countdown is onPosted: September 18, 2011
The very thing that I was scared to sign up and complete in the first place is now quickly approaching. I think you know what that is – my first half marathon.
How I Got Here:
It had always been in the back of my mind to make one of my goal’s related to running, but the idea of making it reality was harder than actually putting it on my goal board. And what running goal did I exactly want to put on my goal board to begin with?!
I had been trying to increase my running time and distance at this time, and had always known that a half marathon intrigued me, but could I do it?! Was I a good enough runner to attempt it? Did I have it in me to do it?
Because I questioned myself, I kept putting it off and putting it off. I would glance at races online being held in and around my area, but a) they scared me, b) were being held at a bad time or c) I was just making excuses. Luckily, I was able to see the ‘excuses’ part and knew that I had to narrow down my goal a bit more (so that I’d actually do it – and stop with the excuses).
So, I came up with the place that I wanted to do my first marathon, and from there the search was greatly narrowed and now, unavoidable – no if’s, and’s or but’s this time!
It didn’t take me long to find not a 5K, not a 10K, but a half marathon in the town I wanted to complete my first half marathon (next to Disney World, which would make for a sweet first marathon spot!). Was it meant to be? I bet many would say ‘no,’ but in my eyes, things work out for the right reasons. It took a little hesitation, but after
a few meltdowns talking myself into it, I registered.
How I’ve Trained:
I’ve said before that I didn’t actually follow a training guide. I had glanced at a few, and got some ideas from them, but I’m such a rebel and just beat to the sound of my own drum (that’s how the expression goes, right?). I don’t encourage everyone to do this, but if you feel like you have some idea of how to train without injuring yourself, then go for it! It’s weird that I decided not to follow a training guide because I’m such a scheduler…figure that one out!
As far as running goes, I worked on gradually increasing my speed (probably the thing I succeeded best at), increasing my overall distance (always a work in progress ;)) and climbing those hills (ugh – that’s really all you need to say!). Here’s a quick summary of how I’ve done the above three things.
Increasing my speed: The only way I’ve found to successfully increase running speed is by incorporating sprints or speed intervals into your workout. This is exactly what race training guides tell you, too. I’m a huge fan of interval training, but more so, with a half marathon on the horizon (I’ve posted some of my interval times here and here). These not only test your endurance, but increase your stamina and overall speedy ability ;). I think that these are so important for any running you do!
Increasing my distance: I’d first like to say that even when you’re increasing your distance and gaining miles, living by the numbers isn’t worth it. Some days you might only be able to do a 3-miler or maybe even 2 – the important thing is don’t beat yourself up; at least you’re out there! And, once you increase your speed, the distance follows closely behind. Because my stamina and endurance were increasing, I was able to increase my distance, as well. Also, while I was increasing distance, I would allow my body to go at the pace it needed to push through (this is exactly what I did on my long run yesterday) – even if this meant running slower than a typical shorter run. Listen to your body!
Climbing hills: Ok, can I be totally honest with you? I’ve avoided running on the one road near me because I knew it would test my hill running ability – until yesterday. And you know the funny thing? The hills weren’t even that bad! Who knows if it’s because of my gradual running progression, but all that worry for nothing! Just from one run, hills no longer scare me – and I did about 6 good ones yesterday! Just take your time, run slower if you need to going up and then my rule of thumb is ‘give ‘er’ on the way down the hill! Once you’re on a flat plain, you can recovery and catch your breath. The quick run down is so worth all the work you put into it getting up!
How I’m Going To Run:
I think next Sunday will be such a major life accomplishment for me and I honestly am just going to go out there, have fun and run. I have minor goals for myself the day of, but I’d rather leaves those untouched until after the run. My only worry is the weather. It’s started getting cooler here now, and I’m just hoping I won’t be freezing my butt off since the race starts at 7:40am.
Other than that, show me the finish line!!