The first weekend in May, I’ll be running the Lincoln Half Marathon. It has a reputation for being a fast, flat course with good crowd support. That means there really is no excuse for not getting a new PR, right? Specifically, I want to run that sub-2:30 half marathon I KNOW I have in me. I’ve updated my training plan on the half marathon page here but beyond the specific workouts in the plan, what do I need to do to reach that goal?
– I have to convince myself that I can absolutely do this. My current half marathon PR is 2:32 and change and I definitely mentally gave up towards the end of that race. My legs and my body could have absolutely gone faster than I did, especially in the last 3 miles. I need to work on my mental game. I have the Jeff Galloway’s Mental Training for Runners on my to-do list. Workouts like last week’s with the designated “strong finish” will help too. I can do so much when my brain gets out of the way. I may designate that as part of every long run, not the ones with that notation on the training plan.
– Strength training is a must. It will make me stronger, it will make me faster and it will make me less likely to get injured. Maybe this goal is what it will finally take to get me to commit to twice weekly strength training? My plan is body weight exercises on Mondays and actual weights on Wednesdays. I’ve written them in my planner and training log along with all of the running workouts because they are just as important.
– Pay attention to my paces. If my goal is sub-2:30, I’ll need to run faster than 11:27 per mile. I need to target my training paces at that speed. I’ve looked at a couple of different references for what my long, easy and tempo runs should be to reach that point. I never really worry about pace and it makes it hard for my body to have any experience knowing what a given pace feels like. Similarly, if I’m going to do some sort of run/walk interval (3 minute run/30 second walk worked really well, time wise, for me at the Peak 2 Peak 10 miler last year – 10:45 miles for 10 miles) then I need to use that pace to practice my last several long runs. I like that this new training plan will have me doing tempo runs, which I’ve never done before. I think that will help me get a better feel for sustained, harder effort. For the first four weeks of the 15 week training plan, I’m going to let myself take it a little easy in terms of pace on long runs since I’m coming off of Rebel Challenge and easing back into more serious training, but starting in a couple weeks, we’ll get serious about pacing.
– Yoga for recovery and flexibility. I can’t deny that my left leg gets tight and grouchy and I’m certainly not getting any younger, so in addition to the strength training as injury prevention on Mondays and Wednesdays, I’m penciling in yoga for my Sunday recovery days. I always feel so much better mentally and physically when yoga is part of my week and I want my legs to stay as healthy as possible.
Later this month I’m going to review my new training log, which I love. One of the things I love about it is that it not only asked you to write out your goals for the year, but to brainstorm what steps you needed to take to reach those goals. That’s what generated this list and leaves me feeling like I have a good plan for reaching my time goal in May.
How do you prepare to tackle a new time or distance goal?