I could be getting ahead of myself, and I’m hesitant to look this far ahead, but I’m approaching the end of my base building phase. [Glances at RunningAHEAD Summary Page.] Yeah, we’re approaching it fast — thirty days away, in fact. Did anyone think I’d actually exit this territory and embark on a new journey of training? I’ll be honest, I thought these Saucony’s were going to get hung up for good more than a handful of times.
I’m thirty days away from my fourth half-marathon. Last year at this time, I secretly hoped I’d have a full marathon and I’d be approaching my six half marathon, but injuries, man. I never really imagined when I signed up for my first half marathon over two years ago that I’d run more than one, let alone the person that can just run a half marathon on a whim. Okay, it’s not a whim, but it’s a heck of a lot less training than I did for my first two.
The Lake Effect Half Marathon signifies a couple things for me. Last year, it put a giant, ugly stop on my training. But I also met three awesome lady runners that Twitter and blogging made possible. So I’m walking into LEHM at the end of February remembering some friendships I’ve made and hoping to signal the start of real, concrete, excel spreadsheet, researched training. I am absolutely terrified. To me, everything is hanging on this race and if it doesn’t go as planned, I’m not really sure where I’ll turn.
It’s been a slow go at this whole “base building” thing because of October’s weird flare-up with shin splints, which thankfully, have not reared their ugly heads since I became very kind to them. If those few weeks didn’t throw a wrench into my plan, I’d be a lot more confident today than I really am. I have just over four weeks left until The Big Day and the longest run I’ve conquered was five miles at the Turkey Trot, though this weekend I’ll head into the land of six miles. I still remember the day I did a tempo run at Delaware Park training for my first half marathon. I was about a mile and half from home when I realized I’d finish the run over six miles, the longest I’d ever run in my entire life. I’m pretty sure I smiled like a goon the entire way home.
So, six miles. It’s been over a year since my Garmin got that kind of use in one day. I’m ready.
My plan for the remainder of this phase is to get myself safely to the start, then actually finish (hopefully without walking) and do so injury free. I’m alternating between two and three runs each week, while increasing one mile overall each week. It’s a little more than 10% increase each week (because 10% is literally a half mile), which I thought I’d find challenging to my tendons but so far it’s been okay. The moment any negative consequence starts to poke through, you bet I’ll tone it down. My weeks with three runs are relatively equal in distance. When I run twice, I have one run on the weekend as a “long” run. Two weeks ago that was four miles and I was tired. When I ran two days later, I felt stiff, but not injured. It was exactly what you’d expect when you’re not used to running a new distance. This week, I’ll run six miles. I haven’t decided if I want to run them together, or take a quarter mile walk break in between. Two weeks after that, I’ll run eight miles. The following “long” run two weeks afterwards will be LEHM. What’s five extra miles, anyways?
I don’t intend to taper for the race because I’ve been there, run that. You don’t race this race, unless it’s unseasonably warm like last year. In that case, I’ll be fighting myself the whole way, eyes glued on my Garmin. The inner struggle will be real that day. I’m hoping that it’s a craptastic day because I’d like to seem like a total badass (“You ran thirteen miles in a blizzard?”) and I want an excuse to run extra slow without feeling guilty. I have a really hard time running races without the goal of setting a new PR.
So there we go, one more month of base building before I put a real training plan into place. One with tempos, intervals, and long runs. I’ll only be averaging 12 miles per week when it starts, but 12-15 has been my average for all races and I’ve set some decent PRs for me, for that kind of mileage. A focus on safely building this time around, but actually training, it’s the most solid plan I’ve had in a long time and I think I can really go places this year. Bring it, Lake Effect Half Marathon!