Tag Archive | training plans

Plugging Along

‘m just plugging along in my training.   To be honest, I’m kind of doing a mish mash of things right now.   For the most part, I’m following a mileage plan with Training Peaks, but that’s about it.   I’m not doing any speed work. I’m not doing any cut-downs.   I’m not doing anything remotely pace related.   And even though I’m doing the walk/run method and bought the Jeff Galloway book, I’m not really following that either.    I’m kind of doing a little of this and a little of that.

Is this the best way to train for a marathon?

Probably not.

Am I going to change the way I’m training?

Probably not.

Why, you ask?

Because my goal is to just finish.

Yes, I admit, deep down I think to myself that I will get all my shit together and I’ll magically run a 4:30 or better.  Then I wake up and know that’s not happening.

Then there is a part of me that thinks that Chicago might just be my last marathon.  Yes, I know you’ve heard it before but I really mean it this time.   Really.  Seriously.   But I’m also not saying it won’t.   I just don’t know.   I will see how my body reacts.

What I do know is that I’m plugging away.    That I need keep moving just based on the way my pants are fitting.

I’m also excited by the fact that I have an appointment in September with an endocrinologist based out of Columbia Hospital in NY.    She is a doctor who is actually listed as a contributor to the Hypopara Association.   I’ve found lectures that she has given to other doctors teaching about Hypoparthyroidism.  When you have a disorder that only effects 60 to 70 thousand people in the United States, it is kind of hard to find someone local who knows the ins and outs of it.   I’m lucky enough to only live an hour or so outside the city, so I will do the commute for someone who gets it.    Plus I’ve had people tell me in a Hypopara group that on top of being a knowledgeable doctor who has studied this disease, she is also really nice.

So, yeah, I’m excited for this visit.   Who knows maybe she will say the other doctors are wrong and I don’t have it anymore.   (yeah, I know another far fetched thought).   Anyway, I do wish that I could have made the appointment earlier as I would have loved to asked her about how to handle things such as supplements, medicine levels, and calcium intake during training.    She seems to be worth the wait.

Unfortunately though it does seem that until then even that even though I do have a doctor, that I don’t have a doctor that gets it.   I, personally, don’t like the doses of Calcitriol he currently has me on but I’ll keep taking it as I’ve been stable.   Plus I’ve asked some pointed questions about tests recommended for people with hypopara to monitor kidney functions as problems can arise if doses and levels are not kept in check.  The response was basically that calcium levels are good so no worries.  I think that is much easier for him to say than me, but I’m just guessing.    I’m lucky to have found some great online information and groups that help sort things out.

Case in point….

I’ve been taking Magnesium supplements as part of my protocol.   I do think these supplements have been helpful as low magnesium levels effect calcium levels.  It’s amazing the things you learn about when you feel you have to even if it was never anything you ever had a desire to learn.

Fun Fact…  All supplements are not created equally.    Label reading is important for everyone but especially when taking supplements in high doses.   Did you know many supplements contain food coloring, additives, and such?   I didn’t until I started looking at the labels due to side effects.  Plus there are different types of supplements.   Calcium comes in many forms I have learned.   So does Magnesium.   I’ve been taking 800 mg of a High Potency Magnesium in a softgel form which has helped with the levels, but has caused some gastro issues to be delicate.   The side effects actually making it inadvisable to go for early training runs.    I’ve recently (like 2 days ago) switched to a Magnesium Glycinate which is a different form of magnesium that is all natural and per the label promises a no laxative effect.

In looking  the labels though it is clear which you would want to take for the long term:

High Potency Magnesium –  magnesium, medium chain triglycerides, gelatin, glycerin, water, soy lecithin, colors, yellow beeswax

Magnesium Glycinate – magnesium and vegetable capsule (plant cellulose)

Seems pretty clear which one would be best to take.

Anyhow…

What I am learning is that even when you think you are taking something that is good for you, you have to be careful.   I’m hoping this new magnesium will be better on my system while still helping keep my levels in check.

