Friday, October 28, 2011

Running: So what's next?

So while I was still training for the Nike Half, my husband started talking to me about doing a winter half marathon.  Training in the summer was HORRIBLE, but now that I'm in shape to do a half, maintaining it hopefully won't be that hard through the nicer winter months.

Like most people, my life has been touched with friends and loved ones having cancer.  I've raised money for the American Cancer Society (which is a FANTASTIC organization), and had a wonderful time doing it.  There are two half marathons in the winter in Austin that people generally do -- 3M or 1/2 of the Austin Marathon.  The Austin Marathon is now the LIVESTRONG Marathon, and I have a karmic debt to Lance Armstong we'll talk about later, and so the decision was made!  I'm raising money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and running the Austin Half Marathon!

I had a hard time finding a training plan to do one half marathon and then another a few months later, so I wanted to share what my plan is!

When I started training for the Nike race, I used the FIRST training plan and combined the training plan I found on the Runner's World website with the one I found in their book, which I read about in Runner's World some time back.   I was really intrigued by it as it preached only running 3 days a week (and cross training on the other days.)

I ran into two problems with the plan:

1)  I couldn't do a lot of the prescribed mid week work before actually leaving for work.  I'm so slow, and running 5 miles before I leave for work would take an hour, meaning I'd have to leave my house before 6 am, which just wasn't going to happen.  I ended up modifying the plan so I would just run 30-45 minutes (whatever actual time I had) as fast as I could one day and then did speedwork the other day, sort of following the plan in the book, but doing whatever I could in whatever time I actually had.

2)  There was a lot of long run hard weeks back to back which I found really tiring in the Texas heat as well.  I was getting really burned out mentally and having a hard time getting motivated to run so far so often.

I remembered reading about some other plan in Runner's World where you did long runs every other week (and I had done a similar plan years ago), so I found this Jeff Galloway plan, and did long run final weeks of that, basically doing a long run one week, 4 miles the next week, long run the week after, and so on.  It gave me a mental break every other week which I really needed.  (I didn't do the walking method Galloway prescribes, but I used it when I ran the whole marathon, and it is good.)  I continued to only run two other days a week doing speedwork and hard short runs.

So, what is my new plan?

I took weeks 11-17 of the Galloway plan and working backwards on a calendar, put those long runs as a ramp up to the race.  So, I'll use the same plan to run 14 miles or so two weeks before the half.  Until I get to that 7 week stretch (starting January 7), I'm going to run 8 miles long one weekend, 4 miles the next, 10 miles the weekend after that, and 4 miles the next; repeat!  Since 9 miles is my sticking point, I'll have a run to push past that point once a month.

We'll see how it goes!