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!

Fitness Personality: “The Thinker”

One of my friends posted this short fitness personality test on Facebook and I was bored so I took it.  It’s really an advertisement to get people to participate in the “Rewired Trainer” program Bodybuilding.com is hosting soon, but it was a fun little quiz regardless, and I can see the results applying to running as opposed to just weight training.

It says that I am “The Thinker,” which I think is pretty accurate.  You can view the whole “thinker” results sheet here if you want.  Essentially, it says I am analytical and prone to being a bit too ambitious, impatient, and a perfectionist.  All of those things are 100% me, especially as I think about what happened to put me on the sidelines again.  (My best guess is I was overeager… again…)

“You’re great at taking a lofty goal, doing the necessary research and footwork, and tackling it step by step. Unfortunately, you can also be your own worst enemy at times.”

Like my own worst enemy to get myself hurt when I do too much at once to try to reach a lofty goal!  Yes that sounds like me!

You tend to be a perfectionist in the gym, both for better and worse. You have a great plan, but the reality is that things don’t always go according to the plan!”

Yuuuup.  Two weeks ago, I planned out the rest of my running weeks leading up to the Bayshore Half Marathon on May 24th.  Last week when my hip was uncomfortable, I took three days off and then thought, “okay that’s enough, it’s not much better but I need to get as close to my mileage goal for the week as possible.”  Maybe I should leave the plans alone for a while…

It gives me this advice:

Slowing down. Everybody knows the saying about
the journey and the destination. For the next two
months, you’re going to really focus on enjoying
your time in the gym and opening yourself to the
experience of training rather than just the results.

I mean, I’m not following their gym training program, but the concept of enjoying the training journey instead of just focusing on the end goal is something I’ve actually been focusing more on in the last couple months since I started running again after my foot problem during the winter.  My problem is maybe I get a little TOO into the training journey sometimes and train too hard and end up on the elliptical for days. xD

Ibuprofen, stretching, foam rolling, and strengthening seem to be helping my hip at least marginally.  Using the elliptical feels totally normal, so I just kind of pretend like I’m running and it’s more mentally manageable.  It’s a bummer on a beautiful day like yesterday, but it has only been five days since I last ran, which I guess isn’t really that much, and hopefully I will be back outside soon. 🙂

What’s your fitness personality?