My friend and I are a mere 7 weeks away from our goal of running a half-marathon. We are running the Vancouver USA Half-Marathon in Vancouver, WA on June 19th. We have been training since the beginning of the year, officially on a training program since mid-February. So a handful of wonderful, and/or surprising things have happened during this time. So I will just rumble on by them as I write this (note I tend to ramble when I write).
The training plan is a based on the FIRST Half Marathon training plan, available here on runnersworld.com. This plan was appealing to both of us for a variety of reasons, starting with the low mileage, and the three days a week running. The plan is also only a 10 week plan, though I expanded this plan to fill up just about all of the time we had available until the Half in June. The first week of the official training was to be the first week of April, giving us exactly 11 weeks to make our way to the goal of running 13.1 miles. But I didn't want to start this training plan having only run over 6 miles once (My first 10k was the St. Patrick's Day Foot Race back in March). So I expanded the training plan to build up our long runs gradually from February on. So this was really more like a 16 week training plan that incorporated speed work, as neither of us had done interval work before, as well as the climb in long runs.
Now, some strange things have happened to both of us throughout this spring of training. Starting in Mid-March, both us were beset with injuries. Mine, an ankle sprain, self-inflicted while working on the house, and his an apparent running injury to the right knee. With my injury I managed to miss only one run, and got back out and worked through some slight pain to stay on target with my training plan. My friend missed most of a week, before deciding to see a doctor, who prescribed Physical Therapy and an MRI (which he didn't get). Both of us are back on track, though I have had an interesting month.
The first week of April I came down with a cold, one my son had, and seemed to magnify in length once I got it. So I managed only a whopping 3.3 miles the whole week, after having completed my best week ever at 15.5 the week before. Disappointment, as I was getting better and stronger, the missed essentially a whole week. So I decided I could make up for it the following week, and did I ever, I got out and ran my intervals Monday morning, a day typically reserved as an off day, then was talked into a 5k fun run Tuesday night. I rocked that 5k, bringing it in an unofficially 24:10, which is almost 4 minutes faster than my PR. Friday, I added the hill by my house to the run, about a 200 ft climb over .75 miles, almost equivalent to the hill we will be running at Bloomsday in a week. Then my friend and I rounded out the week with an 8 mile long run, and a total weekly mileage at 17.8. I felt great, after another strong week.
Then this last week happened. I missed my speed workout Tuesday, and then again on Wednesday, and said, well I will just get back on track Thursday. That didn't happen either, though I did some cross-training in on the stationary bike. I did finally run Friday, the schedule called for a 5 mile Tempo run, I substituted the hill, and got 5.7 in and felt pretty good about that. Was prepared to go out for 10 yesterday, then was out much too late Saturday night. Missed the long run with my friend and had to venture out on my own, where I managed a paltry (as compared to his 10.3) 6.6 miles as I decided not to push cramping, tired muscles. This was so not the week I was looking for as I head into Bloomsday in Spokane this weekend.
Lessons learned last week. 1) Sleep more. I did not have much good rest last week, and was asleep by 9:30 last night, a good way to start this week. 2) Before long runs, drink more water. Hydration was clearly a problem Friday and Sunday, as I had cramping issues both days, worse on Sunday. And 3) Remember, this is fun, don't stress about missed runs and lost mileage. This is so hard for me, perhaps all of us sometimes, the mileage is gone, focus on what is on this week's schedule and work to that, the body will be well trained even missing a handful of runs.