Sunday, September 18, 2011

Half Marathon Training - Why am I doing this? v.03

There are some days that I just don't want to get up and run, but because I'm signed up for something I grudgingly get out of bed and lace up my shoes anyway.  There were a couple of days like that this week, and ironically I've had my best runs since I started training for my second Half Marathon.  This week I had a good track workout and was a little bit worried about how my legs were going to feel for the next few days.  I did feel a little tight after the track workout, but nothing I couldn't work through or just ignore.

Wednesday and Thursday were nice 4 mile runs with a 6 mile run on Friday.  The pace on Friday wasn't quite what I wished it would be, but I felt pretty good about it.  This morning's long run was awesome.  I left a little bit later than I wanted because of a lingering headache, but I went anyway at about 6:30am.  The first mile and a half were a little bit stiff, but after that I started to loosen up and it got a little easier.  I wanted to keep my pace around 10:30 per mile, but wasn't sure I'd be able to maintain it for 8 miles.  It was an incredibly pleasant surprise to see that not only could I keep that pace, but even drop the pace for the last 2 miles.  Legs are a little stiff again, but tomorrow is a rest day so I will be doing a lot of yoga and using the foam roller to get me ready for this week's track workout and consecutive runs.  Today is one of the first days that I feel like I'll be ready for the Half Marathon.  I don't know that I'll be able to finish in 2 hours, but I have no doubt that my PR for this distance will be huge.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Half Marathon Training - Why am I doing this? v.02

There are moments when you finally realize that all the work you’re doing is paying off in some way, whether it’s a change in the way you look, feel or both. In this case it’s a little of both. I’ve been attending track workouts for six weeks now and instead of feeling stiff and sore for days after I felt only minimal soreness on my run this morning. During the previous weeks I would dread my Wednesday morning run because it hurt and my legs were tired, but today was different. There was a small amount of muscle fatigue, but nothing that had me walking instead of running or cutting my run short as I’ve done previous Wednesdays.

The workout this week consisted of twelve 200M intervals with a 400M recovery jog (or in my case, walk) in between. Six weeks ago when I started, my fastest split/interval was 58 seconds for 200M; this week, my fastest split was 53 seconds, which I did twice in the series. My splits were 57, 56, 56, 54, 53, 55, 54, 55, 54, 54, 54, 54, and 53. After that first workout I was exhausted and sore enough that it affected my subsequent runs for an entire week. I’m amazed at how good I feel just six weeks later. The workouts are getting consistently more difficult and my mileage is increasing each week as I’m able to do more. I love being able to see progress even if minimal.

Along with the changes in strength and endurance, there are also some physical changes. I’ve been getting leaner with the increased mileage. There is obviously still work to do, but there is finally progress that I can measure.

I’ve been doing more reading lately with regard to over-use and other running related injuries and found that some muscle pain I’ve been having should be easily remedied with yoga practice and the resulting increased flexibility.  We'll see how I feel during tomorrow's run after doing 30 minutes of Yoga tonight.

All in all, I'm pleased with my progress so far, but have so much further to go.  One step at a time I guess.  Happy Running!