I haven’t blogged as much this year and I think that comes down to the fact that I’m not doing as many events. This is a conscious decision – I had an absolute ball last year but the cost, both financial and in time, of doing so many events was unsustainable so I’ve cut back to some key, bigger ones.
As a result, I don’t blog as much. But I am running, more than ever in fact. Before Melbourne half marathon last year, I set up and followed a training plan on ‘My Asics‘ and am currently doing the same in preparation for the Great Ocean Road half marathon. I’m running 3 times a week with distances between 7km and 17km. And, so far, I’ve stuck to the plan.
It’s interesting to think that part of the reason I ran so many events last year was also because I wasn’t sure I could do the long runs without the motivation of a crowd, a starter’s gun and some bling at the end. Then I discovered I could. It really is more of a mental thing than a physical one. If you can get yourself to the start of a long run, you’ll make it to the finish. The start is the hardest part – getting out the door, overcoming internal struggles and doubts, being mentally ready to run for a long time. Once I’ve hit start on my Garmin, not finishing is not an option.
And so, the training continues. I won’t blog about it much but know that it’s happening anyway. These are the hardest kilometres – the ones run in the dark, the wet, when I don’t feel like it, when I’m tired after a long day at work. They’re also the best ones – feeling myself getting a little bit stronger and little bit faster, knowing that they’re all building up to a big event, feeling mentally strong through making a commitment and sticking to it. And knowing that, without all of these kilometres, running the half marathon (or the marathon next year) won’t be possible. This is where the real work happens – those events are just my victory lap.
Having signed up for my next half marathon a couple of weeks ago, I hunted out a training plan and got to it. I opted for the my asics plan which is very easy to use – you put in a current time for a distance, put in the date of your event and what your training commitment is (3 or 4 times a week, easy, medium or hard effort) and it gives you a calendar of training runs which gradually increase in distance and intensity. Logging runs is straightforward and it lets you know how you’re progressing towards your overall plan.
So far, so good. However, only into week 3 and I started to notice that my foot hurt. Again. I have spent most of the last year nursing my achilles and calf through their various bursts of drama and it was clear that, regardless of how slowly this program was pushing me on, it was too fast for my temperamental foot. It wasn’t the speed – that was definitely kept low but the distance it pushed me to was a bit too much, too soon.
Instead of pushing through it or giving up totally, I’ve changed plans and, so far, have noticed my foot calm back down again. I’m back using Jeff Galloway‘s training plan with planned run/walk. I used this while getting ready for the Maui half marathon in January so I know that it works for me. Most importantly, it feels flexible. I know that, technically, all plans are flexible as you do as much or as little as you want but I have a tendency to do things because it says to. A perfect example was my run on Tuesday where I kept pushing on even though I didn’t feel like running and I was tired and my foot was hurting and I wasn’t enjoying it. Any one of those factors should have been enough to stop me but, once I’d seen that I had to run 7km, I had to run 7km.
With Jeff’s plan, I don’t feel I have to stick to times or paces so I end up running a lot more on ‘feel’. Tonight’s run was magical – lots of bits where it felt completely smooth and almost effortless (almost!) and any pain was fleeting and fixed by throwing in an extra walk break. I know it’s a long road ahead – will keep you updated on how I travel along it 🙂