I am the type of person who has to learn by experience. Life teaches many lessons and in my life, I have learned by doing the wrong thing sometimes, the right thing sometimes, and then applying the right thing to my daily routine. The same is true when it comes to running. Over the past 13 months, I have learned many “what to dos” and many “what not to dos” by experiencing them each day on the road. Of course, I also learn by reading articles and talking with others like TJ about their experiences and what works for them. I think running ultimately, like most things in life, cannot come down to a cookie cutter mentality. This is why I am not good with training plans that lay out what workout to do each day, how many miles to run each day, etc.
I need simple.
For the first 10 months of running, all I did was run miles. I honestly didn’t know what workouts to do or what would be best for me. I needed simple. So I went out and ran 2 miles a day for 5 days and 3 on Sunday. I remember the first 6 mile long run I had. I was so tired that I accidentally went to the wrong house after I was done thinking I was at TJ’s home.
During this time I would alternate between working on distance while running at a slower pace and working on speed while trying to keep up my distance. I didn’t have anything in particular that would guide me on when to do either one, just a feeling that I needed to change up between the two.
One day, about a month before our first half marathon, TJ came to me and we talking about his workouts he was doing. They consisted of “tempo runs” and “hill runs”. Hmmm. Interesting. So he finally convinced me to try these different workouts. They really helped and that experience is still helping me today. I went from running 13 miles in my neighborhood at a 9:00 pace to my half marathon under an 8:00 pace all within a month.
So here I am, still running the miles, still increasing the pace, still doing the workouts, still learning by experience.
Yesterday I worked hard at running relaxed. I am convinced that running relaxed is a key to running long, fast and without injury. I relax everything that I can, even my lower legs to some extent. Yesterday was a good run and only got difficult near the end when I was tired (I’d been up since 1:00am) and forgot about relaxing.
This morning I became a bit overwhelmed thinking of running a marathon at an 8:00 pace. It was the same feeling I had when TJ told me I should try for running our half marathon at an 8:20 pace. I wrote that day in my blog, “I think I am in over my head”. I wasn’t. As I said earlier, I ran it just under 8:00 and the last mile was at 7:47.
Why am I writing all this. Just to solidify my thoughts and theories about how to run my marathon in September. I know that if I can run with good form and run relaxed, I can easily make my goal.
Only time will tell.