Thursday, January 03, 2013

Athens Half-Marathon

The Athens half-marathon is in 15 weeks, and I really, really want to PR that race. I'm loosely following a Runner's World Smart Coach plan around the Cleveland half-marathon group plan and hoping for the best. My plan is to hit the mileage, speedwork and long run components, which should do me just fine.

I hope my body can hold up. This plan is a little aggressive and paired with the other plan, I am likely to end up with higher mileage than prescribed. I made a Google spreadsheet for the plan, and I also have DailyMile, GarminConnect and my other Google spreadsheet workout log. That's kind of ridiculous -- way too much recording of the same shit. Not sure what's going to change there though. And I definitely want to track my actual program to the plan's prescribed program. I think that'll help me for my future HMs.

The plan is interesting. I plugged in my current HM time (2:15), current mileage (21-26 miles/week) and effort level (hard). The mileage seems great -- gradually increasing and peaking at 36 in week 14 (the race is week 15). The predicted pace for the race is 2:04:28, which is a 9:30 average. That's A LOT faster than what I've done. What's most interesting is that the vast majority of the runs are slow (11+ pace, although they slowly speed up over the course of the 15 weeks, starting at 11:40 and ending at 11:07). The long run is slow, too, of course, and they're LONG. Unlike beginner plans, they don't start out at 4 or 6; this starts out at 10. There's also one speedwork or tempo run per week. Every three weeks, I think, there's a built-in cutback week with a drop in mileage accomplished through no long run; there's also no speedwork during the cutback week.

I feel like I need to give it a shot as best I can. There's research behind those slower paces, and god knows what I'm doing now isn't helping me all that much on race day. Theoretically I should be in pretty good cardiovascular shape by the end of this.

The plan started last night and should have been a tempo run. [insert excuses] But it was cold and sometimes icy, and I was wearing my (super-heavy) Vasques because I didn't know how slippery it would be. (Sidenote: The Vasques are 12.3 ounces; my regular Brooks PureFlows are 7.5, and my PureGrits are 7.6. That's a big difference!) Anyhow, the run turned into a 4.5-mile easy run, followed by beer and wings. Tonight, I'll do my tempo run on the treadmill.

I'm feeling optimistic about this plan, but I'll feel better when I actually match it up with the Cleveland plan. I just hope that I can manage the higher mileage and cross-training. I really believe that I feel better and have less pain when I'm doing yoga. I'm hoping for one yoga and one strength-training per week, but we know how that typically goes.

But if it's important, you make time; if it's not, you make excuses.

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