I started 2012 injured and a little frustrated with my lack of improvement in speed in the second half of 2011. Thanks to not listening to my body, I let my IT band get tight enough that it hurt to walk (or sit with my leg bent, or stand…). I managed to get a whole 7.25 miles the first week in January:
I got in the same type of funk at the beginning of 2011. I was putting in lots of miles, not improving much, and getting tired of it. So, I decided to take a break from the marathon and focus on improving my speed. I always knew I had to train faster to get faster, but I was being a baby because running faster = hard. Anyway, I got a new training plan with two days of speedwork per week, and 10 weeks later I PR-ed at the Oakland Half Marathon by over 6 minutes. A miracle! (Not really, since I ran like a madwoman, but it felt pretty magical)
Fast forward to 2012. My newfound speed had translated to a faster marathon time and another half marathon PR, but I was once again stagnating. And cranky. Though the crankiness could have been attributed to my injury/not running (um, sorry husband!)
I started another half marathon training cycle following my old training plan. I kept everything the same but the goal paces, since I knew it had been successful before. This was a pretty bad decision, because the first couple of weeks really sucked. Sure, I felt awesome after hitting my splits for the intervals, but I dreaded them SO much. The fact that I was doing them at 5 AM before work right when I was starting a new job probably didn’t help.
Then, there was a game-changer. I joined a running club.
I have no idea why I waited so damn long to do this. Actually, I do. I was so scared that I’d be slower (and fatter, quite honestly) than everyone else that I never gave it a chance. With some prodding from the husband, I finally went out for a trial long run with the club.
It was amazing. After running alone for a couple of years, I had forgotten how much easier it is to run with other people. My long runs went from 8:40-9:00 pace to 8:15-8:30 just because I was distracted and having fun. Speed work is FUN now, and I get excited for Tuesday night workouts on Monday.
1. Coaching. The club has a coach who posts weekly training plans. There’s a variety of different speed workouts, some of which are new to me and all of which are challenging.
2. Accountability. This past weekend, I told another member that I would see her on Tuesday. Tuesday ended up being miserably rainy and I was tempted to skip the run, but I had already committed.
3. Encouragement. Having experienced runners tell you that you can probably run faster or further than you planned is great. I suffer from a lot of self-doubt, so having others believe in you is amazing.
And most importantly,
4. Club gear. I’m only sort of joking about this. I raced last weekend in a club singlet and I felt like a badass. Random people I’ve never met cheered for me because I was part of the club. Plus, I didn’t want to embarrass the club so I had to run fast :-p
Joining the running club got me excited about running again. Excited about my goals for 2012 and beyond.
My goals for 2012 were supposed to be the main focus of this post, but I got a little sidetracked by run club love. Oops!
2012 Goals, AKA Go Big or Go Home
1. Qualify for Boston: I need to run a sub-3:35 marathon to achieve this. Based on my latest half marathon time, I think I can achieve this by the end of the year.
2. Get a Sub-1:35 Half: This is my “go big” goal. I need to shave 3.5 minutes off my current time. Given my half marathon time history, I’d say I could do it… but logic says I can’t keep PR-ing by 3-6 minutes every damn race, so… yeah.
Writing this all out makes me want to go do mile repeats or something!