Training Plan

I began training for the half marathon back in May.  I bought myself a Nike + and used it to track my mileage.  I set up a training schedule based on Hal Higdon’s intermediate half marathon training plan.  At first I was a little worried that it might be too demanding, but I knew that I needed to challenge myself.  I adjusted the days to fit my schedule. So armed with my Nike +, a solid training schedule, a supportive husband and son I set out on a mission to accomplish a goal.

Prior to this I had run one 5K.  I ran 1-3 times per week for exercise.  I never enjoyed running before partly because I never believed that I could run. I have been “heavy” for as long as I can remember.  My body is shaped like a pear.  I carry all of my weight below the belt, so to speak.  I have always been active and worked out intermittently for years.  I started running a couple of years ago because with an infant and a full time job I needed a form of exercise that required little preparation and could be done anywhere.  So enter running.  I hated it at first and could not go very far. After about a year and a half of running I finally entered a 5K in November 2009.  I ran alongside my very fit and fabulous sister.  She pushed me a little bit but I definitely ran at a pace that felt good.  We ran that race in the rain and cold, but I couldn’t have felt warmer with all the supporters along the way.  I crossed the finish line and something changed inside of me.  I wanted to race again.  Now I knew that I could.

I ran at least 2 times a week outside throughout the winter.  I loved running in the cold crisp air sometimes freshly fallen snow coated everything along the way.  It was invigorating.  I was anxiously awaiting spring.  I wasn’t sure when I would race again, but I knew that I wanted to.

I am inspired by my cousin who began running about 4 years ago and has since competed in many races including marathons, halfs and 5Ks.  She is now a coach for Team in Training in South Florida.  She does it because she loves it and she exudes that enthusiasm whenever I see her.  I am also inspired daily by a number of bloggers who write about not only their training and races but also the fun and creative recipes they make, and hints and tips to lead a healthier life.  I feel healthier and make better choices as a result.

So in June 2010 I registered for the Hartford ING Half Marathon.  I had already started training but I held off from registering because I wanted to make sure that I could commit to a proper training plan.  I started craving the runs.  I looked forward to spending quality time alone running at local reservoirs, bike trails or at nearby college campuses.  We had a gorgeous summer here in Massachusetts, albeit a hot one.

As part of my training I also participated in a 5K in July and a 10K in August. It was great practice.  I used the opportunities to really learn what works for me.  The 5K in July was horrible.  It was a brand new race and a bit unorganized.  We were forced to wait an extra 20 minutes in the heat before the race began.  I got too excited at the start and couldn’t catch my breath.  It was about 95 degrees out and there were no water stations.  I hadn’t yet considered how I would run longer distances and maintain proper hydration.  Since I hate running with anything in my hands I purchased a camel back before the 10K.  I also made sure to learn where the hydration stations would be during the next race.

The 10K was exciting.  It was in a beautiful town. It was a big, established race with lots of supporters along the way.  Mile 2 was all up an enormous hill or small mountain as I like to call it.  Once I made it up the next mile or so was all down hill and the rest of the race went smoothly.  I had a smile on my face the entire time.  I saw my husband and son near the finish line.  I grabbed my son’s hand and he ran over the finish line with me.  I knew at that moment that I would indeed complete the half marathon two months later.

For my own peace of mind I needed to complete a 13 mile training run before the actual half marathon.  It wasn’t called for in my training plan, but I added it in.  For my long runs I increased my mileage one mile at a time each week until I reached 13 miles since I had ample time.

The training was such an integral part of the entire process of running the half marathon.  I learned a lot about myself and my capabilities.


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