I mentioned this is my introductory post, but I'm training for my first (real) half-marathon, and I want to dedicate a post to it. I ran a half a few years ago, but I didn't train for it appropriately, and I was certainly in survival mode rather than in race mode. This time I'm devoting to a full twelve week training plan, and I have a goal in mind: sub-90 minutes. This boils down to about 6:50 per mile, and that's a pretty ambitious goal for me. I've chosen the City to the Sea Half Marathon in San Luis Obispo on October 12th.
My biggest surprise since starting this training plan has been how boring my training had been before. I was in a rut where all of my runs were just runs. No fartlek training, no tempo runs, no runs longer than five miles, no speed work, just boring runs along the same routes. Now, I've come to love my routes through downtown Salem and the four city parks that all within two miles of my apartment, but my running wasn't really that fun. I now look forward to Tuesdays (speed work) and Saturdays (long runs) because it shakes things up a bit rather than the same old thing. Matt Frazier shared his thoughts about this last month. When I read it I thought his post was nice, but it didn't click for me until I made the same realization for myself.
This training plan includes weekly long runs of up to fourteen miles. In high school my long distance runs were 400 meters, and in college the furthest I raced was 800 meters. This was a shocker to me. I'm three weeks in and I've completed long runs of eleven and twelve miles now, and I have a few more twelve milers before my fourteen mile run. I've found these runs to be the most satisfying of all my training. It gives me over an hour to get away and be alone with my thoughts.
One of these runs came this past Saturday, which coincided with my birthday. A few miles in I caught myself thinking about how lucky I am to have the opportunity to get out and run twelve miles. We spent the weekend camping in Central Oregon, and I ran the majority of the twelve on the beautiful Cascade Lakes Highway with gorgeous mountain views at every turn. Here I was on a run that I was dreading a few weeks prior, on vacation, on my birthday, and I was loving it. I couldn't get the smile off of my face. I'm learning to love long runs rather than just the idea of them.
In addition to adopting an actual training plan, I've recently changed my diet to one that is completely plant-based. There are both ethical and nutritional components as to why I chose this route, and I'm very happy that I made the leap. This is one of the changes I've made in the past year (past two months) that I've wanted to make foe a long time. I've eaten a meat-free diet for about eight and a half years before deciding to give up cheese, milk, and eggs completely. I've always envied those who could eat this way, thinking about how "bad ass" it was due to it's difficulty and the commitment required. Now I'm one of those bad asses, and I don't know that I've ever been this fit and energetic before.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. How do you mix up your training? How has your diet played a role in your training? Do you have any fun vegan recipes for me? Do you, like me, have a story of watching others do something you wish you were doing for years before you began to do it?