So far I’ve written about two things that really worked well for me as I tackled my first half marathon – my kit and my fueling strategy. Now, for the third part in this series, let’s talk about what didn’t work so well for me, shall we?
What didn’t work? My training method.
It seems a little funny to say that my training didn’t work, considering that I was able to finish the race and that I finished faster than I thought I would. So I guess in a way it kind of worked… except that I didn’t really train. Not properly, anyway. It’s not that I didn’t try! I just, well… the road to hell is paved with good intentions, isn’t it?
As much as I love Runner’s World, I didn’t want to shell out $$ for one of their training plans. My running club has a free training plan on their website – one that incorporates their Tuesday speed workouts and Thursday tempo runs, which I appreciated since I took part in those anyway – but it called for an 8-mile long run in the first week, which I found more than a little intimidating considering I hadn’t even run a 10K yet. Hal Higdon’s novice 1 plan looked pretty good, but it didn’t allow my Shammies events to fit in seamlessly and I was a bit too lazy to work it out properly. Rae was awesome and sent me one she had worked out too, and it looked much more my speed than the others… but yeah. I found it incredibly hard to stick to any of the plans, despite my best intentions.
In fact, looking back through my blog posts, as well as my Garmin Connect and MapMyRun logs, my “training plan” seemed to consist of a lot of faffing about, then a panic a few weeks out when I realized I hadn’t run more than 7 miles, two long runs a week apart in which I upped my mileage too much too soon, some hardcore tapering, and then my half marathon. Because I’m feeling generous, I thought I’d put this ingenious plan together in case anyone would like to take the Dana’s Faffing About 12-Week Approach to Half Marathon Training (TM):
For real though, I did not train properly for this half, and because of that, I’m surprised that I ran it as well as I did. I chalk that up to hefty glycogen stores, glorious fall weather, and the intense desire to just get to the end so I could stop running.
But, if I ran that half more-or-less decently despite a lack of real training, imagine how much better I could run a future half if I *did* actually train! The idea that’s floating around in my head now is that I should sign up for a super cool half that I really want to run, that’s at least 3 months in the future, and then be smart like Rae and develop a training plan that incorporates Shammies workouts and things I need to work on (like hills!) and then just suck it up and do it, and try my hardest to stick to it. And then see what kind of a difference it makes when I run the half. It’s almost enough to push me over the edge to sign up for my second!
Do you like to follow training plans, or do you blaze your own trails?
Any suggestions for a fun half marathon to work towards?