This was kind of big decision to finally make. My mom, has become quite a runner herself over the past two years and last year she ran this half marathon. I am still relatively new to the blog world, but bloggers and my mom have inspired me to really begin running and do a half marathon. I have read tons of posts about people's running stories and it made me finally realize that I could do this. I finally committed to actually doing the race by registering for it just two weeks ago. It will be on Saturday, January 8 at 5:40am.
I have always been in awe of runners and wished that I could run like that. I remember dreading PE class in middle school because we had to run the dreaded mile. It was like some kind of punishment. I was usually always the last one to finish and I felt like such a loser. The rest of the class would cheer me on and stuff, but that mile was hard and uncomfortable. Not that people didn't already realize I was fat and out of shape, but this really proved it.
I remember wishing I could run well and enjoy doing so. I sometimes had, and still have, dreams about running fast in a big, green field and feeling so happy. Those dreams made me want to run, but when I tried my body failed me. All of that is to say I always wished I could be a runner. Nothing changed for several years, I lost some weight and gained it back, until I finally had a kind of "aha!" moment or "tipping point" about two years ago. That is when I decided that I was going to change my life, lose weight, get healthy, feel good, and do it for myself. At the beginning of 2010 I decided that I would try running and found a simple run/walk plan that would gradually get me to run 30 minutes straight. I got about halfway through, got caught up in finishing college, and kind of got off track. I didn't stop completely, but I didn't add anymore minutes to my run time. Summer came and I discovered tons of new blogs. There were so many stories of people who lost weight, made healthy changes, were happy, and loved to run. Reading those stories was the final kick in pants I needed to fully commit to running. I have run two 5Ks since and really love running now. I am not a super fast runner, but I enjoy doing it and how great it makes me feel.
My mom, who is actually training for her first marathon that same weekend, heard about the book Marathoning for Mortals by John "The Penguin" Bingham and Coach Jenny Hadfield. She kept talking about how much information was in it and that she thought I could do a half marathon if I trained for it. I read the book, which really is fabulous, and decided I would do a half marathon. The book has four different training plans for both a full and half marathon. After honestly answering the questions provided I decided that the run/walk training plan would be best for me because I am still a novice runner. It is a 14 week plan that has me running three days a week, one which is a long run, two days of cross training, and two rest days. The authors say that if you follow the plan you will be prepared to complete the half marathon.
The book is easy and interesting to read. It is divided into five sections: Getting Started, Training, The Toolbox, Game Face, and finally the Training Plans. The authors explain that anyone can do a marathon if they take the time to train and have the right mindset. It is a great, inspiring book, that you should definitely read if you are thinking about long distance running.
My first week of training looked like this:
Monday: 35 mins Run 3min Walk 2min
Tuesday: Cross Train 30 mins
Thursday: 35 mins R3/W2 & 4 Stride/Form Drills
Friday: Cross Train 30 mins
Saturday: 3 miles R3/W2
With this plan they really emphasize the importance of training according to heart rate or perceived exertion. My training runs are done between 60-75% of my maximum heart rate, (in the book they explain how to figure all of this out), or between 6-7.5 perceived exertion on a scale of 1-10. The whole point of a long distance training plan is to build your endurance, so my pace for training runs is slower than I am used to. I borrowed a heart rate monitor for my first two runs so I could figure out what pace corresponds to the heart rate I need to be at. My run pace for this week is about 11:25 and for walking is about 14:45. These times should decrease as I train longer.
I have been working out in the afternoons after work this week. Training is a bit different than how I previously worked out. The first run this week was strange because my training pace was much slower than I am used to. I did my weekday runs on the treadmill. The stride drills on Thursday felt really good. The point of the drills is to increase speed and keep good running form. I increased the speed for 30 seconds and focused on having a quick footstrike. For cross training this week I decided to bike. Finding the motivation to cross train has been a bit of a challenge. Of course after I get out and do the workout I am glad that I did and it ends up not being as bad as I thought. For my long run Saturday I decided to run a loop, but my loop was more like 4 miles instead of three so I just had an extra long cool down walk at the end.
Next week looks about the same except my long run is 4 miles! I am also going to do some yoga for one of my cross training days. One week done and on to the next!
Have you trained for a half-marathon? Any tips or advice to share? What cross-training activities do you like?