In May of 2014 I ran in my first half marathon and stuck to a pretty vigorous training schedule, where I was running at least 5 times a week. Then I decided to train for a marathon and the training became even more intense. After both of these training sessions I realized how much torture I put my body through, and was seriously starting to hurt from running as often as I did.
This year I am running in the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas, and decided to take a different approach to training. Most training plans are for about 12 weeks and gradually increase your mileage, and then gradually decrease it again before the race date. I did not feel like these types of training plans worked for me last year, they may work for some, but they don’t work for me. I’ve found unless you are a super dedicated runner, it is hard to fit in 5-6 mile runs a few times a week when your training gets to be more vigorous. Sure some people run even after it gets dark out or will go to the gym and try to get their miles in on a treadmill, but I refuse to do either of these. For one, treadmills are the most BORING thing ever and seem like they take forever. And two, I hate being alone outside in the dark because I’m afraid something is going to come after me and eat me.
So this year I decided to try a different sort of training plan that worked to my schedule and helps make running not seem like a chore. What I have been trying to do is go for a run 3 times a week, one day is 2-3 miles, one day is 4-5 miles and another day is 8-12 miles. I typically try to do my shorter run on Tuesday, my medium run on Thursday and my long run on either Saturday or Sunday. The past two weeks it’s been hard for me to get out and do all three runs because I have been having issues with my IT band, but I try to still go out for walks or do something else on these days if I can not run because of it.
I also don’t run races for my time like a lot of people try to do. If you are concerned about keeping up a really good pace and finishing within a certain time frame, then I can see why it is necessary to stick to an actual training plan. But for me, as long as I know I can physically finish at a decent pace without killing myself, I am happy. Running in races for me is more about the experience and the feel, than it is about how well I am performing. Sure, I give myself goals for when I’m running, but these goals are much more low key than the average avid runner.
For me, I’ll be happy if I can run the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas under 2:15, which is only shaving off 5 minutes from my personal record. But if I can’t manage it, I won’t be all that upset because in the end I’ll still have been crazy enough to run 13.1 miles more than most other people will have that day!