I've been working the training schedule since early February in preparation for these races, and now that the date is getting closer I'm getting more and more excited to run them. It's weird, usually I'm nervous for a race, but this time around I have been nailing my training schedule. I've made every run, I've hit every goal time, I've eaten right and I've been sleeping well. My body is responding to training and I feel great about it!
It's funny, the first run on my training schedule as I prepared for this race was a five mile LSD. Last night I went to the gym and ran a six mile tempo! I'm running farther now at a fast pace than I did at a slow pace to start the season. I ran the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler on Sunday for fun ; if you had told me that by April 1 I would be running 10 miles for fun, just because I could, I would have told you that you're nuts.
If you're like me (and God help you if you are!), then you know how much hope you have when you start out. Unfortunately, there's also a lot of self-doubt. It took me several weeks before I knew that I was going to be able to stick with my plan for Frederick. There are a couple of key reasons that I think that training this time around has been so much different than in the past.
Blogging and Dailymile
Believe it or not, writing has helped make me a better runner. Putting my info out there for everyone to see made me feel like I had to keep my training going, especially after people would comment and I knew that someone was watching! Blog ideas are always running through my mind as I run, and that alone is enough to take my mind off of the pain that pushing myself can sometimes cause.
On top of blogging, I have posted my workouts to Dailymile . There may be better sites and apps out there for logging workouts (although I think DM is pretty good!), but the community of athletes at DM is second to none. They are supportive, thoughtful, loaded with good advice, and probably the most positive people I know, virtually or otherwise. I have had the great fortune to meet several DM buddies IRL, and I would suggest that any runner, new or elite, join in the community!
I'm probably preaching to the choir when I say this, but afternoon naps after a long run are possibly the greatest things in the world. I've made a concerted effort to make sure I maximize my recovery time, and the occasional nap after a run does wonders if you get the chance.Sleep in general is probably the greatest thing you can do for your body during training outside of running.
I thought for a second about becoming a streaker after reading about the concept on DM. Streakers are folks who run every day (hopefully with all/most of their clothes on), and some people have impressive streaks that go back years. This is pretty cool, but not for me. I need my rest and recovery days; once again, I feel like getting involved in a streak would make me feel like I had a chore to accomplish. I have to keep running as me-time if I'm going to stick with it and continue to love it.
In the Long Run
Getting healthier, faster and stronger feels amazing. I wish I could take the way I feel now and let other people feel it for a while; I imagine if they did they may want to get more active.