I never liked the idea of having a training plan. I never wanted to feel like I was being forced to run. If I run because it’s fun and I enjoy it, then it should never feel like a chore.
In the fall I typically planned out my weeks pretty vaguely. Approximate mileage, maybe a workout or two. The closest I’ve ever been to following a real plan of any sort was in high school track, but even then it was just the workout (400m repeats with 400m active recovery on Mondays, building up number of repeats over the season) and I didn’t have any kind of goal pace to aim for. It wasn’t even until much later that I realized that even though I was the always the slowest during intervals, the times I had (usually 1:35-1:45) were actually quite good for the level of fitness I had at the time. I feel like even just that one consistent workout a week really helped propel me from almost zero running ability to being able to do 30 miles/week comfortably.
So when a few weeks ago, one of my roommates mentioned that a grad student in running club (who recently won a major half marathon) was coaching some of the guys on the team, I asked if he’d be willing to coach me. He’d never coached a girl or anyone at my level of fitness before, so he said sure and that it would be interesting.
I was excited to get some structure back into my schedule with running because I felt kind of sluggish between the Philly marathon back in mid-November and the start of Christmas break mid-December. I got my first 3 weeks of base training from my coach the week of Christmas and followed it pretty closely. I liked that he made it really flexible – an example would be like 35 miles for the week total, including a long run of 9 miles, 4 x 800m repeats at 3:20 with 2 min recovery, and 5 x 150m striders that I could do in whatever order I wanted provided there was at least one day between the repeats and the long run. That kind of plan I can follow.
This past week I ran 45 miles. Seriously, that’s more than I was doing on average in the weeks building up to the Philly marathon. But I love it and love that I was able to do it. I often fall into the mindset that I’m still a beginner runner and that ~5 miles a day is enough to improve, but at this point, I’m definitely ready for more, and that’s what I’m getting through this plan.
My (vague) goals right now are to break 21 minutes in the 5K (current PR is 21:55 from last April on a not-flat course) and to break 1:40 in the half marathon (current PR is 1:42:43 from September on minimal training). I know those are attainable goals, and I’m really looking forward to smashing them.
So that’s what I’ve been up to.
And just because I haven’t posted anything in awhile, here’s a nice picture of what people look like when you transplant them Georgia to Pennsylvania in the winter (since you probably haven’t heard all over the news about the ridiculous temperatures across the country).