We’re 11 weeks out from the Mighty Niagara Half Marathon so it’s time for reflection. And some random observations/lessons/etc.
Last Saturday my long run was 8 miles. Finishing that run with no injury is a major coup. I’m savoring it!
As the long runs get longer, I’ve noticed that my shorter runs are getting a little bit slower. Probably because I’m trying to pace those longer runs at 11 – 11.5 min miles – or that my body is just tired! It’s hard to pace. A good GPS watch would help I think, just can’t justify the purchase. So I use the mapmyrun.com iPhone app and try to time my run to way-points on common routes. At this point, I’m more concerned with getting to 13.1 miles & the finish line healthy… whatever that takes and however slow I need to run. Keep reading that first half is for finishing… I’m finishing!
I’ve waffled about joining a training group and in the end decided to keep running and cross-training on my own. Mainly because there wasn’t a group targeting our half and that I seem to be doing OK between Porter, Eldest, some training plans and PT support (if I need it). Also, I’m a slow runner and don’t want to hold anyone up. Maybe if I do another. There are many good running programs in our area, as has been recommended to me I would recommend one to you. Especially if you’re just starting running. Have decided that run/walking is the ticket to my feet crossing that finish. More on that another post.
As the runs get longer, I have to admit that we’re kind of beat. OK, I’m (more than) kind of beat! Especially because we’re choosing to be generally more active, and it’s summer and… which means some painful muscle days. Nothing we can’t handle, but it’s a good thing we embrace the “good” discomfort because it’s definitely part of our life. 🙂 Along with that discomfort comes a shifted, firmer body and dropped pounds. I love the way that part of it feels. Don’t misunderstand about the pain. I think of it as “good” and “bad” pain. Trying a new work out or routine usually comes with a certain amount of “good” pain. It’s that “you’re using me but haven’t in a while” pain. “Bad” pain is injury or working up to an injury pain. The trick is learning the difference. Part of this trek to the Mighty Niagara is learning what you should push through and when it’s important to stop. Some times I’ve found it hard to tell the difference. Now I’m learning to trust my gut or find someone who really knows and can help. It’s that confidence that comes with experience. While elite will never describe me, I keep learning and running. Have to note that the energy I get from running combined with the exhaustion is a weird feeling. Definitely new & uncomfortable. As long as it’s not pain… I can work through it.
Need to be careful not to fall into that trap of “Well, today’s run was x miles so I can eat whatever!” Definitely dangerous. And I’ve noticed those words crossing my mind. Must. stop. now. They say the first step to change is realizing there’s a problem….
Thinking about getting a CamelBak on long runs instead of dropping water. I don’t mind the prerun drop off, or for that matter the pickup either. The water stops on the humid days are a requirement and I’m not sold on those belts. Just knowing the water’s there is comforting.
Icing after running is making a difference… I think? Maybe it’s just amusing Porter with my yelps and moans while braving the cold. Even if it’s in my head… will keep it up. Can’t hurt, right and if Porter is amused… 🙂
Each of us trains/runs/lives differently. For me so far, running less each week and adding some cross-training seems to be the ticket. I’m not a workout junkie… I need a reason, a goal. Ideally, I like to run enough to feel good – body & mind – after. What do I mean? My “runners high and firm body” is why I run. I’m easy, just need to run far enough to have that. OK, and to be able to eat the way I want. So there’s that too. There are so many programs out there, it’s daunting. Adding miles each week and running 3/4 per week seems to be better for my body and I think is enough combined with some cross training to get enough training in. My concern is past injuries… get to this finish strong. Will tweak as needed.
Sorry, I digress… My body isn’t quite what it was at 30. It pains me to type that. But it’s important to be realistic working towards this goal. Cross training and running less to build up core and other muscles is more important than logging crazy miles that will probably injure me. Some may disagree. After a couple bouts with injury – knee, foot, back, and chats with PT it made sense that it was important to build the base. That pieces were breaking because the parts that my body needed to run farther weren’t able to support it so other parts were stepping in and being injured. Sorry, that’s a little confusing but (knock on wood) has been working.
This half is a bucket list item, but it’s more than that. It’s the result of around 2 1/2 years of work… after about 5 or so of bad habits. I have to say mostly just work… the hard has been recently. Now that the miles are increasing, it’s getting hard. Now is where persistence pays.
Persistence… it’s been a long goal and I need to stay focused. There are days that’s easier than others. Just need to keep my eye on the prize and the feeling of crossing that finish.
I’ve learned that running is equally in your head and in your body. As long as I keep building my body and keeping my head in the right place, I’ll get there.
Today, when anyone asks me “How could I possibly run a half marathon?” My answer is “One mile, One run at a time.”
That’s all anyone can ever do…