How awesome is it that on such a cool date as 12-12-12, I get to write that I've run a total of 12 races for the year?!? Yeppers, with the half marathon on Sunday, I hit number 12. And honestly, I didn't set out to do 12 races in 2012, but you better believe that I have my eye on doing 13 races in 2013!
So, now that a couple of days have gone by since the half marathon and I've had time to think, I'm going to make some changes to my running. Because when I really think about it, I still like running. I just have not enjoyed the super long distances. But I want to give running a half marathon one more try, just to see if I approach it differently, the outcome might be better. There's a saying that goes "insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results" and I think I've been testing that out a little too well, lately.
Here's what I know. The last couple of months, I get to a point during our long run where I'm just done. I don't want to be running anymore. It's not that my body is super-fatigued; it's that my brain says NOPE. And what's disappointing to me is that I don't feel the need to push through to the end - I just start walking. My resolve to run a certain distance disappears. And then, of course, I feel bad for not pushing myself to keep running, and quite honestly, I'm tired of this dumb cycle.
This 25-week training season was hard. The schedule had us increasing our distance every two weeks and for me, when we got to the longer miles (8 and up), it was always difficult. I struggled through every single run - in hindsight, I think if I'd gotten to just run 4 or 5 miles every once in a while, I might have felt more confident about attacking the longer distances. And who knows - maybe the anxiety I've been feeling during those long runs might not have been so bad. While this was an extremely challenging season for me, I'm very proud of myself for completing it. Less than five years ago I was an overweight, sedentary person who never, ever, EVER would have thought she'd be a runner. So even though this wasn't the greatest running season for me, the fact that I ran, week after week, is still pretty incredible.
The plan for the next few weeksSaturdays: Run 4 or 5 miles - I've earned some shorter runs! Tuesdays: Run 1/2 mile warm up, then push to run 1 mile fast (for me), then 1/2 mile cool down. Done. I can run a hard mile, if it's only ONE hard mile. Thursdays: Run my pleasant 2 miles with Erica.
After that, the plan isSaturdays: Try running intervals to see if it makes a difference in how I approach doing a long run. Maybe if I mentally know that after X number of minutes I get a 1 minute walking break, the total distance won't seem so overwhelming to me. I think I'll start off with 3:1 intervals and see how that goes. I also think that this might give me a little more self-discipline in running sooner after I take a walk break, because lately, once I start walking, I have a hard time making myself run again. Tuesdays: Hill repeats. These are hard, but when we did them last summer, I saw a lot of improvement over the course of six weeks of doing them. Plus, they have an added bonus of being somewhat of a speed workout. Thursdays: Run my pleasant 2 miles with Erica.
We signed up for the Armadillo Dash half marathon months ago - the race is March 3rd. I'm going to see if making these changes helps with my approach to running 13 miles...if my attitude improves, then I'll do the half. If it turns out that I still get that "nope, I'm done" feeling during the next couple of months, then I'll drop down to the 5K, and just do shorter races from then on.
Either way, I'm going to keep on running.
My medals and the bibs from every race I've done - I'm quite proud of this!