The Nike Women’s Half Marathon is 4 weeks out. I started my training in mid August and have made my way through 6 weeks of training and logged 115+ miles. I feel stronger and faster. The long runs are feeling less so. I’m adding miles to my speed workouts. My pace is quickening. I’m feeling great!
I’m following Nike’s training program which includes 4-5 days of running, 2-3 days of cross-training and optional rest days. The training schedule has been such a great way to ignite my fitness routine. Each workout has a purpose. There is a tangible goal linked to a specific event. There is lots of running, lots of cross training and lots of sweat.
The long runs have been a stretch for me. For one thing, the thought of running for more than 4-6 miles alone has never been too appealing. When in Cali, I had my running buddies to keep me company on longer runs. (Not that we were training for anything at the time. It was just a good excuse for some long run chats on Saturday mornings.) Up here in the PNW, it’s just me, myself and I. This is not a bad thing. Really, spending 90 minutes alone with my thoughts, doubts, fears, excitement, anxiety, handheld water bottle and the trees is not so bad. It’s actually very good. Challenging, but worthwhile. Although, I admit it’s still easier to pull the trigger on a long run when you have a running buddy waiting for you at the trail head. (I miss you, Fun Fit Friends.)
While I’ve been logging more miles than normal, I still feel like I have flexibility to mix in my favorite cross training activities. Earlier on in the training program I was mixing cycling (at BurnCycle, my favorite) into the schedule for cross training, but my legs were feeling too tired when it came time for speed work. So, instead I am sticking with yoga and Nike Training Club workouts for the remaining weeks leading up to the race.
This week training peaks. The most startling thing about the week’s workouts is a 9 mile progression run, building speed so that the last 4 miles are run at tempo pace. And while I’m still finding what my “tempo pace” is, I know that those 9 miles will be stretching. That will go down Thursday, so send good vibes my way, please. The long run for the week will be 2 days after the 9 mile progression run. In between we have another shorter speed workout, recovery miles and cross training. We’ll see how I feel at the close of the week, but for now I’m excited to make it over the peak.
When the training feels tough, I’ve tried to focus on one moment in time. I think of the moment I cross the finish line and see my two kids and husband there smiling at me. I get all emotional thinking about it. Reece is convinced that I am going to actually win the race… even though I tell her how fast other runners are – that, in fact, some of these gals run for their job. She doesn’t care. In her mind, I am the obvious winner. And I admit, the confidence she has in her amateur mama feels damn good.
And that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Confidence. Confidence to take a risk. To try hard at something. To give it our all, even when we know we aren’t going to cross first.