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.

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The One Part of Running Club I Still Can’t Quit

Back in May, I wrote a post titled “What Makes a Runner?” in which I mentioned how I quit my college running club after two years of heavy involvement.  Long story short, there were many things that compounded into it not being healthy for me to remain an active member of the club.  I stopped going to practices, removed myself from the email list and Facebook group, and unfriended some of the members on Facebook.  I am significantly happier now.  However, there is one part of the club that I haven’t been able to let go.  Two, if you count how I like racing in the singlets. 😛

The club has a Google document.  “The doc” as it is affectionately called.  One for men and one for women.  Members use it to track their training.  It’s really very simple–there is a collective homepage with people’s names and total mileage from the current training period (e.g. summer), and each runner has her own page on the doc to track her training.  People like to customize it however they want and it can get very silly, which is part of the fun.

I still have a page on the doc.  I like to post my training there.  I like how it is an at-a-glance view of several weeks at once.  I like looking at other people’s training, although I avoid some tabs because I know that reading certain people’s pages will make me angry, annoyed, upset, or jealous.

My page through this week!

My page through this week!

I have thought before about the possibility of simply maintaining my own doc.  I could have the same structure for my page and I could reset it whenever I wanted, instead of on the scheduled reset dates of the club doc.  However, there is something about the community aspect that keeps me on the club doc, even if that is not a community I necessarily want to be a part of offline anymore.  I do still have a few friends in the club and I like to see their training and imagine they might be looking at mine, as well (my roommate does!).  Something about looking at other people’s training logs is fun for me.  Maybe it’s motivating, maybe just interesting, I can’t be sure.  Of course there are sites like Daily Mile, but something about this doc is different.

I think if I were a part of the exact same doc idea with, say, blog friends instead of runners from the club, I would quit the club doc.  For now though, I just don’t want to.  It might be weird when the new school year starts and freshmen get on the doc who have no idea who I am, but I will cross that bridge when I get there.  And hey, I was on the board last year and still didn’t know who some of the people on the Google doc were.  So, whatever. 🙂

This weekend I am going up north for 4th of July weekend and will be running a Firecracker 5k on the 4th!  I’m very excited, even though I am expecting a slow time (27:XX would be GOOD for me right now).  It will be fun to push myself and run in a new place, plus this is only my second race of the YEAR.  Expect a race recap sometime soon after!

Not Wanting to Run vs. Not Feeling Like It

Yesterday, I had a 3-mile run on the schedule.  Simple enough, short, not a problem.  I decided to do it in the evening after work because I was doing laundry in the morning and didn’t have any clean running clothes to wear.

Often when I schedule an evening run, I spend much of my afternoon at work looking forward to it.  However, yesterday, as early as maybe 2 o’clock, I was already starting to think about how I didn’t want to run.  I was tired, I just wanted to be lazy, I had other plans I would rather spend more time on… etc, etc.

I used a lot of mental energy arguing with myself about whether to run.  I knew I was more likely to do the run than to skip it because it was on my schedule and one thing I am pretty good at is sticking to a training plan.  Still, there was probably 30% of me that didn’t want to do it.  Or should I say, didn’t FEEL LIKE doing it.

In the process of eliminating that 30% that said “no, don’t run,” I focused a lot on asking myself whether I didn’t want to run, or whether I just didn’t feel like running.  I WANTED to run because I want to reach my goals.  I’m not going to get faster by skipping scheduled runs because I’m lazy, and I might finish a marathon that way, but it sure as hell won’t be pretty.  No, I just didn’t FEEL LIKE running yesterday.  There is a big difference, at least to me.  In fact, I found myself wishing that I did feel like running.  So, I focused on my goals and on the big picture, I laced up my big-girl shoes, and I ran.

I put it off as long as possible.  I ate dinner as soon as I got home from work a little after five, I took a nap and stayed in bed until seven… and then I got up, got changed, and got out the door faster than I have in a while.  I started really slowly because I wanted to be as comfortable as possible, since I didn’t really feel like being out there.  I figured I would run 10:15s and hope that felt okay in the heat (it was 82).  I texted Matt to tell him that I brought my phone because my heart wasn’t in the run.  He promised to send me plenty of good vibes. 🙂  Apparently he actually sent me a Snapchat, but I didn’t get it until later.

I ended up running into a friend I hadn’t seen in a long while and we ran together for a few minutes before we went our separate ways.  It was nice catching up.  The conversation got my mind off things and I let myself get pulled to run a little faster than I would have on my own.  By the time we split, I was feeling better.

I’m glad I ran.  I could easily have justified skipping the run.  It’s a down week in the training plan anyway, my leg was a little stiff…  But I’m glad I was able to focus on the difference between not wanting to run because I don’t care about reaching my goals (I do care) and not feeling like running on that particular day.

And after, I got to play LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game.

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!