I'm partway through my training -- not quite halfway -- and I figured I should do a quick update.
I haven't missed any runs yet, and I haven't had too many bad runs. Running six days a week is kind of nice in that, if you have a bad run, you're running again soon so it's easy to get it out of your head. I don't really worry too much about four of those runs either because they're all to be done at my easy or long run pace (the fastest I should be going is 10:10). Recovery runs don't have a target pace at all, although I'm still staying in that 10:10 to 11:52 range.
The workouts have not been easy, but I've become accustomed to the longer warmups and cooldowns. They also make it easy to segment the workout, so even when I'm struggling with the workout itself, I can talk myself through it. Generally, the workouts have gone well.
I say this, but I haven't tackled my mile repeats yet. That's next week. But I don't have to worry about that yet! See? Running six days a week makes it easier to just focus on the run at hand because there are plenty of other runs to do.
So far, I'm pretty happy with the process. I don't know if I mentioned it, but after I decided to do the Hansons Half-Marathon Method, I signed up for online coaching through Hansons website. (Sidenote: The website could use a little work.) I felt a little silly -- after all, I coached half-marathon runners! -- but I really felt like I needed additional guidance to implement this crazy, high-mileage program. The paces I was supposed to hit seemed unrealistic. After I signed up, I completed a questionnaire and my coach contacted me to discuss my goals. She's customized the program to fit my paces and other commitments. She's provided encouragement and constructive criticism. She's been very responsive and helpful. So far, so good. She was supportive when I decided that maybe I did want to "race" the Parkersburg half-marathon.
Also, she's a competitive runner who has already met the Olympic qualifying time in the half-marathon, so she's inspirational. But she also can bring her experience down to my level, which is nice. :)
Sometimes another viewpoint -- from someone who doesn't know you that well and who can be a little more objective -- is helpful. And sometimes to get that objective viewpoint, you have to pay for it. I should write more about coaching after we're done.
My body seems to be holding up okay, but the fatigue is real. I'm running a lot of miles, and at my pace, that's a lot of time on my feet. For example, last week, I spent almost 7 hours running. My legs are tired, but the calf pain I had in June has mostly gone. My calves are very tight, especially during the warmup portions. (I trust and rely on those parts of the run!)
I have been diligent in doing my abbreviated version of the Myrtl routine and foam-rolling on days I run (and I'd like to do it on my rest days too), but I do need to add in some additional work, particularly for my calves and maybe some ankle strengthening.
And for my dear neglected, hidden abs. My weight hasn't changed, which is not good -- I should have dropped a few pounds. So I'm cleaning up my diet a bit. Nothing crazy, but cutting back on the craft beer (those Belgians and imperial stouts and IPAs I like so much have a TON of calories). I'm also trying to pay more attention to what I eat (fewer lattes/more iced coffees, fewer fries/more salads, smaller portions, etc.). I'm trying to pay attention to nutrients a little more (carbs are easier than protein, but I need the protein to prepare my body for all this stress!). I'm trying to take my vitamins regularly (I brought back my daily reminder on my phone).
If my weight doesn't settle down, of course, I will have to get a little more drastic, which I hate to do while running so much. I'm hoping that cutting back on the craft beer and just generally being more vigilant will be enough.
The Conclusion -- So Far
I am happy with the program. I am taking the easy days easy, and I'm enjoying the structure. The workouts are hard, but they feel purposeful. The coaching has been helpful (and c'mon, we all need a little cheerleading/hand-holding sometimes).
I already bought into the theory behind Hansons, but doing the program is really making me believe. It doesn't make sense for your long run to be 50% -- or more! -- of your weekly mileage. Your body needs to adapt to it. I'm not sure if I would use Hansons on another marathon yet (such a time commitment to run that much), but I probably would do some variation so that my long run isn't the bulk of my mileage. (I just looked back at my marathon program from last year, and the long run averaged about 38% of my weekly mileage throughout the program. If I used a version of that program, I would just up the mileage so that my long run is no more than 30%.)
I am curious about adding some fast-finish miles to my long runs, and I will talk with my coach about that after Parkersburg.