 

How Slow Can You GO?

slow_down

We all know that I’ve never claimed to be an expert at running.    I readily admit that I have so much to learn, but that isn’t to say that I don’t have some knowledge as I’ve been at it a few years now.  A running friend recently asked me about my running.   She’s gearing up for marathon training as many of my running friends are and she wanted to know about my paces.   She specifically wanted to  know about the “running slower” in training.   As most of you know, my coach and now me, swear by this approach.   My coach can give you all the schooled reasons why it makes more sense to train slower (Chronic Runner), I can just give you my take on it.

Before I wisely started working with my coach, I would estimate that almost ALL of my runs were at the same pace.   It didn’t matter if it was a long run, a short run, or anywhere in between.   You could count on an almost steady 10:20 pace.   I thought I was doing good, but I was wrong.    It wasn’t good for my body and it wasn’t good for my training.

I know that concept of slowing down to speed up sounds entirely crazy.    I know it doesn’t make any sense.   It goes against the grain.   You think to yourself if I’m going to get faster, I need to run faster and I need to run faster a lot.    Well, yes, yes you do need to run faster.   Here is the thing though.  You don’t need to run faster ALL the time and honestly most of the time you should be running slower.   Seriously.  No joke.  No lie.

The first thing that my coach had me do when I started with her was to slooooooow down.   Most of my daily runs except the ones designed for speed were slowed down to 11 minute pace or slower.   I didn’t get it.   I thought this doesn’t make sense, but I listened.   I followed her advice.   These slower days balanced out with days where I pushed it and ran hard.     There was a balance that I didn’t have before.   It was the key that I was missing (that and most of the key chain).    I didn’t always understand, but I understood enough to know that she was right.

Here is the thing too.    Before I slowed down, I battled plantar fasciitis.   I battled it a lot.   Taping my foot.   Running in pain.   I just thought, “this is part of being a runner.”   I was wrong.   Now, I am not saying that I am always pain free.   I am not saying that new shoes and inserts have not also helped.   What I am saying is that running slower when I didn’t need to be running fast helped.   Not only with injuries, but also allowing my body to have the juice it needed on days I needed to run fast and then allow it  recover from those hard days too.

Here is the bottom line from all this slowing down.    I am an average runner.   I do not have what is considered the “runners body.”   I am short with short (but powerful) legs.   I am a few pounds overweight.   You know what all of that means?   NOTHING.    Really.    Not only have I been able to run longer distances without injury since slowing down, but I have also run faster than I ever thought I could.    In my 5K last week that I PR’d in 26:26.   I ran the fasted mile that I have ever run. EVER.   I ran a mile in 8:12.    This was unimaginable to me.   This still boggles my mind.   Yes, I realize it’s only a mile but my 3rd mile of the 5K was 8:19.     I may never get any faster that this, but I know that I would never have made it here if I hadn’t slowed down.

keep-calm-and-trust-your-training-1

How slow can you go?

From Night to Day

I’ve been doing something the last few days that I hate doing.   I’ve been getting up early to run.   Now, I’m not talking crazy early, but I’ve been getting out the door by 7:00.   I like to say that I only wake up early to run only if I’m getting a shiny medal.   For the most part that is true and it’s not like I’m doing track workouts at 5:30 in the morning like some Mama’s I know.   Unfortunately, my training called for runs that really need the light of day.   If I want to be ready for the shiny awesome medal in October than that means a few “early” workouts at least until the kids get back in school.

So what have I been doing?

Wednesday – 9 miles with average pace of  11:15 in 1:41:23.

More night time running which is good and bad.    I would like to say that it was cooler, but it really was still hot and humid.   My pace was supposed 10:50, but it was hard to maintain that pace in the dark even with all my lights.
dark


Thurs:    Aerobic:                      4 miles   Average pace 11:46.   Easy to keep +++ pace with heavy legs.

