Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reexamining My Half Marathon Training Plan

On October 15 at 9:00 in the morning I will start my first half marathon, the Baltimore Half Marathon. I first started training for this race 8 weeks ago, which means that I am around halfway through training. When I started training I really didn't have any goals for myself other than to just finish the race. I have never raced anything longer than a 5K so I really didn't know what to expect for a half marathon. And even though I had a training plan written out I wasn't even sure if I was training properly since I was only running three times a week and pretty inconsistently. Then a few weeks ago I started running four times a week. I was really loving the higher mileage and was feeling stronger. However, I want to re-examine my training and my goals, or lack thereof, now that I am halfway through training. There are certain aspects of training that I need to change in order to reach my new goals for this first half marathon.

Nutrition. In the past, when I was a competitive swimmer, I ate very healthy. I became a vegetarian in order to keep my nutrition under control, and I cut out nearly all sweets and unhealthy foods. Then when I had surgery and had to quit swimming I started gaining weight, partly from not being able to swim or exercise, and partly because I was eating more unhealthy foods. My nutritional habits have especially gone out the window this summer and I really want to get back on track with them. For awhile I was eating hardly any vegetables despite being a vegetarian. All I was eating was carbs and sugary, fatty foods and I gained weight and just didn't feel great. Lately I have been working on developing better nutrition habits because I know how much it will help my training. I want to be eating at least one serving of fruit or vegetables at each meal, be drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, getting at least eight hours of sleep every night, and limiting the amount of junk food eaten, etc. Not only will eating healthier help fuel my body better, but hopefully I will lose some of this unwanted weight that I gained over the past few years.

Running Consistently. I have been running four times a week for a few weeks now and I have been really enjoying it. I feel faster and stronger, and look forward to going on these runs. Next weekend is my first triathlon so I don't want to make any major changes over the next two weeks but I want to start running five times a week. I want each run I do to have a purpose and be helping me train for my half marathon. I will do a post in a few days about my new running schedule, but I want to start incorporating different types of runs into my schedule. I also want to work on heart rate training. When I first started running my heart rate was always really high but lately it has been coming down some. I want to make sure that I am not pushing myself too hard but yet hard enough.

Cross Training. I have been doing a fair amount of cross training in the forms of biking and swimming since I am doing my first triathlon next weekend. However, I have not been too consistent with my cross training because I find the swimming boring and the biking lonely. I used to swim 10 times a week and never have a problem with being bored but that was because I was on a team and was practicing with my best friends. The school I am going to this fall (University of Maryland Baltimore County) has a beautiful long course outdoor heated pool that I plan on taking full advantage of. Plus, I am the vice president of the very new club swim team! I am hoping that being able to swim on a team again will help me regain my motivation and make swimming fun again. Additionally, I am looking into what trails are in the Baltimore area to go biking on. It probably is not the safest for me to go biking alone in a new city that has one of the country's highest crime rates so I am also looking into buying a bike trainer.

Please vote for me, Shannon Mulcahy, to become a member of the Refuel With Chocolate Milk team! I would really appreciate your support! 

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