Before starting this 12-week training plan with Jess, I thought I was in pretty good shape. I was running 3-5 miles, 2-3 times per week. I wasn’t worried about my pace or tracking my mile splits with my Garmin, and if the weather was lousy or I was tired or just didn’t feel like running, I’d skip it. Basically, I was a fair-weather runner. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a fair-weather runner. It works for a lot of people, and it worked for me for a while, too. I felt healthy and happy, but I knew I wasn’t challenging myself the way I used to when I raced in high school and college. I needed a goal to push myself to get back into race pace shape, so I set my sights on the Nike Women’s Half Marathon DC, forked over a hefty registration fee ($150 for students, ouch!) and sent Jess an email about training.
With weeks 1 and 2 completed, my initial impressions are…this is going to be tougher than I thought! The first challenge I’ve been facing is beating the winter blues. It’s so hard to train for a spring race when the weather outside is cold, gray, and snowy. Having a running buddy really helps me get out the door in the morning when the sun isn’t up yet and the temperature is in the teens, so I’m grateful to have a runner friend who lives just a mile down the road from me that I can count on. Our training plans don’t align perfectly, but we’re usually able to get one or two easy runs in together, and those miles seem to fly by when I’m with a friend.
The second challenge I’ve realized is that I hate weight lifting. Silly, right? I know strength training is so important to reaching my goals for this race, but whenever I get dumbbells in my hands I feel like my brain just yells, “BORING!” and all my motivation vanishes. Thankfully, Jess understood my hang-up with weights and gave me a strength workout that only uses my own bodyweight – lots of squats, lunges, wall sits, and planks. I like it because I can also do the exercises at home without trekking to the gym, though my dog gets really confused when I’m working out in the living room!
The biggest challenge so far has just been carving out time in the day for my workouts. Running has always been an all or nothing thing for me, and I have the tendency to obsess over it throughout the day. Did I eat the right food at the right time, and did I pack a snack for later? Did I get to bed early enough for a morning run, and are my favorite tights clean? So in order to stay balanced and not get overwhelmed, I need to plan out exactly when I’m going to do each workout in the week, and then stick to it. Some mornings I would much rather sleep in, but I know that running first thing in the morning rather than later in the evening helps eliminate a lot of the stress of fitting everything in to my schedule. It’s too easy (and too true!) to say that I’m exhausted from work and want to skip that day’s workout. Blocking out each workout on my calendar helps keep me on track so I don’t let my busy schedule get in the way of reaching my goals.
10 weeks to go!