My Least Favorite Part of Long-Distance Running

least-favorite-part-long-distance-runningRemember when I wrote that I was going to run my own half marathon around Boston on a random weekday because I wanted something to train for but didn’t want to give up a weekend to race? I posted my eight-week training plan…eleven weeks ago.

I didn’t give up though! I’m still going to run the damn thing, it’s just going to take a while to get there because I keep taking weeks off. Why? Well, at about week three I was reminded of the one thing I hate about long-distance running: you have to put other types of fitness on hold. Not completely, but you certainly have to make running the priority and dial down the frequency of other workouts.

That just does not work for me. In addition to teaching them, I like to take three classes a week at Btone. I also like to get in a couple HIIT workouts each week at home, using kettlebells, med balls—all that fun stuff. I like to go to spin classes. I like trying out new studios and getting in the occasional yoga session. Try doing all that variety and then running a distance over four miles. It’s brutal—my legs were feeling like lead every time I headed out for a long run, and my pace was glacial.

On weeks I’ve done a lot of other workouts, I’ve just been skipping the long run. When a week comes up that’s been light with the strength training, I’ll get in a long run. I’d say at this pace, I’ll run my half a month from now. Oh well.

So, question for my serious runners out there—is there any way to keep up the frequency of my other workouts while still feeling fresh-legged for long runs? Or do I just need to suck it up for training and focus on running?

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8-Week Half Marathon Training Schedule for Not-So-Serious Runners

8-week-half-marathon-training-scheduleI mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been wanting to “spring clean” my workout routine a bit, and now that the winter weather is FINALLY behind us, I decided it’d be the perfect time to train for another half marathon.

Here’s the thing though. 99% of organized races take place on the weekend. And once warmer weather hits, I’m just honestly not willing to give up a weekend to run a half marathon. Summers are short in New England, and I like to cram as much spontaneity and fun into them as possible. Of course it’d be a totally different story if I had a bunch of friends who loved running and we all picked some fun destination race to do, but I actually prefer running alone (it’s “me” time)…and most of my friends think I’m out of my mind for voluntarily running anything over 3 miles haha.

So what’s a not-so-serious runner looking to run a half marathon that doesn’t conflict with her summer calendar to do? It brings me great pleasure to announce the running of the 1st Annual Official Non-Official Nicole Half Marathon. It’s going to take place on a Wednesday. I’m going to run it alone. I’m going to buy myself a finisher’s medal on Amazon. I’ll probably wear a JammyPack. It’s going to be perfect.

From this morning’s run around Castle Island.

The 8-Week Half Marathon Training Plan

When I trained for my first half, I did so over 12 weeks, and the plan I used had me running way too many miles each week. Too long, too much (for me personally)—and the result was that I started to get sick of running. I was on the verge of hating it. I never want to get to the point where I dislike running—it’s my favorite form of alone time!

Because I run regularly, I feel comfortable jumping right into regular 5 and 6-mile runs, so this time I’m just preparing over a span of 8 weeks. No crazy mileage counts each week. One long run, one moderate run, a speed workout and a couple quick jogs a week. No more.

For the speed workouts, I’ll probably mix it up between treadmill workouts (I just bought a 30-day trial to Boston Sports Club) and going to Barry’s Bootcamp. I do, however, have a serious chronic disease that doesn’t allow me to self motivate on a treadmill past .001 miles, so it’ll probably be less of the former, way more of the latter.

From Friday’s run around the Charles River.

I think this training schedule will strike the perfect balance of challenging me while still keeping my runs enjoyable. I just wrapped up week one this morning with a 6-miler around Southie and so far, so good! I’m actually really excited to start working towards this. Sorry I’m not sorry I’d rather drink beers on a beach with my friends than pay $75 to run 13.1 miles with a bunch of strangers—bring it on 1st Annual Nicole Half! :)

Before I end this post I should add that if you chose to follow this 8-week plan just keep in mind that I’m by no means a running expert—I put this together based on my experience training for my first half.

Are you running any races this spring?

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Treadmill Speed Workout

Treadmill Speed Workout

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, I’m running a half marathon the first weekend in June and trying to incorporate some speed workouts into my training. I decided to start out on the treadmill instead of a track or running trail because it’s an easy way for me to force myself to maintain a certain pace for a given amount of time. If, for example, you tell me to run at a 10K pace for half a mile…that literally means nothing to me. I’ll just go as fast as I feel like because, well, that’s what I pretty much do during any race ever. I love running, but I’m actually a huge joke of “a runner.”

This was a good way to ease into the whole speed workout thang—not too intense, but still forces you to get those legs moving. It takes just over 30 minutes to complete.

Speaking of running, after everything that’s happened in Boston this past week, I find myself appreciating my daily runs around the city even more. This really is a beautiful, amazing place to call home. Here are a couple Instagram pics I snapped trotting around Southie:

Pleasure Bay, South Boston Castle Island, Southie

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And before I send you off to carpe the shit out of this diem, I wanted to spread the word about a Spin-A-Thon at Ten X Club in Dedham on Saturday May 11th that’s raising money for Girls on the Run, a great organization that supports positive emotional, social and physical development in 3rd to 6th grade girls. Jocelyn reached out to me and told me that she and 11 other ladies are running the 200-mile Reach the Beach relay, and this spin-a-thon is part of their fundraising efforts. Visit the Facebook page for more details and sign up for one of four spin classes if you’re in the area! I’m not sure if I’ll be in Boston that weekend yet, but if so, I’ll most definitely make it for a class—I LOVE spinning (and charity, of course).

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