At first I thought that it would help to start my training while I was on vacation…specifically on a stay-cation. After all, I could rest-up and run at the most advantageous times. I figured that the schedule, which is fewer miles than I’ve been running, would make week one a gimme. I couldn’t have been more wrong and I’m trying to figure it out while simultaneously trying to move on and not dwell on it.
The Novice 2 training plan from Hal Higdon starts week one with three-mile runs on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and a four-mile run on Saturday. I’ve been running 6 miles two to three times per week, at about 11 and a half-minutes per mile. I’m not a fast runner, but I have been happy to have improved my speed from 15 minutes per mile a year ago. I’ve been even more pleased to have kept that pace when increasing my distance from three to six miles. This week was a set-back when it comes to my speed; I ran 12 to 13 minutes per mile this week.
The first twist that came up was that I needed to travel the first half of the week, meaning that my first run, on Tuesday, would be in St. Louis. I was staying near Forest Park and was looking forward to a pleasant, outdoor run through this lovely park. When I woke up, rain was falling gently, but relentlessly. Reluctantly, I turned to the hotel fitness room for my work-out.
After figuring out the strange treadmill, which involved me accidentally adding some, unknown, incline, I set off. I figured it would be an easy run and, what the heck, some incline would make it interesting. So, I ran three miles uphill all the way. I did not enjoy it, despite my regular playlist. I was sweating almost right off the bat. St. Louis was uncharacteristically cool that morning, around 63 degrees…but the fitness room was warm and humid. My view was over the top of a parking garage and other non-descript buildings. There wasn’t a single blade of grass or any other plant life in view…just concrete and rain.
I was a bit concerned about running three days in a row, since I have been careful to always give myself a day to recover between runs. Wednesday I was back home, but had flown in that day and was running in the heat of the day. I was definitely sore in my glutes…thanks to the incline the day before. The weather was mid-eighties and humid. I ran a 5k route that runs by my house, but I ultimately determined that I made a slight logistical error on both Wednesday and Thursday, adding a little to the length of the course…even so, that didn’t explain how slowly I was running. At least by Thursday, the soreness had worn off.
After a day of rest on Friday, I prepared to run on Saturday. I was pretty sure it was a 3-mile run, but looked it up online anyway. I pulled up Novice 2 and was shocked to see I should have run 4 miles at race pace on Wednesday and should run 8 miles on Saturday! This couldn’t be right….and it wasn’t. I’d inadvertently brought up the training plan for a marathon. Phew! In reality, though, I needed to run four, not three miles. So, I got out my MapMyRun app and started along my 6-mile route. My plan was to turn around when the app said I was at 2 miles. This worked fine, and I finished up my first week of training with a disappointing pace of 12 minutes per mile.
So, what went wrong? Well, I didn’t sleep well in St. Louis, and had feather pillows (why do all hotels now have feather versus foam pillows?) to which I’m allergic. So, I wasn’t particularly rested. I ran all four runs at higher temperatures and humidity than ideal. I ran consecutive days, something I’m not used to. I ran at an incline for my first run…at least it made the first two runs more difficult.
There’s something else at work here though…I’m having second thoughts about the race. Psychologically, I’m not as committed as I need to be. So, an attitude adjustment is in order!
Find the Joy in the Journey…and the satisfaction of overcoming your fears!