It's been too long - this always seems to happen, I get all excited about blogging and for a few weeks I post and post and post...and then real-life gets in the way and I disappear for awhile. In my defense, I took about a 3 week break from running so there wasn't much running-related material to talk about. Over the break Leslie and I found out that we won spots into the New York City Half Marathon which was pretty exciting once I got over the sticker shock ($128pp...yikes). Anyway, the best part of this whole thing is that our friends Stephen and Emily from NJ also won spots in the race so all four of us are running the race together. Personally I'm probably more excited just to hang out with them for a weekend than I am to run in the actual race (though that is also exciting).
Once we found out, I immediately set about formulating a training plan to prepare for the race. If you've read this blog before, you know that I've been reading Jack Daniels' book (Daniels' Running Formula) and throughout the book he gives training templates for races of various distances. I was hoping to find a half-marathon training template, but alas, I had to settle for a marathon program - which I then modified to suit my needs. The basic premise of Daniels' training formula is that two days out of every week are devoted to what he calls "Quality" (Q) workouts. For longer distances one of the Q days is devoted to a long run, usually done on either a Saturday or a Sunday, and the other Q day is typically devoted to a speed workout. The rest of the days in the training schedule are devoted to easy-to-moderate running with an emphasis on getting miles in and letting your body recover from the Q days.
I decided to start the program pretty conservatively with a couple of weeks of fairly low mileage since I was coming off of a 3-week break. I didn't want to jump in and immediately start tallying 30-40 miles a week so as to avoid injury, while at the same time getting my body used to running on a regular basis again. So far I've really enjoyed the structure of it. I've noticed that I really anticipate the Q workouts because for the rest of the time, it feels like I'm really holding back...the quality workouts are really my only chance each week to "let it fly." I really like knowing exactly what I am going to be doing each day because it takes a lot of the guesswork out of training and really focuses me on what it is I'm trying to accomplish.
My goal for the NY Half is 1:30:00. Not to toot my own horn, but I feel like it's an ambitious goal because a) I've never raced (let along run) that distance before and b) to run sub-7:00/mile for 13.1 miles would be equal to the pace of my fastest 10K to date. That being said, I am confident that if I stick to this training program and keep my end goal in mind throughout - I will be able to do it.
Leslie chose a different training program which I also find interesting; she is using Hal Higdon's Intermediate Half Marathon training program which is very similar to the Daniels' formula. My brother is currently training for another marathon and he's using The Hansons' method which emphasizes the consistency of your training (i.e. maintaining high weekly mileage totals throughout the course of the program). I'm struck by how many different ideas are out there on how to train for longer distance races. I don't tend to think that any one program is better than another, but from person to person one may work better than another.
Long-term my goal is to run in the Chicago Marathon this coming fall. With that in mind I tailored my training program for slightly higher weekly-mileage totals than is probably normal for half marathon training. The idea behind the higher mileage is that I over the course of the next 10 weeks or so I will get my body used to running 35-40 miles per week which is pretty much the starting point for marathon training. I'm very pleased with how this year has started in terms of running and I'm excited to see how my body responds to this program.
I would love to hear about other people's programs and goals. If you're a veteran of longer races, how did you figure out which program was best for you? Did you seek out a program or develop one on your own based on experience?