Monday, March 5, 2012

13.1-I’m a Problem Solver

How’s everyone doing on this fine Monday? I’m pretty excited because I’m taking a few days off at the end of the week! This weekend was stellar. The ole’ apartment was stuffed to the brim with friends, which made for the perfect time.

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Now on to the running portion of this program. While I am following Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon training plan (novice 1) pretty much to the T, I changed up the long runs in order to be better prepared for the 13.1 miles I am going to face.  With Hal’s novice plan, the most you run is 10 miles.  I know people say that adrenaline and the cheers of the crowd will carry you through the rest of the run but that 3 mile deficit was too much for me.  In order to close that gap, I adapted the plan to become my own and increased the mileage. Case in point, this week instead of 5 miles, I ran 6 and next week instead of 5 I will run 7. Enough about the plan, let’s talk about how I have put the plan into action.

To be frank, I have been having a little bit of anxiety about the upcoming Cox Providence Half Marathon. Before I began training I hadn’t run anything further than a 5k.  While I do feel like the plan is helping me (and I’ve been following it pretty religiously) I still get a sinking feeling that I won’t be ready come race day.  Here are some of the reasons I am intimidated by this race:

  • I have been running pretty much solely on the treadmill.  Last week I expressed my frustration and boredom and tried to run outside. That run was a bust, so I was feeling discouraged.
  • I don’t feel like I am working out enough for someone who is training for a half marathon.  Aside from my long runs on Sundays, I’m not really putting in any more time than I normally would be.  The only difference is that the training plan keeps me honest and forces me to stick with my exercise frequency.
  • Hills! I am pretty frightened by the the quantity and severity of the hills that lay before me on May 6th. The only time I have run hills in a race, I nearly puked. It was not pretty. I live in a city and there really are no hills to run outside.

Those are my main fears and frustrations. After many days worrying that I won’t be able to finish this race, I decided I just needed to come up with a better game plan. So today, I laced up my sneaks, threw on a fleece, gloves and ear warmers and took to the streets.

Running on the treadmill has become so easy and boring for me, so I knew I needed to take the opportunity I had today and just bite the bullet and run outside. I mapped a run that would be pretty and I downloaded a long podcast to take my mind off of the running.  I was pretty pleased when I looked down at my Garmin and saw this beautiful sight:

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I did it! Six miles is my new PDR and I did it outside without walking at all! Needless to say, I was pretty pleased with myself.  What I was even more pleased with is that I didn’t want to die when I was done. An accomplishment indeed.  I didn’t want to gouge my eyes out during the run either, so I’d say running outside is in fact the boredom buster I needed.

My second problem is the intensity of the workouts for the rest of the week. I want to push myself more during this training because I want to be in the best shape ever when this is over. I’ll admit it, my strength training at this point leaves a bit to be desired. Monday’s stretch and strength usually involves me laying on the floor “stretching” during The Bachelor and maybe doing a plank or two. Or curling the measly 3 pound weights I have in the apartment. How old am I, 80?! I’m training for a half marathon for crying out loud.  So here I am, proclaiming myself a changed lady and I will now kick my own butt with lifting that leaves my muscles begging for mercy. Hold me to it, will ya? Link up to your favorite weight workouts!

Finally, we face the problem of hills.  Honestly, I haven’t really come up with a solution for this one yet. I thinkkkkk that what I might do is dedicate one shorter run (either Tuesday or Thursday) to running hill intervals on the treadmill.  I’m thinking running hills on the mill is better than not doing them at all. What are your thoughts?

One final note, I tried a new-to-me method of fueling during my run.  I know 6 miles doesn’t really require fuel, but I know I am going to fuel during the race, so I don’t want any surprised the day of. I stocked up at Sports Authority last weekend with a few types of fuel and today I decided to try out the infamous Gu. I went with Gu Energy Gel in Tri-Berry and I had a so-so reaction to it.  I wasn’t expecting it to be so thick and I kind thought I was going to barf when I took my first hit.  Luckily I didn’t and I was able to gulp down the whole thing at a red light. The flavor was good and I didn’t cramp or anything from it. I just don’t know if it did anything. Around mile 5 I was really dragging and I don’t think the Gu really helped all that much.


I have more fuel to try out during my runs and I’m willing to give Gu another chance. I think I’m going to force myself to get used to it because Gu is a sponsor of the race and will be on the course.  I’d rather not have to carry my own fuel since it’d be a lot more convenient to just grab a packet as I ran by.  We’ll see how it goes.

So there ya have it, my ramblings for the week. How is everyone else’s training coming? Any advice for a newbie like me?

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