First of all I’d like to thank everyone who commented on my post yesterday. I felt a little emotional all day and it was so nice to read your messages. I’m so glad to be part of such a great running/blogging community.
Today was the last workout of my half marathon training. 1 mile warm-up at about 7.55 min/mile pace. Then 12 minutes at 5K pace. Followed by a slow run home watching a pink sunrise. Perfect. Even better was hitting a new milestone. As part of my 2014 goals I wanted to run a sub-7 min mile. I managed this during my 10 K in March but this was on a pretty speedy downhill section. I hadn’t managed to do it during any of my tempo runs. Until today. Mile 2 was 6.58 min/mile! So happy! And a perfect confidence boost before the race. Overall 3.89 miles at average 7.48 min/mile pace.
I have a slow 2 miler tomorrow and then that’s it. Rest day with some foam rolling and icing of my right knee. I also got the race director’s email yesterday and my bib number. This is really happening! So what have I learned over the course of the last three months………..
1. If you run more you need to eat more.
I dropped about 4 lbs in the first 4 weeks. I upped my mileage without changing my diet and was finding things a little tough. So I started to be more careful with my diet – adding more fruit, vegetables, nuts and avocado. Since then my weight has stabilized even though my miles have increased every week.
2. I need to fuel if I’m running more than 8 miles.
In my last half marathon I didn’t have any gels during training or the race and I’m pretty sure that was a mistake. On one of my first long runs I had a weird light-headed feeling that shook me up a bit and I decided to try to be more diligent about fueling before and during my long runs. This meant getting up even earlier to eat before running and taking a gel with me. And it totally worked. I felt like I was getting a second wind and started to finish my long runs feeling strong.
3. I don’t need to run all my runs hard.
If you look back at my training runs you’ll see that my paces vary a lot. From 7.40 min/mile (race pace run) to 9.30 min/mile (recovery run). Last time I tried to go as fast as possible for every run – there wasn’t any real variation in my times. No wonder my long runs felt like hell. This time I wanted to train smarter. I run two easy runs a week. One long run. One slow recovery run. And one workout where I really push myself – hills, or fast tempos. We’ll find out if this strategy works on Saturday!
4. Strengthening your legs/hips/glutes will help you run better.
Although this training cycle has gone pretty well it has been plagued by a chronic hip/knee injury. Seeing a PT has definitely helped. I personally feel that a regular doctor will help to solve your symptoms but a PT will work to make you injury-proof (wouldn’t that be an awesome super power). She gave me exercises to help strengthen my glutes/hips and had the unenviable task to trying to correct my running form. And while my knee isn’t fully back to normal it doesn’t really bother me when running and I’m hoping in a couple of weeks it won’t be an issue.
5. I love running!
I’ve managed to rack up 57 runs in the last 11.5 weeks. And while some have been tough I have enjoyed 99% of my time running. No burnout. No thinking of not going out on my scheduled run. I guess running and I are still in the honeymoon stage!
6. Trail running is the best!
My two absolute favorite runs have been on trails. A 9-miler during our weekend in Moab and a 4 mile afterwork run on the hills in Salt Lake. Getting away from traffic (especially crappy drivers who have never seen a pedestrian before) and being surrounded by nature is the best medicine.
7. I need protection from myself.
This is the first year I got proper running gloves and I loved them. Not only did they keep my hands nice and warm but they stopped me from hurting myself during the 3 (!) times (and only one was weather-related) I fell on early morning runs.
April mileage: 58.1 miles/93.5 KM
ATWRBR mileage: 180 miles/289.7 KM