Today is the first day of my third week of half marathon training — aka W3, D1. So I thought it would be appropriate to check in. Partially for you, partially for me!
The last two weeks have been interesting, to say the least. You see, training for a half marathon has re-energized my health and fitness efforts. It’s given me a new goal to achieve, a new mountain to conquer. It’s also given me a new focus and something new to learn. Honestly, once I “master” something, I tend to lose interest. I believe in constantly improving, in continually learning. So if I reach a certain point and am not learning or being challenged, I lose interest and am ready to move on to something else.
That’s what happened with weight loss. While I still have 10 to 15 pounds I’d still like to lose, after a year and a half, I know what I need to do. There are still some things I can learn and perfect, but I wasn’t feeling challenged anymore. Mr. Hal Higdon has given me a new challenge: a set running schedule with increasingly difficult runs all leading toward a successful half marathon in May.
I’d been eager to start the new program for some time and was ready when W1, D1 rolled around. But week one, as a whole, was difficult. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. After two-a-day workouts for so many months, running once a day with no evening classes or strength sessions felt … well … lazy. I felt like I had too much time on my hands. And I felt like my runs weren’t long enough. But I wanted to give the program a chance. I finished off week one with the Leapin’ Leprechaun 5k, where I set a new PR. Oh, yeah, and there was some yoga, too. Which, by the way, I’ve decided will be an every-Sunday thing from now on.
Week one total mileage: 18 miles.
Enter week two. Before I started the training program, I’d been running four miles several times a week on a regular basis, so I decided to make Hal’s three-mile runs into four-mile runs. The run on Monday was, admittedly, slow and my legs were heavy. But, that was my own fault: I had to change around my leg day in the weight room to Monday morning instead of Sunday. So, I had done legs in the morning and a four-mile run at night. It was too much for one day. Lesson learned. But my run on Wednesday? It was glorious. Averaged 10-minute miles, but the day was gorgeous and I got to run outside.
Ended week two with, guess what, a race! Where, guess what, I set a new PR — one that I’ve been working toward for quite some time. I finally broke a 9-minute mile. Irish Jig 5k official chip time: 27:44. You know, 8:55 per mile. Win!
Week two total mileage: 18.25.
Perhaps I had been pushing my body just a bit two hard with two-a-days. Perhaps I really wasn’t eating quite enough. Perhaps my stalled weight loss and lack of progress as a runner was a sign that I needed to slow down, refocus and re-evaluate my goals. Perhaps Hal knows what he’s talking about!
This morning’s run was a good one. Averaged just over 10 minutes per mile again, but it felt good. I felt good. Did four miles, but the route had some uphill sections in it, so it was different than my typical runs. I simply love starting a new week with a solid, sweaty run. There is no cup of coffee that can provide that kind of a energizing kick at 5:30 a.m. on a Monday. At least not for me.
So, yeah, while it took a little getting used to, I am liking my half training schedule. Especially since it still lets me work in two days of strength training and a spin class each week. And, even, a Sunday morning bike ride now and again.
If you’d like to follow along on my training, come find me on Daily Mile.