Just 11 days to go until my first fall race in Atlanta and I am thankful that the train smart light bulb went off in my head. I started using a training plan months ago, but that does not mean that I stuck to it. As a co-leader of the Tallahassee Chapter of Moms RUN This Town, I found myself committing to run on scheduled Rest Days and pushing through more miles that I should have to be ready for Atlanta on October 6th. Then I ultimately found myself pushing through a calf strain which was certainly no fun at all. Finally, I decided that I HAD TO stick to my training plan to stay healthy and be ready for the race and so over the past few weeks I have done just that. Even pushing through long runs solo on Sunday mornings after most of my fellow running girls put in their miles on Saturday mornings. It has all helped though. It has taught me that I need to listen to my body more, I need to stick to a training plan because it is there for a reason and that you cannot do all the runs all the time and that THAT’S TOTALLY OK!
So last week I decided to record my finishes on my training runs and I loved seeing my progress, but more than that I loved the rest day results which I gained endurance, one of the things I have struggled with lately. The very slight cooler temps we have had are also helping because I am a cold weather runner for certain!
Short Run – Who doesn’t look forward to a scheduled short run? I mean whether you are participating in a simple 5K or a short group run, it’s often where you can either blow it out or have a short less speedy 3-miler and sometimes you just find yourself right in the middle at a comfortable and sustainable pace, which is what I found myself having on my recent short runs.
Mid Level Run – I eased myself back into our morning group run, but knew that I would end up solo because I needed to add-on the extra 1.5 miles to get my training run in. I opted for a slight addition to the course that everyone else was running and I was a bit apprehensive because it was the wee hours of the morning on an added course that I had not run in the daylight hours, but I knocked it out. I pushed myself up all the hills and never felt like I wanted to stop, even when I hit my mid-level run I wanna stop point that comes for me around the 3rd or 4th set of steep hills. I knocked out that long run at a faster pace than my training plan called for but never felt like I was pushing too hard and not continuing to build my endurance and it felt great!
Long Run – And then there was the scheduled Sunday Solo Long Run, which I both dread and look forward too. It’s totally a love/hate relationship. I know what my course is and I know what I need to get through it. I try to make sure that I have enough fuel and water for hydration and I get out early, earlier the better for me. Last weekend I even got up early and started the 10-miler at 5:45 am. I was up with the folks that were just heading to bed from the previous day’s FSU home game I am certain. It was dark but it was also cooler and oh yeah, IT RAINED THE ENTIRE TIME. My post for the day was ’cause race day doesn’t give a damn if it rained on the morning of your last long run’. I knew I had a very big loop ahead and the previous week I was not prepared with hydration, but I ordered an extra bottle and added it onto my belt. I fueled up 30 minutes before with my vegan bread with peanut butter and made sure to use my EnergyBITS which I now swear by for maintaining my iron levels since we have cut out meat. I remembered throughout the run what I had read all week about the long run needs to be slower than race pace, which was not on the training plan for that run, so I went slightly off course and was able to maintain a good pace for myself. The run was awesome, well as awesome as running 10 straight miles on purpose can be, but I felt really accomplished. Though toward the end I was really tired and ended up taking a 2 hour nap later around lunch, I really felt like sticking to my training plan worked for me.
I have six more scheduled runs before race day and I’m really actually looking forward to all of them. Progressing my endurance level and staying healthy. It something I work on every day, but I make every effort to concentrate on that and my nutrition. You cannot focus on one without the other, but we must allow ourselves some cheats at times. I look forward to those once a week times the most and post race meals are the BEST!
I hope everyone is having a great race season so far and if you are still training for your first race of the season, I wish you happy miles and an injury free race season! Share your upcoming races and who knows, maybe I will see you at some of those! Happy Running!