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The Time Has Come

July 9, 2009

A few changes have been made to my racing calendar for the rest of the year. I’ve decided to scrap the fall marathon, mostly because I realized we promised my parents we’d visit them for Christmas this year, which will make it difficult to be racing anytime in late December.

My commitments, therefore, are starting to crystallize: I have some friends who are contemplating running the Women’s Half Marathon, being sponsored by Women’s Running Magazine. It’s an inaugural event, and it’s close enough, just a few hours away. The course promises to be fast and flat, and we all hope to come close to setting personal bests. Following that, our plans vary a bit: Little G still wants a fall marathon to prepare for Boston, then intends to run another half at Tallahassee. I want to give my legs enough time to recover following the Women’s Half at the end of November, then run another marathon in the spring. It’ll be the first marathon I really race from the gun, and I don’t want any regrets when I cross the line.

The last time I raced a half marathon, I took twelve minutes off my time. That was partly because, being only my second time at the distance, it was the first time I really raced the 13.1 miles from the gun (sensing a trend?). But it was also at least partly due to the fact that I put in a long, hard season of training. Though many training plans for the half marathon call for ten weeks of training, I started training for my November half in late July.

Therefore, since I hope to set another personal record at this, my third time at the distance, I realized it was time to stop goofing off and come up with an appropriately tough training schedule–it’s already July, and the Women’s Half is a week earlier than the 13.1 Fort Lauderdale, last year’s race.

So, I did it. I sat down with several training plans culled from different sources. I did what Glover suggests in the Competitive Runner’s Handbook: I set about deciding what I wanted my mileage to be, what I wanted my long runs to be, where and what kind of speedwork I wanted to do, and then I filled in the rest of my days. I created a plan designed to get me to the finish line of the Women’s Half on November 22 in under 1:50, and one to get me to the finish line of the A1A Marathon on February 21, 2010 in under 4:15.

The result is two hodgepodge plans, but they suit me. They’re filled with a few low-mileage, easy days for recovery. The half training plan has plenty of speed built into it–long intervals that build up in speed, and toward the end, two days of speed each week: one of intervals and one day dedicated to a short tempo run at or near goal pace. The long runs on that plan are well past half marathon distance, both because I discovered it helped me relax on race day to have run so far past the 13-mile mark and because, like last year, I’ll be gearing up for a 26.2.

The marathon training plan eases up on the speedwork a little. I’ll still take turns between long intervals and tempo runs at half marathon pace, but I’ll only dedicate one day to speed, and I’ll always tackle the intervals on the weeks I don’t have 20-milers scheduled. I’ve penciled in four of those–I intend one to go past the 20-mile distance. Though I’ve penciled in the pace at which those runs should go, I’m really not paying attention to pace on those long, long runs.

Neither plan has hill work scheduled, and that’s because hills are tough to find in southeastern Florida, especially in my situation; I run before dawn and must be home to care for my preschool child during the day. However, I intend to run two or four passes over our neareast intracoastal bridge at the beginning of my long runs–though I’ll probably lay off it on 20-milers to save the legs.

I think I’ve reasoned through most of my logic. The plans are available for your perusal, and you can keep me accountable starting July 26. Until then, it’s nice to think I’m still in the off-season. But I’m not fooled, and I’m trying not to shirk too badly so I won’t have a lot of work to catch up on. I shirked my run today, blaming a feeling of an oncoming cold. I won’t get a long run this week because of a long-overdue garage sale*, and I won’t get one next week either because I’ll be doing a 5K. My log, therefore, continues to look terribly inconsistent**. I’d have preferred to have more 40-mile weeks stacked up before we got into the meat of training, but it is what it is.

*Though our youngest, the Monkey, is 3½, this garage sale prominently features a high chair, an Exersaucer, two booster seats, two pack-and-plays, a swing, and two jogging strollers. Like I said, long overdue.

**My weekly mileage for the last ten weeks, starting with the week of May 15: 25, 39, 20, 16, 29, 39, 31, 25, 15, 40. Like I said, inconsistent.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2009 8:19 pm

    while you had to drop a race, it sounds like you have a good plan for a good half and (later) another marathon. enjoy your last few weeks of plan-freedom and simpler running, but get excited for the upcoming training! 🙂

  2. the Ringmaster permalink*
    July 12, 2009 7:44 pm

    Thanks, Lindsay–I am excited for upcoming training–thanks for reminding me to also enjoy these simpler, freer weeks. They have their place in the schedule, and I shouldn’t rush the return to a more structured regimen.

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