs.  That is something I want to change for the coming week, even if it is just a couple short at-home yoga sessions.

Monday: Still very sore from my long run the day before – 20 min recovery yoga before bed.

Tuesday: 2.47mi easy, STILL sore from the previous Sunday…

Wednesday: off – took a walk with Matt after work that ended up being about 3 miles. 🙂

Thursday: 5.27mi easy before work.  I stopped two or three times to stretch for a few seconds when I felt little pulls, which definitely felt like it helped.

Friday: 3mi easy before work with a couple friends + a few strides at the end.

Saturday: off

Sunday: 10mi – first double-digit long run since November that I wrote about here!

Total running for the week: 20.74mi

I’m so excited that number is a twenty. 🙂  Here’s to small victories.