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It's time to see what I can do ...

I'm training again, folks. Like, following a legit plan and running with a purpose. This hasn't happened since ... Well, really since my first half-marathon. I sorta winged it and created my own training plans for my four half-marathons last year (Side note: Holy shit - I really ran four half-marathons last year?!), but I decided it was time to stop hanging out in my comfort zone and start pushing myself.

After all, I want to run a full marathon this year ... Like, really run it. I don't just want to wing it and cross it off the bucket list. (Another note: Running a 5k was the only running-related item on my original bucket list ... I should really update that one day!)

Cue Elsa: "It's time to see what I can do ... to test the limits and break through! 

Feeling fantastic after my first long run of official training, a 10-miler on a rare sunny day in January ... Let's hope this feeling stays around when things get harder!

So step one to training is picking a goal. So far, I have three for the year:

  1. Run a PR at Towpath Half Marathon in April. I was planing to run the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon, but my brother convinced me to do this one instead. It works out better because, schedule-wise, for this year. Gazelle Girl still looks AWESOME, but it will have to wait. 
  2. Help my husband finish his first half marathon at the Cedar Point Run and Ride in June. I'll likely run this one too, but I don't plan to really race it. This will be Kyle's big race of the year, and I want to make sure I support his training as much as he's supported mine. 
  3. Run the Akron Marathon in September. I know, I know - I was set on running Grand Rapids this year. But again, scheduling was a big consideration. The Akron Marathon may not have the flattest course, but it's got a reputation for being one of the best races in the Midwest, and it's scheduled for early in the fall, which will make my life a lot less stressful/complicated come October/November. BONUS: My brother signed up to run the Akron Marathon too! I'm so excited to have him by my side, even if we don't run the whole race together. (That's TBD ... We'll see if our training matches up at all.)

Step two in training is picking a plan. So last week, I started following the Train Like a Mother Half-Marathon Own It plan (available in the book, "Train Like a Mother" and also on Training Peaks). Choosing this training plan was a BIG step for me because it involves what I like to call "math runs." A "math run" is something that involves far too much thinking for my brain. For example: 2x400 @10k pace +10 min. WU - infinity + 25-60 strides.

OK, maybe they're not THAT complicated, but I've shied away from these kinds of runs for two years because they intimidate me. I prefer my nonchalant, non-focused kind of runs: 5 miles, 3 miles, 10 miles - just run until you hear the watch beep. Run fast when you feel fast, run slow when you feel slow.

But like I said, it's time to get out of my comfort zone! So far, I nailed two tempo runs (Thanks to my BRF Kim for cheering me through one!) ... and then royally messed up a hill workout. I was supposed to run six sets of one-minute hills, and I ended up running six sets of half-mile hills - THAT"S A BIG DIFFERENCE - and I felt it! After dragging myself to finish, I went back to read the workout description and realized my epic failure. Oh well - I survived and learned a valuable lesson!

Lesson learned: Read your workout directions very closely! NOTE: Ran the hills on a 5 percent treadmill incline since Mother Nature decided to give us more snow and sub-zero temps this week. 
So who else out there is training for something? Are you following a plan - your own or someone else's? Any advice for someone stepping up their game for the first time? I'm a teensy bit scared ... 


  1. I think different training plans work differently for different people. How's that? haha. My only recommendation would be to just listen very closely to your body when you're doing that much speed work. I think having a complex schedule can be fun because pretty much every run is different and change makes things interesting. I used the Own It plan for my last marathon and ended up with IT band issues I hadn't had in years. However, I also added some Altra shoes to my rotation and I think it could have been a combination of the both. Not to scare you away, more to help you not make the same mistake. I'm coming to the taper portion of training for Phoenix Marathon. I used a good ole standby this time. Same Hal Higdon plan I used VERY successfully for my first full marathon and I can honestly say my body has LOVED this plan yet again. I don't know if I will PR but I have a glimmer of hope. Good luck!

  2. PS .. your post about getting back on track WW wise is what it took to convince me to go to my meeting this past Monday. Thanks!


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