Having completed quite a few weeks on the ten-mile program, Ellie and I made the decision last night to transition directly into a twelve-week half-marathon training program. The schedule is a bit more rigorous and involves four different types of runs:
1. Easy Runs: Easy jog, breathing easily and steadily; active but not challenging
2. Tempo Runs: Brisk, challenging running at increased pace; you should be breathing harder
3. Speed Work: Basic interval training where you sprint a set distance or time, jog to recover, and repeat
4. Long Runs: Long, steady-paced runs that will get progressively longer each week, building up to half-marathon distance
This is quite a lot different than what we've been doing in the past, where every run was somewhere in between easy and tempo but not quite in either category. I am looking forward to the new challenge and to a new, interesting experiment.
More importantly, having a taste of longer distances this past Friday showed me what Ellie and I are actually capable of. I never thought we could just go out and run ten miles. We were sore, but we could do it. (And I honestly believe we could have kept going another few miles to hit that half-marathon distance!) In a way, that run dismissed any doubt I had about not being able to go that kind of distance. What makes me even more excited though is the relative lack of soreness we had the following days. The very next day Ellie was feeling fine, and by Sunday I was ready to run again. We were nowhere near as beat-up as I thought we would have been.
I was reading last night about how your body beings to adapt at the molecular level to exercise in just over a month's time. Reading this brought me back to when I first started training again and how frustrating it was that I couldn't keep up with Ellie. I remember how frustrated I was that I wasn't anywhere near where I wanted to be. Now, nearly ten months into my own fitness campaign, I can safely say that any doubt I had about being able to get in shape has been removed from my thought process. Now I know it is just simply about putting in the time and letting the body do what it was made to do. My thinking has changed fundamentally from "I might be able to do that if I really work at it," to simply, "I will do that." Needless to say, I am excited to push ahead in this new program.