A girl, a plan, and a wide open trail.

The great thing about having so many runner-type friends is that when I announce that I’ve done something daft, like sign up for a half-marathon, they all jump up and down for me cover me in the proper amount of attention and exclamations and not a small amount of excitement. Which, really, makes me froth even more at the mouth to get out there and DO IT!! WOO! HALF MARATHON!!

Of course, then there’s the bit where all the commotion dies down and all of those runner-type friends start asking for details. How are you training? Are you using intervals? What kind? What are your splits? What’s the plan, Stan?

Um…I have no plan?

I mean, I signed up on a whim(ish), people! There was a coupon. It’s not like I performed a lot of research, analyzed my capabilities, and made a calculated decision. Have I ever approached any major accomplishment that way? Even my final decision about where to go to college came down to hearing a friend say she was going to Holy Cross, and so that’s how I decided to leave Smith behind. I tend to approach things sort of-not sort of organically…at least until I can’t stand it any more and then I just get shit done.

I had just been hitting the running trail three or four times a week, adding a half-mile to my total each week and trying like hell to hit goal. I didn’t have a plan as to how I needed to get to the magic number each night; I just ran until I couldn’t any more, and then took as short a break as I could. The first night I barely hit a mile before a needed a break. By the end of the first week I was running a mile-and-a-half before I needed a breather. This weekend I split my three-and-a-half by 2 miles, 1 mile, 1/2 mile. My only plan was my goal mileage for the week – other than that, anything was fair game.

The problem is that the tiny little voices of my coworkers and friends keep nibbling a the back of my runner’s conscience. Would a steady increase ruin my joints? Was I starting training too early? Would I burn out before March? I couldn’t ignore the doubts any more. Well, that and I had some time on my hands at the same time the voices were yelling rather loudly. So I started nosing around.

And that is how I found the Hal Higdon training schedule. I think Mr. Higdon is on crack, pretty much. Because ain’t no way I can bump up my long runs by a mile each week. Wait – look at the schedule:

                 Mon         Tues       Weds     Thurs       Fri        Sat       Sun

Week 1   Stretch      3m           Cross        3m       Rest      Cross    4m

Week 2   Stretch      3m           Cross        3m       Rest      Cross   4m

Week 3   Stretch      3.5m        Cross       3.5m     Rest      Cross    5m

Week 4   Stretch     3.5m         Cross       3.5m     Rest      Cross    5m

Week 5   Stretch     4m            Cross        4m        Rest      Cross    6m

Week 6   Stretch     4m            Cross        4m        Rest      Cross     5k Race

Week 7   Stretch     4.5m          Cross       4.5m     Rest       Cross     7m

Week 8   Stretch     4.5m          Cross       4.5m     Rest      Cross    8m

Week 9   Stretch     5m             Cross       5m         Rest      Cross   10k Race

Week 10  Stretch    5m             Cross        5m       Rest      Cross     9m

Week 11   Stretch    5m           Cross        5m        Rest       Cross     10m

Week 12   Stretch    4m           Cross        2m         Rest       Rest     Half marathon   

See? Quite clearly – on crack. There’s no way I can bump up a mile on long runs each week. Clearly the word “novice” does not mean what Mr. Higdon thinks it means. So. I’m going to tweak the plan. For June and July, I’ll do my 3 mile runs on weeknights. I run on Tuesday and Thursday nights while the girls are at their dad’s, except while my sister Rhi is here, I’m thinking I’ll get up an hour earlier and run in the morning since I won’t be leaving the girlies unattended. I’ll do the long runs on the weekends as best I can. Then, in August, I imagine my runs will be rather sporadic: we’ll be vacationing in Mass. for the first 10 days, and then my sister Kim comes back with us for the rest of the month, and there really isn’t much time for regimented running. In September, when we all turn back into pumpkins and the “summer” is over, I’ll start training for my half marathon for realsies. I’ll follow Crazyman Higdon’s training schedule…except I’ll take two weeks for each one of his. That way I can step up the long runs in half-mile increments – something less likely to cause my body to stage a coup and kick my brain out of office.

As for the intervals…well, there still isn’t a plan for those. I do better when I keep running. Planned breaks and I, we just don’t get along. Once I take that first break, my body doesn’t understand why I can’t just take another. It gets soft. So my plan is to keep chipping away at my endurance until I can do the three miles (or more) all in one go. Easier said than done, blah blah, but that’s the plan.

Now I just gotta make myself stick to it. Hoo boy.

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One Response to “A girl, a plan, and a wide open trail.”

  1. Running right round. | Can't Get There From Here Says:

    […] started training again for that silly little half marathon at the beginning of September, right after my sister left, right when I said I was going to. After […]

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