Or "How to train for a 25K trail run with no time!"
My first race of 2013 is going to be the Hawkeye 25K (15.5 miles) in March. As I posted in my last blog, I ran this race last year without realizing how hilly it would be. I still finished and was pleased with my time, but my goal for this year is to pace myself better during the first half of the race so I can keep my energy up for the second half. I couldn't get a good signal for Runkeeper on my phone, so I don't know specific splits, but my average pace was about 11:30. I think I can comfortably keep a 10-10:30 pace, which would easily take off 17 minutes from my PR.
So that's my goal, but how am I going to get there? I officially started training on December 22 and can easily knock off 6 or 7 miles, so my focus is two-fold: get the mileage up and incorporate hills & trails into my training (which I won't be able to do much of until the snow is gone). Despite fighting a cold over winter break, I've been able to run regularly. However, I school starts up again on Thursday, and my schedule gets quite busy quite quickly. I'm coaching high school speech and rehearsing for a play during the week, so 99% of my running will just be on the weekends (unless we get more snow days). Hopefully 7am-10pm weekdays will be adequate cross-training.
I really like to follow training plans to the T, so I tried to look for a plan that would work for my schedule. I found a 3x/week plan, but it really focuses on speed and intense workouts. Since I'm doing a trail run and I know I just need to pace better from the start of the race, I'm not worried about speeding up that much. In the end I decided to return to the half marathon training plan I used in 2011 but modify it.
This plan has four runs per week, two with the same mileage, one a mile longer, and the long run on the weekend. I'm just going to drop one of the repeat runs each week and do the two mid-week runs as one, so essentially doing two long runs each weekend. For example, next week's schedule would be 3, 4, 3, 6. I'm dropping one of the 3 milers, combining the other 3 and 4 for a 7 mile run, and keeping the 6.
With this plan my longest planned run is 12, but my total weekend mileage will peak at 21. Of course I wish I could run more than two days a week, but given my schedule and my goals for this first race, I think it will be a good plan. I also have a kettlebell and bike roller at home so I can hopefully throw in some quick cross-training. My schedule will conveniently free up right after this race, so when I start training for my second big race, an Olympic triathlon in May, I'll have more time (and daylight) during the week.
Has anyone else ever trained for a race of this distance with just two workouts per week?