Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Buffalo Creek Goals and Training Recap

Well friends, it's time for another half marathon!  This has been my best and most fun training cycle so far, and I made it through without any issues or roadblocks at all (knock on wood..still have a few days left!).  I kept waiting for an injury or sickness or something to come and derail my training, but it never seemed to happen.

Here are a few things that I changed about my training this time around, that really seemed to make a difference:

- I started with a really solid base.  It seems like when I start training for a race, I'm starting off at ground zero and have to build up mileage.  This time around, I made sure that I was already able to run at least 8 miles, and my weekly mileage was hovering around 25 miles (you might also remember that I did my first run streak right before training started!).  This made it so much easier to get right into training, and I could tell that I was improving pretty much immediately.

- I stretched or did yoga after every (hard) run.  This is another no-brainer that took me quite a few failed  cycles to figure out.  I always have the intention of stretching after getting back from a run, but never made it a priority.  This time, after I got home from nearly every run (but made sure I did it after every speed workout and long run), I would immediately go to my basement where my yoga mat is set up, and turn on Do You Yoga.  I followed the 30 day beginner series, which has short videos (around 10-15 minutes) that were pretty much just guided stretches and nothing really intense.  It was a great way to make sure that I got everything stretched out, and it's something that I don't even have to think about anymore!


- I regularly did strength training and switched up my cross training.  This was definitely my best training cycle in terms of activities outside of running.  I typically just run, and occasionally fit in some yoga.  This time around, I did all kinds of stuff- a weekly core exercise (which was included in the plan), rowing machine, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, and (of course) yoga.  It was great to switch things up and try a few new activities!


- I ran with other people.  In the past, I've done a few runs here and there with other people, but this summer I found my #RunSquad!  Not only did I get to do all of my speed workouts with Jessie (who also became my accountability partner and made sure I never missed any runs), but I also met up with other friends for long runs on the weekends.  Let me tell you- there were weeks when the last thing I wanted to do was wake up at 6:00 on a hot weekend to go run 10 miles, but if I had friends waiting for me, I always got my butt up!


For training, I decided to try out the Kara Goucher 10 Week Plan.  I used this as a build-up before I started training for the Gettysburg Marathon earlier this year, and liked it enough to try it out for an actual half marathon.  In general, I really liked this plan.  The mileage was right in my comfort zone, and I actually ended up running more miles at the beginning (since I already had a good base) and made each of my long miles between 8 and 11 miles.  I liked the strength workout that accompanied the plan, and ended up doing it every Monday.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about the speed workout in the plan.  While each week's workout was different and kept it from getting boring or repetitive (no one likes doing 800 repeats every week!), I felt like the workouts were too short and the paces I was supposed to run were too slow.  Pretty much every workout except the last one was a total of 4 miles, sometimes with jogging breaks in between, and usually at race pace or slower.

I ended up doing all of my workouts faster than prescribed, and I think that helped out a lot.  I love to crunch numbers, so I took a look at all of my speed workouts and found some interesting stats:

- In total, I did 33 "speed" miles.

- My slowest mile was 8:42 (first mile of the cut-down workout), and my fastest mile was 7:30 (last mile of switchblade workout).  I had faster paces for some workouts that were shorter intervals (like the 800 repeats) but that was my best full-mile split!


- My average pace was 8:08 for all of the workouts, and I only ran 6 total miles slower than my goal race pace (8:30)!  This is much different than what is in the plan, where only 11 miles are supposed to be at goal pace or faster (which means that 22 should be slower than race pace).  Crazy!

I think that for my next race, I need to add in a tempo day (maybe even using my long run for this), so that I can have longer periods of time running at my goal pace.  I still don't feel 100% confident with running at that pace for a long period of time, even if I know that I can cover the distance at a slower pace.

As I mentioned, I feel like I had a really solid training cycle and have worked harder than any other race that I've trained for.  I'm feeling confident about the distance, and really think I can get a huge PR at this race.  The only reason why I'm feeling uncertain and a little nervous is about the weather.  I'm not sure if it's the fact that I'm getting older or what, but the weather this year really affected me.  I felt like a completely different person on days that it was warm and humid out compared to days that were cooler.  I would struggle for every mile some days, then bust out fast paces for my long run the next day.

So, for the race, I'm trying not to have really high expectations so that I won't get disappointed if my body doesn't cooperate.  I would love to get a new PR, which is currently 1:54:34 from a super hilly race I ran in 2016 (the Shamrock Shuffle), with an average pace of 8:45.  For my goal pace in speed workout, I've been using 8:30 as my goal which would put me around a 1:51 half marathon.

There you have it!  I'm overall very happy with how my training went, and I'm excited to see where my fitness will be for the race.  I can't wait to use the lessons I learned from training the last 10 weeks and see how much more I can improve for my next race.....

Is anyone else racing this weekend?
What is your favorite training plan?
Best cross training?

3 comments:

  1. You nailed it, now just go out and have a ball!

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  2. Good luck!!! Can't wait to see how you guys crush this race :)

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  3. Kudos on a great training cycle! It's going to be cool Saturday morning, and you'll be done before it warms up. You're going to have a great race!

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