Training For My First Half Marathon (Weeks 1-4)

Autumn

Ok guys. We’ve done the “I am going to start blogging again” post, and we’ve done the “why haven’t you been blogging” post, so I believe that puts us at the point where I actually start the actual blogging. So without further ado, here’s what my first month of training has looked like so far:

*It should be clarified that before I started consciously training and doing workouts I did a month of easy running (around 20 miles a week) to establish a “base”
**It should also be clarified that I am still adjusting to working at a desk all day at a new job, and am trying not to put too much pressure on myself about training yet. If I really don’t feel like running, I don’t run; so if any of these days off seems random, that’s because it is.

Week 1:

  • Monday: 3.5 miles easy
  • Tuesday: 1 mile warmup, 1 mile time trial on the track (used to establish a baseline for future workout paces<– would anyone be interested in a blog post on how I use this information?) in 6:26, 1 mile cooldown
  • Wednesday: 1 mile shakeout to get the lactic out
  • Thursday: off
  • Friday: 2.5 miles easy
  • Saturday: 5 miles easy
  • Sunday: 7.5 mile long run

Total: 22.5 miles

Week 2:

  • Monday: 5 miles easy
  • Tuesday: off
  • Wednesday: off
  • Thursday: 2 mile warm up, 5 x (1 min on, 2 min off, 2 min on, 1 min off) with on paces at 7:30 and off paces at 8:30, 2 mile cool down for 7.5 miles total (<– I got this workout out of Lauren Fleshman’s Believe Journal and it was a great one)
  • Friday: 5 miles easy
  • Saturday: 2 miles PRERACE with drills
  • Sunday: Ice Scraper 5k in Allentown, PA, intended to be taken at tempo effort. 4th female in 22:27ish, around 7:14 pace. Happy because it was VERY hilly. 5.5 miles total on the day.

Total: 25 miles

Week 3:

  • Monday: 9 mile long run done on a week day because I raced the day before
  • Tuesday: off
  • Wednesday: off
  • Thursday: 2 mile warm up, 3 x (3 hill sprints with jog down recovery), 2 mile cool down. Did this on Anders Road, a particularly infamous hill that we used to work out on in HS; forgot how much it hurt!
  • Friday: 1 mile shake out to get the lactic out
  • Saturday: 6 miles easy
  • Sunday: 9 miles easy

Total: 32 miles

Week 4:

  • Monday: 7 miles easy (so easy that we stopped for fro yo halfway through, ate, then kept running)
  • Tuesday: off
  • Wednesday: 1.5 mile warm up, 8 x (2 on, 2 off) with on paces at 7:30 and off paces at 8:30, 2.5 mile cool down for 8 miles total
  • Thursday: 1 mile shake out to get the lactic out
  • Friday: 1.5 mile warm up, 3 mile “Rod & Gun” tempo in Kutztown (you guys. I almost cried being able to run in Kutztown again.) with splits of 7:25, 7:23, 7:21, 2.5 mile cool down for 7 miles total
  • Saturday: 3 miles easy
  • Sunday: 7 mile long run FAIL after too much Easter candy/wine

Total: 33 miles

Thoughts:

The hardest thing for me so far has been finding a good middle ground between prioritizing my running, but not going crazy. I know if I let myself, I will be doing too much, too hard, too soon, and end up injured, so I am consciously trying to cut myself some slack. However, I have regretted that decision a few times when I didn’t get enough sleep before a long run, or didn’t hydrate enough before a work out, or I missed an important day because I wanted to visit my boyfriend. Perfecting the ratio of  time I spend pursuing my running goals to time I use for other – also important – aspects of my life is something I continue to work on everyday.

The best thing so far has been been the simple fact that I AM RUNNING WITH NO PAIN AT ALL RIGHT NOW. You guys…I missed it so much. When I was sick and injured, I had dreams about it at night. I honestly wasn’t sure I would ever get to this point again, and so I’m grateful now for every. single. run. Even the hard ones. Especially the hard ones! I am so lucky to be able to run myself into the ground when I’m sad or stressed or mad. I don’t ever forget that anymore. Not for a second.


I have about a month until the race now, and I’m going to try and update you a little more often instead of throwing 4 weeks worth of training at you at a time. I did a second time trial last night and I’d like to write about that in-depth, and I have some other random things I’d like to say as well.

Until then, happy running. Please feel free to update me on your progress in the comments as well – whether we know each other or not. Runners gotta stick together guys 🙂

Happy training!

 

Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going

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It’s been a long time since I consistently posted here – years, actually – so I think the most logical first step of this journey is to bring you up to speed with what I’ve been up to since we last spoke.

Warning: long and slightly dramatic story ahead.

