Saturday, November 16, 2013

Training Update: 3 Weeks to Go!

It is officially three weeks until my first half marathon. I have been sticking pretty solidly to my original plan with a few tweaks to mileage on specific days. I’m surprised with my ability to run for the three middle days of the week, I think I chose my rest days well. Sunday morning bike rides have been challenging but very rewarding and has inspired me to think about events that combine running and cycling. I missed some strength training after my fall at the end of October, but this week was the first week I missed any running days.

I woke up last Saturday with a sore throat but still did my 10 mile run. [Let me interject here that seeing 10 miles come up on the Garmin was an amazing feeling!]. I woke up Sunday and the sore throat lingered, but I still did just over 10 miles on the bike. I felt progressively worse throughout the day and decided to get it checked out if I woke up with a sore throat on Monday. I did, I got diagnosed with strep, and started taking antibiotics. I took off work Tuesday, couldn't run but went to work on Wednesday, and was able to run 3 miles and work on Thursday. Thursday’s run was pretty good. I didn't attempt a specific type of run because I wanted to see how I felt. I had to speed up a few times for traffic and that was rougher than normal, so I’m glad I didn't push the intervals that I would have done normally.

My "I just ran 10 miles" shot!

I thought about a short run on Friday but decided against it. Listening to your body is one of the most important habits for any healthy person, but is especially crucial when you are in training mode. I knew I had a long run this morning and decided not to push it on Friday. I had originally planned to do a 10K this morning at close to race pace, but I modified that because I missed so much mileage this week. I did 8 miles this morning and averaged about 10:30 miles. After the long run about 6 weeks ago where I decided to run until it felt hard (as opposed to my previous time goals), I have been able to complete my entire distance without a walk break. I always start my runs, even the short ones, with a five minute warm up walk and can’t believe that I can then run for 100 minutes after that!

I was getting a little intense about training but I've had a few conversations recently with other runners I know and realized I am ready for this race. I will finish (barring sickness or injury). That took some weight off my shoulders and helped me to feel less guilty about missing workouts this week. I’m getting close now. I have my longest run before the race next Saturday at a whopping 12 miles. I am looking forward to having a chance to practice my nutrition and hydration plan at that length.

The last two weeks I've had a full banana about 20-25 minutes before my long run along with my usual date before the run. I think it helped me sustain my energy much better, and the mid-run dates I've been eating aren't spiking my blood sugar like they were before. I am planning to eat a date around 5 miles, and then one every 2-3 miles after. I am also going to try a mix of water, coconut water and electrolyte powder in my hydration vest next week to see if I want to do that on race day.

I've definitely babbled enough at this point so I’ll leave you with a running tip:

Use a metronome! I use an app called MetroTimer that I set for 87 beats per minute. Good running form means a stride between 85-90 steps per minute. I have never been good at picking up the beat in songs, so I like having the metronome play behind my music to help me get my foot pattern right. I enjoy focusing on the metronome and my form when the run gets tough. It’s almost a form of meditation and helps to remind me to keep good form for the whole run. 

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