I like “easy” miles.   Although nothing is easy when in comes to putting in so many miles.   Although my feet have been feeling good, my quads have been feeling tight.   Might be because I’ve been doing so many miles and probably not stretching or rolling as much as I should.   Truth be told is that it is hard enough to find all the hours it takes to get my run in, let alone add the extra time for that.

Fri:        Aerobic:                      10 miles  – Aaverage Pace 11:01 in 1:49:27
This was the the transition to an “early” run.  Truth be told it really wasn’t early as I didn’t get out the door till 8:00 AM.  I should have left a little earlier, but this was still better than leaving at 11:00 AM.  My quads were still tight making legs feel heavy and me feel a little sluggish.  Luckily this was a run where it was more about miles than pace and my goal was to stay in the 10:50 to 11:00 range.   Some miles better than others, but overall a decent run and the overall average pace was on target.

11:00, 11:04, 11:29, 11:01,10:49, 10:39, 10:46, 10:49, 10:51, 11:46

Sat:       Aerobic:                       4 miles average pace 13:03

This run I went out with the intention of finding house #13 for my MRTT scavenger hunt.   Hey, you’ve got to do something to keep your mind occupied while training.   I had a route lined up as my friend lives at #10 on a street.   Got to her street and the numbers on her street went from 11 to 15.   Grrr.   So I started making my way home, going down other streets to find the ever ellusive number 13.   Shockingly many streets were just like the first.   I did finally find one:)   More truth, I would never live in a house number 13.   Yeah, I’m a little superstitious.  Maybe I shouldn’t be because literally right after house number 13, I almost ran into some wild life which I also needed for my hunt.
MRTT Scavenger Hunt 5 MRTT Scavenger Hunt 6
What is life if it’s not fun?
Sun:     Off:        


Off from running.   Did go to a Yoga  class with at Athleta with my MRTT group.   This class felt so good and it made me realize that I need to get back to yoga.   I also realized that I haven’t been all summer.   Maybe this has something to do with why my quads are so tight.

Mon:      MP Aerobic:           15 miles Average pace 10:34 in 2:38:40 but overall time was 3:38:38

I needed to get this run done early because I didn’t want to do it at night since I was going to be running 8 miles of it at marathon pace.   I also didn’t want to be running in the heat of the day.   Luckily, Genine, wanted to run a few miles but she needed to run early.   So we made plans to meet at 7:00 AM which was perfect for me.   Without knowing that she would be meeting me, I’m fairly certain I would have wasted my morning and not gotten out till at least 8:00.  That being said, I think the first thing I said to her when I saw her was “this sucks.”    I was kind of dreading this run since it was such a long one, but it all worked out.  My legs felt better  and I’m not sure if it was extra rolling and stretching or yoga.

Genine stayed with me for the first couple of miles which was good.   I still wasn’t feeling it, but I was already a few miles into it, so what choice did I have but to keep going.   I hit most of the targets and did use fuel which I haven’t been using on my long runs but since I was running at marathon pace, I got to use fuel.  I didn’t get a chance to eat before I left since I burnt my toast, I used a gel with caffeine instead.   Then around mile 3, I ate 2 of jelly belly sport jelly beans (love them).  Then I had another gel with caffeine at mile 8 and Gatorade at mile 10.   Not sure if this was too much fuel for this run, but I figured since I didn’t have breakfast and hadn’t eaten anything since 7:30 the night before I needed it.   Plus even though it was early, it was already hot and humid.   Plus, I am such a hot mess when I run I think I needed it.   Might need to think about Gatorade more as it really hit the spot!   
Now the reason that my overall time was so much more than my actual running time is that I plan my runs so that I can refill my water bottle and I also have to wait at intersections and such.   Still shocked at the difference as I didn’t realize I slowed down that much.   Anyway, first water stop was at the park for bathroom break, refill bottles, a few pictures for my scavenger hunt.  Then my second stop was at the 7-elleven where I normally stop to buy a $1 bottle of water.   For this run though, I decided to get Gatorade for some reason.   Nothing ever tasted so good.   I might have to think about using this again although I don’t know that it would always taste as good as it did on this run.

