Hello, my name is Jon and I am an aspiring distance runner.
Ellie and I decided that we are going to start gearing up for our first half marathon. It is on our yearly bucket list, and with a couple of my family members planning on doing the B.A.A Half in October, I decided it was time to start working towards that goal.
I did all the typical things when first starting to pursue an idea. I typed in "Half Marathon Training Program" into google, and got about three million results. Ok cool, plenty of options at least. There is every type of plan imaginable. A Run - Walk Couch to Half Marathon program, a beginner, intermediate, advanced, Kenyan, Ethiopian and who knows how many other variations on workouts to get a person up to that 13.1 mile marker. Sorting through them took literally hours.
It took me about a week to settle onto one specific program that I felt would be a decent one. It includes four days of running a week. An easy run, a tempo run, a speed run and a long weekend distance run. It starts for 3 mile distance runs, and then increases pretty quickly up to the 6 mile mark and builds from there. This I felt was something Ellie and I could realistically work towards. I downloaded the PDFs, taped them to the door when we first walk in our house and was all set to go.
I think it is important to stop my story here for a second, and let everyone know I was out running this past weekend in the park on 4-20-2012, and my lungs didn't appreciate the cloud of pot smoke that was sitting nicely in the air. My Achilles and tendons in my foot also didn't appreciate my sudden fondness for steep hills either. The combination has left me extremely sore and unable to do more than a mile without a ton of pain.
So about this training program, I thought it would be a great idea to dive right into week one this past Monday, despite my extremely sore foot. Needless to say, after being on the program for the week, I haven't completed a single requirement yet, though Ellie has been doing great.
The point of this post, is to just comment on how difficult I've found getting into the program has been. We've pushed it off a week at the start, and now I am asking Ellie to push it off until this coming Monday again so I can be fully recovered and good to go. On the bright side, we have way, way more than twelve weeks until October, so we have time. The bad news is delaying the start is frustrating, because both of us are ready to go . . . at least mentally.
Out of curiosity, what are some of the things you've found when sticking to a more rigid schedule? Is it tough to just start one and follow it? I know there has to be some degree of flexibility, but how much is too much?
P.S: Yesterday I openly invited people to join in on the fun here at 2FNs, If you are wanting to get involved post a comment! We are looking for more people to join in!
WooHoo! You guys are going to do awesome!
For us, we’re a lot less likely to keep up with speed workouts and tempo runs if we don’t follow a rigid schedule. Plus, when it is there written out, it just seems harder to blow off. I think mentally the “kick-off” is important, so I understand your need to push it back a bit just so you can start with a big bang!
Aaron was able to take one of those plans and customize it to our level and our schedule. We didn’t follow it 100%, but if we missed a day, it was easier to figure out how to make it up.
The bad thing about following a plan, at least for me, is the burnout that comes with being told what to do. Toward the end, right before the race, I always start to hate running, and I miss sleeping in on Saturdays (BUT THE PLAN SAYS I MUST GO ON!). But then when the race goes well, I realize why it has to be that way. Since I’m not following a training plan right now, the races haven’t been going well, so I’m really seeing how following a plan makes a difference!
I wouldn’t say I have a rigid training schedule, but it is super consistent. I gueeally likess the key for me was never getting locked into one of those “couch to half-marathon” (or other similar plans) I just started slow and consistently built myself up. Then again, I’ve made mistakes, burnt myself out, and generally muddled about here and there, but it’s been a lot of fun figuring out all this stuff for myself. Like I keep saying, the main thing that keeps me going is the fact that I actually find running fun, and maintaining that sense of fun is how I keep going. Then again, I am a bit crazy.
One thing to keep in mind! Take those distance runs very easy. They’re in your schedule to build endurance, not speed (at least at first). Burning yourself out on a 10 mile run at the beginning of the week is a good way to diminish performance for the rest. Aside from that, the only strategy I can think of is: don’t stop. Eliminate the idea of taking a day off as a possibility and just keep going.
Also drink your milk, stay in school, and keep off drugs.
As you know, I am not training for a half (no way), but I am following a twelve week plan. I have not varied more than a day from it because I am afraid if I do, it will be all over. Once I start making excuses, it is too easy to keep making them. If I am sore, I may slide an extra day, which so far has been enough. If you truly have an injury tho, you really need to wait until it heals or you are setting yourself up to fail and risking a more serious injury which could derail your plan altogether.You have the luxury of time on your side right now.
You will enjoy the BAA half. The family, not I however, have done if 2 times. There are hills so you need to prepare for that. Good watching spots too, just after the start and then you cross a street to meet the runners at mile 11. Good luck with training- you have lots of time. I did my half training in 12 weeks. Just hope for not too hot a summer-that’s when training is harder, at least for me it was. You are on the post 5k high 🙂