Ask my husband to confirm this: The only thing more annoying than a super enthusiastic and focused runner is an enthusiastic but indecisive one. Specifically, and especially to a run-running spouse, it’s far easier to listen to a person drone on about how well training is going or how challenging it is than to listen to how she cannot decide what plan to follow, what race to try, how much, how far, how fast, etc. Every. Day.
WHAT DO I DO??
For all of January and most of February, this was me, and my husband patiently endured it. I was feeling good 8 weeks into an 18-week plan, unfluffing from the holidays and rebuilding stamina, but I needed a change. The time came to reevaluate.
The first step was focusing on my actual goal.
In a nutshell I want to be faster. Specifically, to start with, I have decided to try for a sub-2 hour half marathon. This may sound easy to some people, but for me it will take considerable work. These past few years of dipping my toes into the running waters, long slow miles have come pretty easily to me, but not so much the swiftness. In my wildest imagination, meeting this current goal will lead naturally to a faster full marathon later this year, then Boston Qualify, then the Olympics etc. Ha! Kidding. Mostly. I do think a sub-4 hour marathon in within me. And that is exciting.
So around Valentine’s Day, goal in my head, I gathered advice from a few trusted running friends and started shopping for a new training plan. I needed something that would help me keep running in balance with a busy springtime at the farm, too. A quick internet search led me to a really enticing one by Kara Goucher.
It has everything:
- Good, satisfying weekly mileage (most 13.1 plans are flimsy feeling, which makes it difficult to abandon the 26.2 plan).
- But no three-hour Fridays!! Perfect for my busy springtime calendar.
- Lots of variety day-to-day, plus lots of flexibility to invest in other physical details (abs, upper body, stretching).
- Speed work!!
- This plan is only ten weeks long, and I happened to find it exactly when ten weeks would land me at the OKC event should I choose to race. No biggie if I don’t. (There is something else big that day which I will tell you about soon.)
Just a few weeks into this plan, I already feel better and am seeing small improvements. Perhaps more importantly, fitting in the daily workouts has been easy and natural. Life balance is so important, and this plan is helping me keep running in its proper place as servant, not master. Very cool.
So Far So Good:
Kara Goucher plan week 1/10: One day that week I learned how fun it is to run “strides” at the end of an easy 6 miles. On another day I messed around with cadence, discovering how great it feels to truly do measured intervals. The snapshot below isn’t a great average pace, but it’s from a day of sprinting and walking on both asphalt and hilly mud trails. My body felt amazing at the end and I couldn’t stop grinning. Such fun to get my legs moving swiftly and with lightness, not just cranking hard and sloppy, you know? Total miles: 37
Kara Goucher plan week 2/10: A highlight from week two was running with three of my four siblings, a first for us. I ran alongside my little brother Joe, who helped me keep a decent pace for almost 7 miles despite some stunning headwinds around Lake Hefner. This was the week we lost Grandpa Stubbs, so running helped to siphon off a lot of emotion. Total miles: 39.5
Kara Goucher half week 3/10: My birthday week was particularly strange, mostly because it started with sheer exhaustion (maybe some delayed grief too) and a minor foot injury. I caved to the former problem and avoided dealing with the latter, which together meant frustratingly low mileage. On the bright side, I got lots of farm stuff accomplished and spent so much extra time with loved ones. My foot is healed now, and so far this new week has been refreshing. Sunday afternoon I laced up just to knock some rust off of my mind and body and was pleasantly surprised that an “easy effort” pace was under 9 minutes. That is progress. Total miles: 13
So that’s what’s up. It feels good to have a well defined goal in my head, something concrete and measurable to pursue. It feels even better to have a fun new plan to explore that compliments instead of competes with the rest of my life. And my husband must surely be happy that we are no longer having the same open-ended conversation every single day about whether I want to run the full or the half or nothing, or should we just move to Florida and rent out jetskiis to tourists?
Signing off now to lace up. The workout today is called “Ice Cream Sandwich.” It’s a two-mile warm up at 15 seconds over goal pace, hard hill repeats x 10, ending with another two miles at the same 15 seconds above goal pace. See? Fun!
“Run Fast for Your Mother, Run Fast for Your Father
Run for Your Children, for Your Sisters and Your Brothers
Leave all Your Love and Your Longing Behind
You Can’t Carry it With You if You Want to Survive”
~Florence+ the Machine