My half-marathon journey: I am currently training for my first half-marathon which will take place on May 21, 2011. I have never run farther than 10 miles, and I have had trouble with injuries when approaching that mileage in the past. I am taking a different approach this time. I am following a training program by Jeff Galloway, and I will be sharing my experiences along the way. Previous posts on this topic: Jeff Galloway – Week 3 Recap, Jeff Galloway – Week 5 Recap, Magic Miles.
It’s high time I share how the half-marathon training is going. I suppose I didn’t have too much to say about it in March, which was a great month for me, but a poor month for my running. I’m getting back into the swing of things now.
For those who may remember, one aspect of my training plan was the Magic Mile, a formula for predicting race performance which involves running fairly hard for one mile (compared with taking an easier pace on other training runs) and making some calculations to predict race pace. While I loved the idea, and I was curious to see how closely it would actually predict my half-marathon pace, I don’t think I will be doing any more Magic Miles for now. I had some pretty acute ankle pain when I went to run after my first and last (so far) Magic Mile. It is far more important to me that I be able to continue running, especially to meet my current running commitments, than to run hard for this pace predictor and take a chance on hurting my ankle again. I can’t get back those runs that I missed, and at this point, I would hate to chance missing more. I need the mileage to prepare for my first half-marathon. I would far rather run a slow half at Fargo than hurt myself and miss it altogether! Maybe I will play around with it again after Fargo and the Ragnar Relay.
So after taking some time off for the ankle, and missing some runs while traveling, I have been trying to get back to the Galloway plan. I’m a little behind on my long runs, but I can’t fake it and skip ahead to where I should be. I have to put in the work.
Part of the Galloway running plan involves what he calls “the pyramid.” A runner should first put in time building a solid base of training. This involves running at a relaxed pace and gradually increasing mileage for the long runs. For a new runner, he recommends a year or two in the base of the pyramid before moving up. The next level on the pyramid is hill training, and finally, the smallest part of the pyramid is speed work. For anyone in the base, he does not recommend doing hill or speed work.
At another point in his book, he referred to “starting over” if a runner has missed more than a couple weeks of training. Guess who has missed at least several weeks of running every year since starting? Why, yes, it’s me. I am usually quite consistent over the summer and begin to drift away in the fall. It usually happens when I don’t have enough daylight left to run outside in the evening, but the indoor track hasn’t yet opened for the season. I will get back into it at the track around Christmas, but I will have missed a good six weeks or more.
Basically, this means that every year, I start over as a beginner and should be working on the base of the pyramid. This might be incentive enough for me to figure out a running schedule that works for the fall, so I can eventually stop being a beginner!
So, for now, I am sticking to the Galloway plan of training at a relaxed, aerobic pace (not huffing and puffing), and hoping that it pays off in terms of conditioning. I figure I really can’t lose if I keep running, have fun with it, and avoid injury.
Do you find that you are consistent throughout the year with your workouts? Do you find certain times of year more easy or more difficult?