11:10, 11:46, 10:59, 10:01, 9:44, 10:25, 9:57, 9:59, 9:48, 10:03, 9:59, 10:43, 11:00, 10:50, 12:11

I timed it that this run would end at Dunkin Donuts where I could get a nice recovery iced latte.  Some people do look at you a little funny when your in line, but what’s a  girl to do.   I want (need) my iced latte and I can’t help it that I look like I ran through the sprinklers.   I then cooled down with a short walk home.   I’m also wondering if this is why my overall time is so much different too. I don’t think I reset (ended) my run until I got home,   So who knows.
I don’t have my schedule for this week yet as I get my schedule on Tuesday’s.   I’m curious as to what this week will bring.   Last week since I had the long run with 8 miles at marathon pace, I didn’t have a tempo run which was nice.   I’m thinking that I won’t be so lucky 2 weeks in a row!
How is your training going?
How do you fuel for your runs?

Friday 5 – Vacation Running Tips

Friday Five Link-up with by Eat, Pray, Run DC,   Mar on the Run, and You Signed Up for What?

Today’s Theme

Running Tips

Since I just came back from vacation, I’m going to go with

5 ways to stay on track while on Vacation

Scout an Area to run ahead of time

Since I was going camping by a lake in an area that I never have run in it was important for me to figure out a place that I could actually run.   Yes, I could have run around the campground, but I really didn’t want to do that especially because most of my runs were 5 to 8 miles.   The internet makes it so easy to find local parks or tails and this is how I found the beautiful trail that I ran on!

Vermont2

Bring your Running Gear

Yes, this seems like a no brainer but if your like me you have tons of running gear.   Think ahead of time what you will need and pack a small running bag with the things that you will need.  Gels, water bottles, headbands, Garmin, ect.   The things that you know you can’t run without so don’t forget your favorite running shoes!

gear

Build Time in Your Schedule to Run

Now we really weren’t on any schedule but I still needed to build it into my day.   I had balance out my husbands fishing, time with family, and such with my running .  This made it fairly easy for me to just say, “I’m going for a run.”    If your not doing such a relaxed vacation you might need to juggle a little more.

commitment

Adjust your Schedule and expectations

While on vacation, I knew ahead of time that my training would need to take a step back.   Although I also knew that I didn’t totally put on the breaks as the Marine Corps Marathon is just months away, I also knew that I would not be able to follow my full training schedule.   You know what, that’s ok too!   Running is not my job.   Running should not ad stress to my life, but take it away.   That being said, my coach adjusted my schedule to make this a set back week for my training therefore it wasn’t so bad.    I did miss my long run (17 miles) that week.  Did I wish that I could have done it?   Yes.   In the whole scheme of things is it going to effect my ability to run the MCM?   No.

Just Do it!

Nike is so right.   Just get out there and get it done.  It may not always be easy and you may have to give up sleep or something else, but it is so worth it.   I know that not only did i feel better about getting my runs in, but it also took away the guilt of sitting by the fire eating Smores!

How do you get it done while on Vacation?

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What’s Your Plan?

So as you know, I’ve been following a plan.   A very specific plan with specific paces, miles, fuel requirements and such.   I’ve never followed a plan so strictly before.    I think the closest that I’ve come when I was training for the Runner’s World Hat Trick but even then I was a little more flexible with my plan.    Now, I do love having a specific plan that I know is designed to help me maximize my running potential and will have me prepared for the Marine Corps Marathon.    That being said, you do have to give up something when following your plan so strictly.