Where I’ve Been:

I graduated from Kutztown University in December of 2014, after spending the majority of my final cross country season struggling to come back from what I thought at the time was a hamstring injury. After graduation, I immediately accepted a position coordinating social media efforts for a local running store. I planned to take January totally off to let my hamstring heal, then resume hard training with some big goals.

But to make a very long story short, my hamstring did not heal. I spent two months trying to make it work, but the pain not only intensified, it spread; from behind my right knee up into my right glute, then my lower back. When it started seizing up at 3am every night, I realized something was really wrong, and went to see a medical professional.

I’m still not sure what happened. They thought I might have done some damage to my sacrioiliac joint, or had some imbalances in my glutes, or did have a swollen hamstring that was irritated by all the standing I was doing at my new job, or a combination of the three. Whatever the reason, in April, after trying and failing to run through it, then rehab it, then run through it while rehabbing it, I gave up. I stopped training for the first time in over ten years. I stopped trying to run, save for a mile or two here and there just for stress relief. I let go of all those big dreams I had. I just gave up.

From April-September, I suffered a string of random illnesses and injuries on top of the ongoing pain in my right leg, and went through some personal issues that I am not yet prepared to discuss on the Internet but which left me devastated and mentally exhausted. I was also living with my parents in my hometown, where I had very few friends. It was, quite frankly, the lowest I have ever been; rock bottom, in every sense of the word. In fact, if it wasn’t for the support of my family and my best friends, I’m not sure how I would have made it through those few terrible months.

But I did. Eventually. And that fall, things finally started to turn around. I took enough time away from running that whatever happened to my leg eventually healed itself. I started dating a great guy. I landed a new job in December of 2015 (one where I am not standing for 7-8 hours at a time). Two months later, I finally started training again, and I have slowly (SLOWLY) built up to my current average of 30-35 miles per week.

I am not as fast as I used to be – I ran a race in March and averaged the same pace per mile that I used to do my long runs in – and I have definitely put on some weight, but I am healthy, FINALLY, I am happy at my new job, and last week I was finally able to move out of my parents’ house into a place of my own (kind of – I have a great roommate!). I am much happier than I have been in a long, long time; I think the dog days, truly, are over.

Where I’m Going:

My target race for this first training cycle is the NJ Half, which I will be running with a friend of mine on May 1. A reach goal would be to average 8 minute pace over 13.1, but I am also trying to keep in mind that after such a long time off, just being able to run 13 miles again would be a dream in and of itself.

After that, I think the sky’s the limit. I’d like to continue to slowly increase my mileage, add some strength training into the mix, race some fast 5ks this summer, maybe jump into a track meet if I can find one, and I am also considering signing up for another half marathon in the fall (I’m extremely open to suggestions!).

I’m still adjusting to the 9-5 life three months in, but as I get better at it, I find myself with more and more enthusiasm for the pursuit of goals outside of my day job. That being said, I’d like to also spend a lot more time here on the blog in the future, maybe take on a #sidehustle, learn to cook some delicious things, get myself out to see my family more often, and read some more books. I’m also excited to celebrate my older sister’s wedding later this year, and maybe take a vacation if the cards fall right.

 


 

Whew! That was long. If you read the whole thing, thank you. If not, I don’t blame you.But either way, now that we’re all caught up, look out for some more digestable content – including weekly training plans and anything else that amuses and inspires me – coming here, hopefully soon.

Until then, happy trails friends!

Start Where You Are

I’ve been thinking about writing this blog post for awhile now, but there has always been something holding me back.

I wanted to start writing again last year, but I kept getting injured, and I felt guilty writing about running if I wasn’t running.

Then, I wanted to start writing when I got my new job in December, but for the whole first month I’d come home from a 9- or 10-hour workday and just crash on the couch. I was too exhausted to run, much less write about it.

Then,  I wanted to start writing when I finally began to train again in February, but I was nervous that it wouldn’t stick, that I’d get lazy again. I didn’t want to start writing about my running only to backpedal.

And even when it was clear that it was sticking, that I was not only consistently training but thriving, I still second guessed it. Because what if no one cared what I had to say anymore? What if no one read it? What if I got too busy, and couldn’t keep it up?

Then I saw this quote…

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…and to be honest, it felt like a sign.

If no one reads my blog, that’s o.k. If no one cares about my blog, that’s o.k. If I don’t post on my blog everyday, that’s also o.k. Writing, like running, is about the process; of sorting through the mess in my head and making sense of how I’m feeling. It doesn’t have to be perfect, I don’t have to be winning awards, I just have to do it.

So I’m writing this post on a random Friday morning  to let you know that this is my start. And I hope you’ll come back sometimes to read or to chat (because I like to hear how everyone’s running is going), but if you don’t, I’m o.k. with that.

I’m just going to start, and see how it goes.