After 5 weeks of being back in training I already feel I made more progress than I expected out of the entire 16 weeks I will be training for my upcoming half marathon. My goal going into training was to break two hours. With a current PR of 2:03 set back in October while training for my first marathon I believed that sub-2:00 was realistic as well as challenging. From the beginning I decided I wanted to shoot for as far under two hours as possible. I will be happy with a 1:59:59 if that is the best I can give come April 28 but I have always believed I could do a little better. I didn't have a time in mind, all I knew was that I wanted to train hard and smart and see what I could achieve.
When I started training back in the beginning of January I considered 6 miles a long run and was comfortably running around a 10 minute mile for most of my runs. I was excited about training but also scared. So much of what I was going to be doing would be new and I had hardly any control over my training. I knew when I decided to work with a coach that I was giving up the ability to decide how often/long/hard I wanted to run on a given day but I was okay with that. I knew that in order for this to work I would have to trust Mike 100%. My resolution for 2013 is to take more chances and even though I knew things might not work out how I wanted them to I decided it was worth taking that chance.
My biggest concern was running 6 days a week. I have always run 3-4 days a week and was worried that jumping to 6 would be too much. I quickly learned that I actually love running almost every day. Running has become a part of my daily routine and the days that I am not running I get anxious about getting out for my next run. I never imagined I would be that person. As training keeps ramping up I will eventually stop running so many days in favor of some pre-season triathlon training. While I am truly excited about putting more into my triathlon training this year I am going to really miss running six days a week. Who am I?!
This past week I ran 7 times for a total of 34 miles. This is both the greatest number of runs I have done in a week as well as the greatest number of miles. I have been training hard for five weeks and now am running comfortable 9:00-9:30 miles. What used to be somewhat challenging for me has become easy. On Friday I had a 75 minute run scheduled with the goal of keeping my pace under 9 minute miles. Despite how much I have improved in these past few weeks I was still nervous about this pace going into the run. I knew it wouldn't be easy but I was shocked by how feasible it was. I finished my run with 8.8 miles for an 8:30 pace. I then did a ridiculously easy two mile recovery run later that afternoon for a total of 10.8 miles for the day. This is the highest daily mileage I've hit since marathon training.
Later that day I was informed by Mike that I had a breakout run and I couldn't agree more. When I see other people doing 8-12 mile runs at this pace I think that is so fast. I'm still not even sure I believe that I can hold that pace. During my run on Friday when I looked at my watch and saw 8:3X I thought something was wrong with my watch. I didn't believe that I could really be holding that pace for so long. After some quick math I realized that if I were able to hold this pace for 13.1 miles I could run about a 1:52 half marathon. I don't want to jinx anything but I am now more motivated than ever. I know what I am doing is working and I know that if I keep training the way I have been, I will achieve big things. I just have to stop doubting myself and believe in my capabilities.