I miss running with my friends:):)

Oakley4

Now don’t feel sorry for me and I will also admit to being a little hormonal as I write this, but I do miss the ability to just join in any run that my group is having.   Now part of this is me as if I have a plan to follow, I need to follow it.   Plus I am paying to have this plan made for me, so I really need to follow it.  And part of it, I don’t want to have to tell my running coach that I ignored her very well thought out weekly plan for me:)

I know that some of this is also a learning curve as I adjust to following a plan so strictly and I will learn to fit the group runs into my schedule as I was doing in the beginning.  Now that the kids are off from school it really does make it a little harder on  everyone’s schedule too. Plus I can now officially say I am in Marathon Training.  I will adjust.   Right now, I’m still trying to work my summer runs into my summer schedule.   Trying to decided when to run and knowing that on some days I’m going to have to run EARLY.   I don’t mind leaving them for short runs, but I don’t like the thought of being across town if they need me.  I’m still trying to work my runs into my schedule with the boys, let alone a group schedule.

Plus I’ve been working very hard on my pacing and I need to make sure that I keep that up.   I feel like I am finally getting a handle on things.   I don’t want to loose that.   I am learning how important it is to be able to regulate my pace and I need to keep working on that to improve it as I’m learning how important that will be in the actual marathon.   So if my 6 mile run has a specific pace for it, I need to run that pace.   Then my recovery runs might be too slow for the group as I am running them at 11+ paces and I need to keep them slow.   Many of my running friends are also beginning their Marathon Training too.    We all have our own training plans to follow as ultimately we each have to walk to the starting line of our events.

Maybe part of this mumble jumble is the fear of beginning marathon training.   To know that it’s real.   To know that it’s only a short 113 days away.   I don’t know.   What I think is that maybe I should go get a chocolate bar and I will feel much better.   That and getting my run in today!

Are you following a plan?

How flexible are you with your plan?

Anyone Can Run…..

athlete

Anyone can run.   Really.   Unless there is a medical reason, anyone can run.   Not everyone likes to run.  I know that too being someone who used to say she hated running.   Although in retrospect it isn’t that I hated running.   It was more that I had never given running a chance.   So I unequivocally state again that anyone can run.   That being said, there is a difference between just running and running well.   This is the crossroads that I am at now.  I’ve been running for a while now and I’ve gotten to the point that I might just want to run well.

Now I am not saying that I want to move to the top of the Pack or become a leading Master runner.   I am saying that I think it might be time to take my running up a notch.   Take it the the next level.   Right now, I’ve been following generic training plans for specific events.   I will say these have been amazingly helpful and I’ve learned from them.   I know that without my Runner’s World Hat Trick Specific Training Plan that I would not have been able to run those events as well as I did.    Online training plans are wonderful and will get you where you need to go.   My problem that I am encountering and is starting to freak me out a bit is that I need to form my plan to start training for the Marine Corps Marathon while being prepared for other events.   I seem to be going a few different directions at once.

Case in Point….

  1. Running many events of different distances for the 9 plus 1 plan
  2. Training for the Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon
  3. Training for the Marine Corps Marathon and the final hill at the end of it.

Now I would have no problem following a plan on my own to train for one of these events, but I’m really having a problem wrapping my head around training for all of them at once.   Probably because I don’t know what I’m doing and have no background in this field.   Yes, I read my Runner’s World, Running Times and such but I’ve really been only running since I finished my first Tri in September of 2013.    I’m in a bit of a quandary.   I know I need to train.   I know that both the Tri and the marathon will require serious training with the marathon only being a month after the Tri, I will need to train for them at the same time.    That being said, I need to figure out how to train without over training, without causing injury, and without causing burnout.   That is where a running coach might just be what I need.

I used to think that a Running Coach would be reserved for the “serious athlete.”   The top of the Pack athlete.    The career athlete.   I used to think that a Stay-at-Home Mom wouldn’t need a Running Coach.   What would the point be?   Then I realized what the point would be?    The point would be that they know what they are doing.    The point would be that they can help me reach my goals.   The point would be that they can help  generate a plan just for me.   Just like I’ve hired a Personal Trainer at the gym in the past, a Running Coach can help put me on the right path for running smartly.   To help me run well.   A  Running Coach can help me reach my potential while at the same time giving me the skills that I will need to get to the end of the road all in one piece.

