Race Training Begins Now(ish)

January 31, 2017

I’ve probably said this before, but I’m a mediocre runner. I run to keep my heart healthy, my mind sharp, and my stress levels at bay. It also keeps me in shape during the off-season for things like hiking, and when I have writer’s block, nothing clears my head faster than logging a few miles. All of this, I have found, can be accomplished in three miles, three times a week.

But sometimes I wonder how far I can really go. If I actually tried, could I run five miles? Ten? A half marathon? (Let’s stop there, because there is absolutely no part of me that wants to run a marathon.) Every year, I ask myself this question as I register for the Cherry Blossom lottery. And every year, I register for the 5k instead of the full 10 miles.

Except this year.

I’m a little scared, to be honest. It took me forever to build up from one mile to three, so building from three miles to ten in only ten weeks is daunting. But it’s possible, right?

Hal Higdon says it is in his Novice 15k plan, and that’s the training plan I’m following(ish). I’m skipping the first two weeks of two mile runs and starting at Week 3, with the first bump to four miles. Then I’ll probably add a week at the end with the final bump being nine miles. I’ll also probably add an additional two-mile run every week, which makes it four days of running instead of three. There’s no speed work, which is fine, since my goal is to simply finish, preferably second-to-last or better. What can I say, I’m competitive.

I’m going to try to stick to the schedule and not think too much about it, because when I do think, I start to panic. I’m pretty sure I can run four miles or even five, but beyond that? Six miles is going to hurt. I can’t even imagine seven miles, and at that point I’ll still have three miles to go. Eep.

And there are hills on the race course. HILLS. Which means I’m going to have to suck it up and start running outside, where the hills are.

So. I’m excited. And also terrified. But mostly excited.

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  • Reply Notes from the Scenic Route January 31, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Ah, have fun! It’s incredibly satisfying (and surprisingly manageable) to bump up that mileage a bit every week. Before you know it, 3 will feel like 1, 5 will feel like 3 and so on. Good luck!

    • Reply Lynn January 31, 2017 at 11:57 am

      Thank you!

  • Reply Judy January 31, 2017 at 11:40 am

    You can do it, you have the strength for it – now it’s just a matter of speed. Go slower than you do for a 5k. In the last year I could do a 10 minute pace for 5ks but it was closer to 12 minutes for a very hilly 10 miler. As long as I focused on finishing more than trying to impress someone with my time I was fine. 🙂

    Also, the best thing I ever did for my running was to switch to interval running (like run 3, walk 2 minutes or 4 and 1). My overall speed actually increased and I didn’t feel so much like death. Instead of focusing on x miles left I could think “well, in 3 minutes and 13 seconds I get to walk again!”

    • Reply Lynn January 31, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      Thanks for the advice! I will definitely be doing intervals on the hills during training.

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