The past few weeks have been a little hectic around here. With my son’s health and recent hospitalization and all the chaos surrounding the hurricane, we’ve been fighting for some normalcy around here. But somehow before that blew us all off course, I started training for my twenty-first half marathon, The Myakka River Half Marathon.
This year marks the 2nd Annual Myakka River Half Marathon and I’m super excited for this one, because it will be my first half in almost three years that I am actually racing and running with a goal. Ya see, I haven’t raced a half marathon since before getting pregnant with Harrison back in 2013. Every half marathon since that I was either pregnant, running with a friend, using the race as a training run, or I was just coming back from a marathon and running it as a shakeout. So I’m actually really excited, as I stated before, because I have goals, and a training plan, and a vision for this race. I’ll talk more about those below.
In addition to racing this half, I’m also running the race with a large group of my MRTT sole sisters. In fact, there’s a few ladies in our group that are running their very first half marathons, so I’m really thrilled to be there for their big finish! I’ve actually debated back in forth whether or not I should just run for fun with them. I know they are going to have a lot of fun over the course of the race together and I don’t want to miss out. But, when I really thought about it, I decided I wanted this race for me. For redemption.
I feel very selfish for saying this out loud, but I’m going to say it anyway. I’ve held back long enough. I’ve ran enough races with friends. I want to run this for me.
After establishing my chapter of Moms Run This Town, I wanted to set the tone for our group with a “no mom left behind” mentality. I was training for New York at the time our group runs were starting to pick up participation and I honestly was looking for more camaraderie and companionship during that cycle than I was for a personal best. I felt comfortable with the mentality that walking was still moving forward with my training. I let the social aspect of the running group distract me from my desire for performance. Looking back, I don’t regret that at all. I was in a phase where I really needed that from those gals. And the bonds I have with those ladies are worth more than any PR
So now it’s my time. It’s time to push myself. To see what I’m capable of doing. To set a goal and train and break that plateau.
I’ve been realistic with racing over the past three years. After struggling with my son’s birth, breastfeeding with his allergies, and all the other setbacks, I was very reasonable with my training. I knew that I needed to take time for rebuild. I was much more focused on finishing than I was finishing fast, especially during marathon training, but now I want to focus on the development of speed, form, cadence and mechanics. Which brings me to my next point.
Goals & Training Plans
Since I have not raced a half marathon in quite some time, the Ft. Desoto halfathon was the last time I raced and my current PR, I really, truly don’t know what I am capable of training and running towards. My ultimate goal is to hit that sub 2, which is what i was chasing when I got pregnant with Harrison. I was just a couple minutes shy when I ran the Desoto half, and I’ve gotten close again at Best Damn Race SH. However, I really didn’t “train” for those races the way I’ve prepared to do so with this one. This time around I’m actually implementing speed work, as well as a 4-day-a-week training plan. So I’m going to go ahead and say it now. I’m chasing after the sub 2 hour finish. More than anything, I just really want a shiny new PR. I mean, who doesn’t love setting a goal, training hard to get it, then crushing your goal come race day? Well, that’s what I want to do. And I think I have just the right plan to do it.
Breaking Down My Training Pace
In the past, I have always just ran as fast or as slow as I felt comfortable. If I was having a good day, I might push myself harder, faster and farther, but what I completely lacked was a predetermined level of performance and effort. It was just “going for a run” and now I actually have a certain standard. Taking that into consideration, I’ve predetermined how each day’s workout should be completed. The only exception I will allow myself is if or whenever I have to run with the stroller. Obviously, the stroller adds a bit of weight and difficulty, so I’ll give myself a pass if that scenario presents itself. Otherwise, this is what I’m specifying for each individual workout.
Race Pace: 9:00-9:10 (If I wanna hit that sub 2, this pace is KEY to getting there)
Easy Runs: 9:25-10:30
Long Runs: 9:30-10:50 (Saturday long runs will have some leniency with pace. I’ll allow sporadic walk breaks, but I’m attempting to push through for each long run with little to no walking if possible)
Tempo Runs/ Speed Work 8:30-9:00 (I’d like to alternate tempo runs with some fartleks, so essentially this will be the pace I’m shooting for)
In the past, I have always completed some version of Hal Higdon’s half marathon training plan. It’s been great for getting me to the finish line.
I’ve been successfully training for marathons and half marathons with his plans, and they’ve built up a nice foundation for racing that I’ve been happy with in the past. But this time around, I really want to develop and push myself beyond my past performances. I think if I’m going to successfully shave off those necessary minutes to get a new PR, I’m going to need to work on my confidence in addition to my endurance and speed. The way I plan to get there is a combination of increased distance for my long runs and regular speed work. Here’s the training plan I put together.
The Training Schedule
With all that being said. I’m a realistic person and I know I will miss a workout here and there. I’ve already missed my usual morning runs due to my son’s sleep issues and while being in the hospital. Thankfully, I’ve been able to make up for those workouts by running at night instead.
Monday 8/22 – Easy 3 miles to kick off the training plan 9:05 avg
Tuesday 8/23 – HIIT workout
Wednesday 8/24 – 4 miles 9:08
Thursday 8/25 – Unplanned Rest Day
Friday 8/26 – Yoga
Saturday 8/27 – Unplanned Rest (Son became sick)
Sunday 8/28 – Unplanned Rest (Son still sick)
Monday 8/29 – Unplanned Rest (Recovered from rough weekend with two sick kiddos)
Tuesday 8/30 – 5 miles with stroller 10:19 avg
Wednesday 8/31 – Hospital
Thursday 9/1 – Hospital
Friday 9/2 – Resting & Recovering from hospital & hurricane
Saturday 9/3 – 4 miles with stroller 10:14 avg
Sunday 9/4 – Crossgrain HIIT workout
Total Miles = 16 (Eeek! That’s a huge disappointment for my first two weeks)
Like I said above, the past two weeks have been all over the place. I haven’t been as consistent with the training, but hey, what can you do when your kid is in the hospital and dealing with a chronic illness? We are just going to move forward with the training schedule as usual and pretend the first two weeks don’t count. And I’ll pray we have seen the end of my son’s medical troubles. For more than just my need to run. He’s had enough issues for one lifetime.
Tell me, how do you amp up for a new training cycle?
What is your method of accountability?
How long did it take you to reach your running goals?