My half marathon training plan

TJ has been helping me with a plan for our half marathon that is coming up on the 17th of next month.  Yesterday morning before work he came by to pick up something he had left the night before and we eat brownies for breakfast and talked running.  I finally put two and two together and now have a plan rather than just running 5-7 miles a day.  You can read my plan on the “Run Plan” tab above the top picture on this page.

Basically our plan is to run regular runs mixed with tempo (fast pace) and hill runs.  I really think this will be a good thing.  I’ve noticed that after I run a 5K, I generally run at a faster pace the following week.  I am sure there is a scientific way to explain this, but it seems that expending a lot of cardiovascular effort in a race helps me run my later runs easier.  Before this last 5K, I was running in the 9:00 pace.  I ran my 5K in a 7:08 pace and now, with general ease, I am running about an 8:30 to 8:40 average pace.

All that to say, adding a run that is at a fast pace (with warm up miles and cool down miles before and after) and running hill runs should make a big difference.  Just to make it clear, everyday is a hill run in our neighborhood.  However about a mile from home is a hill that is almost a mountain.  It goes straight up for what must be a quarter mile.  It is hard to run up, but harder to run down since it is so steep.

Today is my tempo run.  It should be interesting.  I don’t think I would have much issue with it, except that at 50 years old, my hips and back tend to hurt a lot after running.  If I remember to ice my lower back afterwards, it isn’t as bad, but I’ve been forgetting lately.

26 days and counting until our half marathon!  Now I’m not just running, I’m training.  Life is good!!!

Why I run

I have a couple of reasons that I run.

To begin with, I always regretted not running with my Father and siblings back in the 80s and 90s. My dad began running around age 55 and ran upward of 15 marathons before he stopped around age 74. He eventually passed away due to lung cancer. My late sister and my brothers also ran and all ran marathons with him. I was in college when he started and then ended up 800 miles away raising my family later on. Well here I am now dad, 50 years old and running my first half marathon. Here I am now KT. You always encouraged me to at least get on a treadmill once a day as you saw me gaining weight and getting sick more often. Here I am. I run because of you. I wish you both were here to see.

Secondly, I run because it is the one competition I can enter that has a level playing field. Sure there are those like TJ that are naturals. But for the most part, I know that if I run 6 times a week and slowly increase my mileage, one day I can be good, at least for my age. I am not an athlete and never was. I was the last to be picked for teams when I was a kid. Really, sports didn’t interest me much. Now at 50, I run. I’ve run almost a thousand miles in the past 10 months and am one of the 10% of runners that get through the year without getting hurt. Each run I pray for God to keep me from getting hurt. He knows I have to run and why I am running.

Running, as I said, makes a level playing field. Thus I started running 10 months ago and this month came in 22nd out of 690 in my last 5K. I didn’t come in 22nd and 3rd in my age group because I am a natural. I did so because I run 6 days a week whether it is hot, cold, raining or snowing.

I cannot make an excuse.

I just run.

Preparing for our first half marathon

TJ, RS and myself are going to run in our first half marathon in a couple of weeks.  It is really exciting to be preparing for something longer than a 5K.  I asked TJ, my running partner and coach, about what he was doing to prepare and he sent me this link:

http://m.runnersworld.com/workouts/workouts-your-better-half-marathon

TJ really knows what he is doing when it comes to training.  I am a little less methodical.  My prep until now has been running between 35-45 miles a week.  I run 6 days a week and take Monday off.  Sunday is my long day.  So overall I run 5-6 miles a day and 10 on Sunday.  I created an app for my iPhone using FileMaker Go that helps me prepare my week and for the most part I keep to my plan.

Now, I need something more than just running my run.  I want to run my first half marathon under a 9 minute pace.  The fastest I have run 13 miles is 9:20 pace. So now I need a plan for the next few weeks.  I can run the mileage, but I also want to run the time.

Today is my off day so tomorrow starts the plan.  Lord willing it will be a great race.

“I like pizza”

You might think running can get boring… and sometimes it does. But if you look for the little things in the journey, it can really make it interesting.

Yesterday, TJ and I were out together on our run. I went 5 miles and he continued on for 3 more. About half way through we came across a few neighborhood kids sitting near the road. I’ve seen them before on other runs, but I don’t know them. Anyway, as we ran past, this approx. 6 year old girl look up at me and simply said, “I like pizza”. I replied, “I like it too!”

