So as I started my first week of half-marathon training, I felt like I was doing myself a disservice. I had been putting in a lot of miles since February for my 10k training, and this new half-marathon plan was a real shocker. My first week, I was doing 3 and 4k (1.9 & 2.5 mi) tempos and a 3k steady run along with my 9k long slow distance. Coming off my 10k training, this was nothing… measly… petty. It felt like I wasn’t doing anything.
I reached out to someone I trusted in the running community where I live. She has directed races and runs ultramarathons. I asked her advice and she told me that she planned training programs in her sleep. She has planned training programs for people who qualified for Boston. Although I’m sure there are plenty of people out there like this, to me, she was real (not some person out in cyberspace offering up programs), so that made me trust her all the more.
After a running club meeting, she showed me my program. My mind was blown. She wanted me to run paces I didn’t think I could do (anymore). Paces slower than I was used to. The problem was that the race pace was on target for what I wanted to do. She told me that I had to run that slow to attain that particular race pace. She also wanted me to do 10 and 1’s (10 minutes running, 1 minute walking) on my long run days. Floored again. It took me a while to absorb this information. Part of me didn’t believe it, but the other part felt it must work. It made me think of a running buddy who was typically at the back of the pack, and doing the 10 and 1’s on race day. But on that race day, she finished before me… so there it is in action… slow training for a fast race. It must work! I also felt like I should put my faith in the program, trust it, because what’s the worst that could happen? I’m certainly not going to burn out or injure myself with a slow training pace!
My first day training on the new regime was hills. I was even directed to a new hill to try out. I always love a new course. I was used to training on hills at a 5:15 minutes/km pace (8:26 minutes/mile). My new plan wanted me to run those hills over a minute/km slower! It is REALLY hard running slower than your body is used to. In the end, my average pace was pretty good, but I would often catch myself running faster than I should, not realizing how fast I was going. I felt good that I more or less stuck to the plan, though, but I didn’t really feel like I worked. I’m sure that will come the day I have to triple the amount of hills I do!
Today was Day 2. It was a steady run at an uncomfortably slow 7:10 minutes/km pace (11:32 minutes/mile). I am sure all the new runners or self-proclaimed slow runners are pissed off reading how uncomfortable I was running slow, but I was really pissed off doing it! I was downright grouchy! I knew I could run a 5k faster than I was going and actually embarrassed to be running outdoors so slowly. At the same time, I felt (and still do feel) ashamed for feeling embarrassed. What a mix of emotions! As the miles wore on, I felt less angry, and more happier. By the time I got home, I was downright elated! I felt so awesome! I didn’t feel drenched in sweat or pooped right out, I felt fantastic! And that’s what an easy run/ready run should feel like.
Another 5k easy/steady run Saturday, then 14k Sunday. Let’s just see if I can find anyone to run slowly with me for the long run!