This is where I am now.   I’ve started process.    I have not hired a coach yet, but have contacted one to see her thoughts.    Surprisingly, the cost is not as high as I thought it would be.   To be honest, the monthly cost is cheaper than hiring a Personal Trainer for two sessions.  Plus the coach that I am looking at has different packages depending upon my need.   I don’t pay a gym membership right now and can justify the cost too.   Although the biggest justification of the cost will be the peace of mind it will bring me.

Even though I have not hired a coach yet and am still investigating, just the thought of it is easing the stress.    I am days away from turning 46.   I am a Stay-at-Home Mom.    I am a middle of the Pack runner.    I have much to learn about the art of running and training.   Bottom line is that I was wrong.   A Running Coach is for an athlete at any level and I am worth it.

worth it

Do you have a Running Coach??

Have you ever had one?

Taking The Day Off

So after my post yesterday, I did some thinking.   I had a few friends contact me.   I did some more thinking and then a little more.

I’m wondering if I was also having the “I didn’t get into the NYC Marathon blues.”    The drawing was yesterday.   If you couldn’t tell, I didn’t get in.   I didn’t expect to get in, but I still dreamed of being a lucky lottery winner.   If my Grammy didn’t teach me anything, she taught me that my family is not destined to win any lottery drawing.   If that was the case, her 50 years of buying and tracking her numbers would have hit by now.   So, I knew I wouldn’t be that lucky, but I did dare to dream.  There are other dreams though:)

I am giving myself a snow day.   I am actually giving myself a snow weekend to come up with my plan.   Yes, I’m working on it.   As my cohort said, I do need “to go to the gym and lift some heavy things.”   So that is part one of the equation.   I’m working on part two.   I will have a plan and implement it.   I’m just not sure what it is yet:)

snow3

Now What?

So as the expression goes,

I’m off and running.

So far.   So good.

I’ve met my January goal having completed not just one, but two events.   February, my local MRTT group is hosting an event, so I’m good there and I’ve got races scheduled in March, April, and May for the 9+1; so I am on my way.    Although, I am not getting ahead of myself as I know I’ve got a long way to go, but it is nice to have a plan.

Speaking of plans…

My next NYRR race is the Washington Heights Salsa and Blues 5K.   It seems like a fun event.   Plus it’s short even though they say it is a hilly course.   Now my cohort in crime has informed me that we are training to do this in 25 minutes.   SAY WHAT????   Did she not see the part about it being a hilly course?   Of course, Dawn loves her hills so this will be a good excuse to run some hills.   That being said, my fastest 5K is around 27 minutes on a course that could really only be described as non hilly.    But being as Dawn is my cohort in crime and I’ve talked her into (yes, your in) running the 9+1 AGAIN this year as she already did it last year and will actually be running NYCM this year, she is doing it again.   Therefore, I will train on hills.   I will run as fast as I can.   I will hope that we can do it.   The beauty of a shorter race is that you can run full throttle and just pass out or throw up at the end.   But lets hope that doesn’t happen and we are prepared for it.

its-a-hill-get-over-it

Now the question will be….

How to prepare for it?

I’m not sure, but I do believe there may be some hill repeats, some dreaded treadmill workouts, and some other torturous running involved.

The next question will be…..

Why?

Easy answer…..

Because we can or at least think we can.

That is the beauty of running.    Just lace up.   Go out and see what happens.    The way I look at it, if it doesn’t happen what is the worst that can happen?    We have to try it again.   Now, I know that I am no Speedy Gonzalez and that a 25 minute 5K is probably the fastest I will ever run it (if I ever do).   You know what “that’s what it’s all about.”   Pushing limits.   Having fun and just seeing where it will take me (and my cohort).

In a million years would never imagine that I would be running races at all let alone setting time goals on them.   So I will just see how far I can go which is already farther than I’ve ever imagined.

