Final Long Run – 2 Weeks Out

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Ever since I started running I’ve read hundreds, if not thousands, of articles from running websites (like Runner’s World and Cool Running), seen and reposted several inspirational posts on Facebook from some of my favorite running pages (like I <3 to Run, Runner’s World, Runtastic, and Neon Runner), and read/interacted with lots of new friends that also have running blogs (Running Not Racing, Pip in Motion, Run Fast or Faster, iamamotherrunner, ClumsyRunnerBlog, and See Fleck Run, I’m looking at you guys…) and when it comes to how-tos, training plans, nutrition, etc. you’re going to read a lot of the same stuff. I mean, I guess since it’s running – the single physical activity humans are born to do – there’s not been a lot of advancements in the sport of putting one foot in front of the other, not a lot of extra stuff to “know”.

Side note: What running websites/blogs do you follow? Tell me in the comments! I’m always looking for more confirmation I’m not a psycho for doing this…

This isn’t to say a lot of it isn’t worth reading over and over again. I’ve learned in the last couple of years that it definitely pays to read these things multiple times because if you’re like me, you always think “I don’t have to do that…” and over time figure out you’d be better off if you did. One thing I’ve read half a million times is the training rule never do anything new on race day. Up until now I’ve never really put a lot of thought into it. Running only 5k races and a single 10k, my “routine” hasn’t been a big issue for me. With a half marathon now closer than ever, I’m finally taking this advice seriously.

Though, in order to not do something new on race day, you’d have to have something old to do, and that old thing had damn well better work! I think I have a race day method to employ and I do not intend to change anything. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

My exercise routine is ever-evolving. As it is right now, I’m still doing 3 mornings per week at Title Boxing Club and am getting in one noon class per week in addition. On Mondays after class I hit the weight room for a massive session of drop sets with the E-Z curl bar (currently at about 18 or 19 sets ranging between 1-10 reps with various weights). On Tuesdays I’ve added deadlifting, squats, and pull ups. Friday mornings have been devoted to post-class running but this week I added bench press and an extra mile (total miles = 2). My run on Friday morning post-Power Hour and post-bench press was pleasant and was the first runrise run I’ve had in quite some time. A nice reminder that the season is changing.

With that run in mind, I considered how lame I am when I get to work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, rest days with no exercise. No amount of coffee can save me. I’ve decided I’m going to try my very best to get up earlier on those days and get in a 2 mile run before work just to get the heart-pumping, wake myself up, and put a few extra miles on the board. Don’t hold me to that, but please, someone hold me to that. I’m going to do my best.

Today was my last long run before my half marathon. I didn’t have a distance set, but I figured I needed to get something in that was at least close to my final distance, especially since I’m not long running anymore before race day. 75% is good enough, I figured, and 75% of 13.1 is 9.825 miles. That’s stupid so I made my goal an even 10 miles (76% – the extra percent counts, dammit!)

And it was GREAT! Everything about the run was awesome. I had recently read an article in Runner’s World about not looking down on the idea of doing intervals. I’ll be honest, there’s a weird stigma for me regarding intervals. I do them and I do them often but I don’t want to do them. To me, intervals means “I can’t do it”. And that’s simply not true. What IS true, no matter how much I may like or dislike it, is that I’m not properly trained for this 13.1. I’ve never ran the distance before, I honestly don’t think I’m cut out to be a distance runner, and I’m never going to be a fast runner. This doesn’t change the fact that I AM a runner, though. A runner with goals that differ from a typical runner’s, and I’m an athlete that’s in damn good shape, regardless. The goal from day 1 was to lose weight, burn calories, and stay in shape, and that’s not changed.

So I did intervals.

Complicated ones, too. Screw my pace – I just want the distance – and I did it with 8:1:9:2 intervals. I don’t know why the intervals seemed to work out so nicely today but they did. I finished my 10 mile run with an average pace that was near 11:30/mile which is not a lot different from my sluggish slow run pace with the added benefit of not being dog tired when I was finished. I think we have a winner! I also think I’ve finally gotten my personal A+ pre-run fuel figured out that consists of a bit of water, a whole wheat bagel, a protein bar, and my preworkout amino supplement. I had plenty of energy and don’t think I was in any danger of hitting any walls. I also seemed pretty well hydrated, stopping for water shortly after mile 8 only because I was near my car and could do so.

Last night Erin and I were on our way back to Knoxville from Nashville and decided to stop at GAINSboro, TN (had to emphasize that) to eat at a place called The Bull & Thistle Pub where I had a Yee Haw Dunkel and Erin and I split the Beef Wellington for 2 which consisted of a lovely wellington paired with cheesy garlic potatoes, and tempura asparagus. Expensive dinner, yeah, and 30 minutes out of the way, yeah, but it was well worth the time and money. And now I have an excuse to track down some more wellington on April 2, right? Right? I’m a big fan of this night-before meal idea…

My post-run meal today, on the other hand, was a bagel covered in nutella and two broiled salmon filets. Hey, when you’re rungry whatever’s in your mind is a great pairing no matter how off the wall it may be!

Anyway, a total of 12 miles put in this week that would include my longest run to-date. While I do not intend to run long next week, I have every intention of getting 3 conditioning runs in (Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings) so I look to still get some miles on the board before taking a week off from running and landing on 13.1 day!

Read to the bottom, there’s more…

This Week

Mileage 12 Miles (19.31km)
Avg. Pace 11:24/mile (7:05/km)

2016 Running

Runtastic Runs (1/01-Present) 61.18 Miles
Total Yearly Miles 61.18 Miles

Miles Left Until 2016 Goal (350 Miles): 288.82

A couple of final things worth noting:

1) I have a spreadsheet built that helps me keep track of my overall mileage and pace every week. I put in my weekly miles and it converts it to metric for me and adds it to my yearly total. Since I’ve kept this information since day 1, I’ve been able to calculate exactly how many miles I’ve ran since the first day I started running. I’ve had a milestone of 500 miles coming up for a while now and after today’s long run I’ve………..come up 0.03 miles short. COME ON! Do I just call it 500? Do I walk down my driveway and call it 500? Do I wait until next run and just add 0.03 miles to my final distance?

2) I’m already having a change of heart re: am I ever running this distance again. I’m already very excited about running this half marathon, already very excited to cross the finish line and collect my medal, already very excited to eat pizza until I explode afterward, already very excited to buy my 13.1 sticker for my car. I’ve said for months now that I’m never running this distance again once I finish it, but lately I’ve started to change it up a little bit.

Viking Metal band Amon Amarth came up on shuffle on my way home today. A song called “Live Without Regrets” that speaks of Norse warriors going into battle with no fear of death and celebrating the idea that “We don’t mourn a friend that fell – or dread the day we fall ourselves – Warriors don’t go to Hel – ’cause we know Ygg will greet us well”. They also quote a Norse proverb:

A coward thinks he’ll always live
If it keeps himself from strife
Old age leaves no rest and peace
though spears may spare his life

I may not be a warrior going into actual battle, but I think a lot of parallels can be drawn when it comes to setting, and crushing, one’s goals. However insane they may be. No decisions have been made just yet, but I’ve already thought about finding a proper training program to start up once I take some time off…

Just don’t tell anyone. I’ll be sure to tell everyone, myself. And be annoying about it. Maybe even start a blog that talks about running all the time…

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