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.

HHN1 Week 2 (6/1-6/8)

This morning, I discovered my calling as a Chipmunk Rescuer.  I was running past a house when I saw a cat in the yard holding something in its mouth.  It saw me, got scared, dropped what it was holding, and ran away toward the house.  Then, a chipmunk ran away from the same spot in the opposite direction.  I hope both animals can be happy now.

This is just a quick post about last week’s training.  Last week was Week 2 of Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 (non-)marathon training plan.  I have nothing much to say, except that I felt it went well and I am feeling ready for the plan to start increasing the distance of the Wednesday runs, which it does starting in week 3.  I’m also glad I was able to get real cross-training in on Sunday instead of just taking a walk.  I don’t know how often that will happen because I am still set on saving money by not having a gym membership.

Monday: rest

Tuesday: run 3.19 miles

Wednesday: run 3.06 miles

Thursday: run 3.07 miles + lower-body strength training at home with just my bodyweight (I was actually sore the next day!)

Friday: rest

Saturday: run 7.06 miles – I wrote about this here.

Sunday: 30min elliptical + 30min upper-body weights

Total running for the week: 16.38 miles (0.01 more than last week, haha.)

Are you training for anything?  Like I said before, I’m just using this plan in an attempt to safely build mileage and get healthy before training for spring races.  I have a few races this summer, but I’m just running them for fun. 🙂

HHN1 Week One

The disease-sounding name in the title (H1N1 anyone?) stands for Hal Higdon Novice 1 and this is my recap of week one of the Novice 1 marathon training program.  As I wrote about here, I’m not planning to run a marathon at the end of this training cycle, but I wanted some structure and this plan seemed to fit my goals.

The first week was really easy and probably exactly what I needed to recover from Bayshore the previous weekend.  It called for rest Monday, 3-mile runs on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, rest Friday, a “long” run of 6 miles on Saturday, and cross training Sunday.  Each week has the same rest, run, and cross-training days, so I’m sitting here on Monday of week two feeling ready to run, but reminding myself that I need to rest today.  I’m definitely not used to taking two days off from running in a row unless I am feeling hurt.

On that note, my takeaway from week one is that I really like the amount of rest this plan prescribes.  On Thursday, after having run three days in a row, I was feeling ready for rest and was happy that Friday was a rest day.  In addition, resting Monday after not running on Sunday gives me lots of physical and mental energy to tackle and enjoy the next three days of running.

I was surprised this week by the long run.  I thought 6 miles would be a piece of cake after running a half marathon the previous weekend, but the late-spring heat really got to me and I felt very bad for much of it.  It was approaching 70ºF when I went out at 10am and was already 75 when I finished an hour later.  I sweat easily and saltily, so even though I grabbed water at the halfway point, I was starting to feel nauseous by the end.  That is something I need to figure out how to handle this summer.  I’m hoping some of it will get easier as I get more acclimated to the heat, but I will also be heading out earlier in the day next time, when it hopefully will not be as hot.

I did not buy a spring/summer gym membership from the university gym this year (although I could still buy one if I wanted), so my cross-training this week was simply walking.  I went downtown to cheer the finishers at the Dexter-Ann Arbor run and pretty much walked all around town going into different shops, as well.  Once I get my road bike fixed, I might bike sometimes, but I really do like walking and honestly, my legs were tired by the end of the morning (I was on my feet for three hours), so I felt good about walking as cross training. 🙂

This is what my week looked like in far fewer words:

Monday: rest

Tuesday: run 3.03mi

Wednesday: run 3.48mi

Thursday: run 3.85mi (I underestimated the distance of the loop) + hip strengthening exercises after

Friday: rest

Saturday: run 6mi

Sunday: cross training – walked around downtown all morning

Total running for the week: 16.36mi 😀

How was your training last week?  Do you like to follow a plan or do your own thing?

Running, Adult Parties, and a Smelly Sentiment

The last few days have been really awesome.  It was pretty rough getting back into the work groove after a beautiful four-day weekend up north (northern Michigan).  Life on a lake in a cabin off a secluded dirt road etc etc, even if it’s only for four days, is idyllic and just swept me away.  I can’t wait to hopefully go back for the Fourth of July.

The good thing about working after a long weekend is that the week that follows is also a day short.  It is already Friday and it seemed to come up so fast.  I have a sushi date tonight and plans to go to a pool party on Sunday, so it should be another great weekend.

So what made these past few days awesome?  Well, after taking a couple days off after Bayshore, I started my summer training plan!  My first run back on Tuesday felt rough and I didn’t feel recovered from my race yet, but I felt better on Wednesday and ran Wednesday and Thursday as well.  The plan I am using calls for easy runs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, with rest Friday, a long run Saturday, cross training on Sunday, and rest again Monday.  It peaks at a 40-mile week after about four months, so my hope is that this can get me back to running the mileage I would like to be running in a safe, effective way.

The plan I am using is Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 marathon training program.  I’m not intending to run a marathon until the spring, but since the plan gives me the mileage I want and since I am feeling like a beginner again after all the injuries of the past year, I thought it seemed like a good way to go.  I’m also hoping that following a plan written by an experienced professional will help give me less of a chance of getting hurt than if I were to continue doing things my way and playing it by ear.  I’m looking forward to the next 18 weeks and to seeing where I am at the end of the program. 🙂

In non-running news, I went with Matt to the picnic his boss hosted yesterday evening.  It was interesting because it was an “adult party.”  With the exception of our friend Jack and one other employee, everyone was married and most people were at least 30, or nearing it.  Not to say that that is old, because it’s not, but it did feel a little funny being the youngest one (unless you count the one toddler running around, or the baby in the pregnant wife’s belly).  It was pleasant, just a very different experience.  Oh, and the hot dogs were great.  There was a puppy, too, but we didn’t eat him. 😛

The other important non-running news?  I had to throw away one of my favorite shirts this morning.  It is the T-shirt I got for 8th grade graduation back in 2006.  It still fits great and is really comfortable and soft, but when I put it on this morning I noticed the underarms still smelled even though it had just been washed, and when I looked, they were also stained. 😦  I took pictures so I would always remember this amazing shirt.  I mean, sentimentally amazing.  It’s nothing special except that it’s a special memory.

The Knights were the high school's mascot that I would have gone to (that my middle school fed into) if I hadn't gone to a different school.

The Knights were the high school’s mascot that I would have gone to (that my middle school fed into) if I hadn’t gone to a different school.

Because my high school graduating class was the Class of 2010.

Because my high school graduating class was the Class of 2010.

Do you have anything of sentimental value that you probably should get rid of but just can’t bring yourself to throw away?