Word of the Week – Taper

As with any specialized activity, there are lots of words that get thrown around.   Sometimes those on the outside (by choice because anyone is welcome) don’t either appreciate our vocabulary or those of us new don’t understand it.   I’m the later and once was the previous:)   I’m learning so much and still realize that I don’t know anything.   So please take everything that I say with a grain of salt.  Preferable with a Margarita!   Please also remember that I am no expert and am just a novice trying to figure it all out.

Today’s word of the week

and something that I’m still figuring out is

Tapering

Let’s go see what Webster thinks it means

ta·per

noun \ˈtā-pər\

Definition of TAPER

1   a :  a slender candle (not it)
b :  a long waxed wick used especially for lighting candles, lamps, pipes, or fires (not it)

 c :  a feeble light (not it)
a :  a tapering form or figure (not it)
b :  gradual diminution of thickness, diameter, or width in an elongated object (not it)
c :  a gradual decrease   (Bingo – we have a winner!)
Now Google Runner’s taper and you will get a whole slew of responses and ways to do it.    There are long tapers, short taper, no tapers, and everything in between.   I, myself, am doing a short taper for my marathon.   The reason being is my training has been very condensed.
Now you wouldn’t think tapering would be a hard thing, but it is.   Every person is different.   Every event is different and every situation is different.   I’m still trying to balance what my body needs.
What I do know though is this week, my running is less than it has been.
Only 4, 6, 3 and 8.
Next week it is only 3, 4, 2.
Of course that week ends with
26.2.
I’m not sure when I crossed the border where going for a 6 mile run is a short run, but somewhere that change happened.   I now need to reign it in.   The thing about running a lot of miles is that your body only begins to get into the pattern around mile 3 and then your stopping.   I will work on that.   Who knew that one day I would actually need to work on NOT running as opposed to getting out the door to run.
Life is funny that way!
One thing that I do know that I have to be mindful of with the diminished miles is that means that I need to step back on what I am eating because less miles also means less calories burned.
Taper

Be the athlete You Want to Be!

keep-calm-and-run-forest-run

There are a million and one training plans. Most share similar ideas of how to improve.  The question though is not “what plan” but “what is your goal?” Asking that question will help you narrow down your plan.

As you know, when I started running, I just ran. I started with the basic running plan that my Tri Group introduced me to. The couch to 5k. It was perfect for my goal of the time which literally was just to get my @ss off the couch to run the 5K in the Tri. It worked.

When it was all said and done, I turned into Forest Gump without the beard. I just ran and ran some more. The more I ran though, the more I realized that I needed to learn more about the “art” of running.   Yes, running is simple. Just put one foot in front of the other, but there can be so much more… If you want there to be.

I will say though that if in the beginning I felt the need to do more than just run, I might not have run as far and long as I am now.  I ran just to run.   I didn’t have a plan.  I didn’t have a goal. I didn’t know about mile repeats, speed training or any of the other types of training. I thought if I put the miles in that was enough.   You know what?  For me at the time, it was enough.  If I didn’t just put on my shoes and run,  I might not be where am today in my training.   My only thought in the beginning was just pure and simple to be able to run without feeling like I was dying.

I was talking with a friend who is just getting back I to running (yes, I mean you:).  She was asking me if I was doing all these accelerated glides (not even sure what that is) and magic miles (something else to investigate).  I told her no because right now I’m too late into my Hat Trick training plan to start something new.  Stick with the plan. Keep my eye on the end goal.   I do want to investigate over the off season, but not yet.  I know that I do have  much to learn about running, but I think if I knew how clueless I was when I started that I might not have started.   I would have been overwhelmed.  I’m glad I didn’t know any better and just ran.

My advice to anyone just starting out is to not worry about those Magic Miles yet!  Don’t think about all the things that you think that you need to know to start, because the bottom line is that running really is simple.  Yes, there are many complicated training exercises that you can do to improve your running.  Yes, they can help you run faster.  But the knowledge will come in time as will the improvements.  As I said in the beginning, ask yourself one simple question (which you can share with us if you’d like):

What is Your Goal?

If you goal is just to run. Then just run…