How random was that?

Life can seem random and running can seem like a long boring journey, but it is the random things that happen that can make your day. I thought about that random comment the rest of the run. I am trying to notice more things and enjoy those little random things that happen. It makes a “boring” run, much more tolerable. For that matter, it can make a difficult life more tolerable. How many random things do I miss during the day? They don’t seem to mean much, but who knows what it can add to my day?

I bet that little girl had no idea that random thought she expressed to me would make me think all day and then become a post on a blog.

I’m about to go out running. I’ll try to pay a little closer attention to the journey.

Running is cheaper than therapy

I know this statement has been around a while, but it is true.

Yesterday was not a good day. I got home from work and ran 4 miles. Then last night it all fell apart. I was upset about everything and the situation was not going in a good direction. So, at 8:00 at night and 37 degrees outside I got on my shorts and tee shirt (I could have been wiser about that part) and put on my Saucony Mirage 2 shoes that TJ bought me and went for a run. I didn’t run fast, probably a 2 minute slower pace than normal. Speed wasn’t the issue. I had to get away. I ran about 5 more miles and headed home.

What a difference a run can make. I was calm and had gotten over all the issues I had. My lovely wife went to Walmart while I was running, so I came home and drove out to meet her there. It was a good night from then on.

What a week

About 10 years ago an older man saw me rushing to meet someone for a meeting and told me, “sometimes the journey is the destination”. I found a shirt with a similar saying on it and have worn it in my last two 5Ks. That saying really helps me in running, especially running the same route in my neighborhood six days a week. For some reason, some days/weeks I go out to run and just dread the time. I am sore or tired from getting up at 3:00am. I usually run after work, somewhere around 2:00pm so it has already been a long day.

This was not one of those weeks…

Here are the personal records I broke in the past 7 days:

5K race – Time: 22:10 Pace: 7:09
10K run – Time: 52:17 Pace: 8:22
10 mile run – Time: 1:28:36 Pace 8:49

To steal a line from Apple, running this week “just felt right”. I really didn’t push it (other than my 5K). The journey was my destination and I felt great. I’ve decided to try and keep under a 9:00 pace for my half marathon next month. Being my first race over 3.1 miles I don’t know what to expect. I have heard from TJ that it is wise to begin slow and finish strong. I am really looking forward to it. Then after a couple of 5Ks this summer and our first marathon will happen in the fall. Who would have thought that less than a year ago I couldn’t run more than 2 miles. I am really enjoying the journey!!!

5K and beyond…

TJ is my running partner. We don’t actually run together much, but he is my knowledge base for running. He does the research and I put into action the things that I can. RS is also a running partner, but has had some troubles with injuries lately so he is trying to get his feet under him again.

TJ and I just ran our 5th 5K together. It was a great day. It was in the 60’s and overcast at 7:15am when the gun went off. Just for the record, TJ is in his 20’s and I am in my early 50’s, but we have been running the same amount of time. TJ is a natural runner as far as I can tell. He ran his first 5K in “gorilla glued” work sneakers that had holes all through them. That was in April 2011. He finished in 22:45 and won his age group. Not bad for just running 3 weeks and not every day. I finished in 32 minutes and was just glad to survive.

Last Saturday we ran in the 5th 5K of our year. TJ finished 2nd overall in a photo finish with the 3rd place finisher. TJ was probably 20 yards behind the 3rd place runner and passed both the 3rd and the 2nd in the last 100 yards – WOW. I ran my best 5K thus far. I finished in 22:10 and got 3rd in my age group and 22nd overall. Oh, did I mention there were 690 people in the race? My goal was to finish under 22:00 and I came close. Actually I pushed it a bit too hard as I needed some attention from paramedics after I finished. I needed about 15 minutes to get my breath back and then I was fine.

RS came along to cheer us on as did my other kids and my lovely wife of 26 years. On the video that RS took of me at the finish I can hear my family cheering me on, but in the race I couldn’t hear anything because of the shape I was in.

Now we begin training for the our first half marathon on February 16th. This will be our first race over a 5K. I have no goal, but TJ wants to finish in 1:30:00. I will meet him at the finish line probably 30 minutes after he finishes.