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Running Aspirations

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

My sister is contemplating training for the Lincoln Marathon, which will be run (I think) the first week of May. She has a week or so to make up her mind before registration opens, and then she needs to act. Registration is expected to fill up fast.

That gives rise to a little bit of sibling rivalry. I run faster than my sister does, but she runs farther than I do. If she's training for a marathon, that puts the dream of a half marathon into my head. Specifically, the Flower City Challenge half marathon, which was run a week before the Lincoln Marathon in 2012. It's scheduled for April 28, 2013.

I had registered for the 2012 version. Then I hurt my foot. It got better, but I wasn't training when I needed to. So I swapped down to the 5K on the same day, so as to salvage something from my entry fee. I got a nice tech shirt, and I learned after the fact that I came in first in my age group in the 5K. Note that this wasn't a great accomplishment; the leader of my age group in the half came in at about the same pace per mile for 13.1 miles as I did for 5K. Guess which race the real runners entered?

I got too ambitious after that, and re-injured the bad foot. Right now, I'm almost back to running regularly. True, I ran 4.31 miles in 30 minutes today, for an average pace of 6:58 per mile; but I won't count the running as regular until I can consistently run 3 days a week. I'm close, but I haven't demonstrated that I'm there yet.

But sibling rivalry and Mr. Testosterone have me thinking about a half. I looked at some training plans. There are a couple of things to think about in the plans I looked at. First, they all want me to run 4 days a week. I like that concept, but I don't think my foot is ready for that. Maybe, if I'm lucky, the foot will be ready in a month. That would be incredibly good timing for starting a 16 week program aimed at running a half at the end of April.

Second, they all want me to run slow. That is a challenge for me. At a couple of early points in my run this noon, I deliberately tried to back off the pace a bit. I think I did back off, just a little, from where I started; but I warmed to the effort later and finished at a fairly quick training pace.

I'm not dumb enough to think that all the experts telling me to run slow are wrong. I just haven't figured out how to do it. I also suspect that "slow" for me may not be as slow as the suggested pace in the training programs; an 8 minute mile would be slow for me, assuming I can learn to do it.

Third, the training programs I looked at tend to be structured for runs on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. That's a good schedule for me, as I currently work from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and can run on my lunch break. But the mileage gets piled up later on in the schedule. I ran 4+ miles today. I don't think I have time to run 6 miles on a lunch break. I'll have to adapt the training to fit my schedule, somehow.

Then there's injury prevention. It appears that weight lifting is important for preventing running injuries. If I put 4 days a week into running, finding the time to lift weights will be a challenge. I think I have part of that puzzle solved, as it's more time efficient to lift at home than it was to lift at a gym; but it remains to be seen whether I'll crash and burn if I try to structure a week with 4 runs and 3 lifting sessions. Probably there will be one or two days a week with both a run and lifting weights. Have to think about how to not overdo things on days like that.

The Flower City Challenge has some noticeable hill work. That was a concern of mine a year ago, but I think I figured that part out. I found some hills near home to train on. If I can train at all, those hills are still there. I'd like to run some of them even if I don't end up running a half in April.

That's where my aspirations are right now. Then I come back to reality, and realize I'm still rehabbing a bad foot. Backing off enough to not aggravate the foot trumps building the cardio ability to keep running for 90 minutes. When I get back to where my reality is right now, a half doesn't look practical.

But I don't have to register for the Flower City Challenge right now. It won't sell out, and cheap registration lasts till January 19. Maybe by then it will look more possible. Or maybe it will be definitely ruled out without shelling out the entry fee.

. . . and let's not think about the Rochester Marathon until after I demonstrate that I can run a half. I've got another requirement for long races that I hadn't thought about a year ago. I require that training for and running the race doesn't keep me from regular non-competitive running after the race.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wow, man, I would really focus on that foot. But, aspirations never hurt to have. I'm happy you shared them, makes me list my aspirations, too! That keeps us getting forward!
    1417 days ago
    yes, funny how siblings can motivate us.
    Have a terrific day.
    1417 days ago
    I'd say in about 3 weeks add the 4th (short!) run per week and see how the foot feels. I've done half marathons and 3 run/week programs, and you can do fine. I only really went to 4 days when doing marathon training (most programs want 5-6 days/week), and I drop that 4th run when in recovery mode.

    I'd do 2 ST sessions, and take one day completely off... you'd be amazed the difference that makes!

    Good luck! Rehab and re-injury are preventable... just don't let your mind get ahead of your body. emoticon
    1417 days ago
    Try the Hal Higdon novice half plan below. If you cross train on Wednesdays it is three runs a week.


    You do need to figure out how to slow down to build up distance. A half training plan typically involves a long run per week. If the long run is too fast, you don't recover enough from it and the risk of injury grows.

    I went from my first 5K to my first half in 12 weeks. It can be done. Good luck!
    1418 days ago
    Sibling rivalry.. I know the feeling! I have a brother training for a triathalon and he calls me and says things like, "I rode 60 miles on my bike today". I don't bike or swim so a tri will never be a good fit for me, but I KNOW I could outrun him if I trained! As if that weren't bad enough, I have a lifelong friend who beat cancer and just finished chemo in July. I talked to her the other day and she will be completing not her first, but her FOURTH HM this month! Stuff like that really makes you want to get up and go. So it's not all bad. Great pace on your run today.. you CAN DO that half! emoticon
    1418 days ago
    It's amazing how persistent that sibling rivalry is! I catch myself "competing"in so many different situations . . .

    Your planning sounds good, especially the ST to help prevent injuries . . . run walk run intervals also a great idea (which I'm using on the treadmill, trying to persuade myself that I "can" run again).
    1418 days ago
    There used to be some 3 day a week running programs on Runner's World.
    I have heard you should expect to run one minute slower per mile for each increased race distance. If you run a 5K at 6 minute per mile, a 10K goal pace would be 7 and a half marathon would be 8.
    I have to agree that weight lifting really helps you avoid injury.
    Give it a couple of weeks to decide if you really want to run a half. If so, then commit to the training. Then the half will be easy when it comes.

    1418 days ago
    I am truly laughing out loud, brother! That ol' sibling rivalry cuts both ways, you know!

    Anyway, having succumbed to techno-envy and invested in the Smart phone, I downloaded the runkeeper app yesterday evening and tried it out on my break and noon walks today. It says I was running, haven't figured out how to tell it that was a walk!

    Of course, it's dark by the time I get home so the true running during the week is treadmill, except for long runs that are on the weekends outdoors. I'm really thinking I'm going to register for the full and try to train for it. One feature of Lincoln is that having spent the extra $20 for the full (above the price for the half), I can drop back to the half if the training is going in such a way as to indicate that's appropriate.

    And... by the way... my "magic mile" pace is 9 minute miles, and I don't really "run", I run-walk-run, per Jeff Galloway method. If you really want to attain a slower pace, interject the walking intervals, and that will bring your pace into line.

    And prevent injury while you train for longer distances. On race day... intervals at first and when you KNOW you're going to make the distance (say about mile 9 in a half, mile 22 in the full) feel free to up the intervals of running!
    1418 days ago
  • RG_DFW
    Best of luck... here's to a non-eventful training season and race!!
    1418 days ago
    Ahh. Sibling rivarly. Sounds like you've got a good, reasonable plan and you're on the right track back to your old self.
    1418 days ago
  • NWFL59
    Let's hope you continue to heal and are fully recovered and able to meet all your running aspirations. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1418 days ago
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