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.

10 Miles! First Time Since November

I stayed at my mom’s apartment for Mother’s Day over the weekend, and Sunday morning she kindly agree to drive me to a nearby metropark so I could get my long run in early.  I’m running the Bayshore half marathon on May 24th, so this was pretty much my last chance to get a ten-miler in before the race.

I hadn’t run 10 miles since November 3rd, so I was both excited and apprehensive going into it.  All Saturday, I just couldn’t wait until my Sunday long run.  I couldn’t get it off my mind and was excited to do it, which is refreshing because I haven’t felt excited for a long run in a long time.  Lately, I have been more dreading them than anything.

When I first started running, I almost always ran with music.  Then, for about a year or more, I almost completely stopped listening to music on runs, mostly because some people I knew were saying things like, “Who listens to music when they run??” and I was obsessed with trying to be a “real” runner.  Lately, I have been listening to music more often again on solo runs.  However, since I don’t plan to use music during Bayshore, I decided to do Sunday’s long run without music.  Now THAT I was worried about.

I ended up being perfectly fine on the no-music front. 🙂  I didn’t even really notice that I didn’t have anything playing and I don’t think it made the run feel any different than it would have with music.

The last two weeks, I have done my long runs primarily on trails, but again, in the interest of preparing for Bayshore, I opted to run 100% on pavement this time around.  It killed me passing trailhead after trailhead and not being able to turn onto them!

The park I was running in has a paved bike/hike path that is supposedly 8.5 miles long.  I’m a bit confused about whether it is actually a loop or whether that is the distance of disparate sections combined, because I followed it 4 miles one way and ended up outside the park in a downtown area!!  So I ran a mile through the cute downtown, then turned around and headed back the way I came to make it 10.  It was warm and sunny and I was starting to feel severely dehydrated between miles 4 and 7, but I was able to stop in a CVS for a nice long drink from a water fountain around 7 miles, which totally saved me for the rest of the run. 🙂

I didn’t feel great, but I’m SO HAPPY about this run for a couple of reasons:

  1. I’m confident I will be perfectly fine to finish Bayshore despite a virtually non-existent training cycle, even if my time is very slow, since I did my other two halfs on longest runs of 10 miles.
  2. The better one: I had NO abnormal pain.  No nagging aches, NOTHING.  Nothing beyond the normal fatigue at the end of a long run. 🙂  I’m so very very happy about this.

I started typing this post Sunday night, but didn’t finish it until this morning (Monday).  Last week, I was sore for a solid three days after my long run and kept getting sore again even after shorter, easy runs.  This morning, I woke up with ZERO soreness.  Literally none.  I am pleasantly surprised (it might be because this park was significantly flatter than anywhere I can run in Ann Arbor).  I had a headache all day yesterday, presumably from dehydration, but other than that, I guess I recovered pretty well.  That hopefully means I can get another solid week of running in before a mini-taper next week. 🙂  Last week was only my second 20-mile week since NOVEMBER, and I’m hoping to get 25 miles in this coming week.  I’m very excited. :3  But only if I feel good for it, of course.  Focusing on recovery has helped immensely and I am not going to push myself to another injury.

I was going to write about spending Mother’s Day with my momma, but this post is getting pretty long, so that will have to wait for another day.

Did you run long this weekend?  Tell me about it!

Training Recap: Week of 4/28-5/4/14

I’m actually amazed that last week was still April for half the week.  Even though it doesn’t feel like it outside, it is distinctly May in my mind right now.  Not sure why–maybe because I’m out of school and a bunch of people just graduated on May 3rd.

My hip is doing a lot better and actually felt amazing after my long run on Sunday.  Last week, my hip was a little tight after my long run, but this time I’m just regular-sore.  I’m actually more sore from yesterday’s long run than I have been from a run in a long time.  I’m probably going to try this recovery yoga video tonight.

I ran three times last week with two rest days.  I’m trying to incorporate some form of strength training into my routine twice a week, which I did last week on Monday and Wednesday.  I’m still debating whether I want to spend $90 for a student gym membership for the summer, or whether I just want to do bodyweight exercises at home.  I’m not taking summer classes, so I can’t get into the gym for free over the summer. 😦  I’ll probably buy the membership, but I’ve had to spend so much money lately that I’m hesitant.

Monday: Upper body weights in the morning (hit 70lb for 3 reps on bench press for a rep PR–my 1RM is 75lb–and it felt easy! This is why I should maintain a gym membership.) + 25 min yoga in the evening following this video.

Tuesday: 3.8mi before work

Wednesday: Bouldering in the evening for an hour (tons of long breaks obviously)

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 3.34mi after work.  I felt amazing during and after this run.

Saturday: Off for graduation festivities. 🙂  Lots of walking though!

Sunday: 8.28mi, mostly through trails and parks.

Total running for the week: 15.42mi

I’m really happy with how this week went.  Sunday gave me confidence that I will be able to get through the Bayshore Half Marathon on May 24th.  I ran my PR there last year, but with my general lack of training and low mileage this winter, I was honestly worried about even being able to cover the distance this year.  I’m feeling much better about that now!

How about you?  How was your running/training/working out last week?  I hope you have an excellent start to this week!