Less than 4 weeks to go until the Walnut Creek Half Marathon. GULP. My initial optimism after 2 weeks of training has taken a reality check. Since my last post, where I was riding high on a couple of strong (for me) workouts, I had one more great track day before my legs revolted. In a normal training cycle, I usually steadily increase intensity and/or total mileage for 2-3 weeks, then take a rest week. Well, since this is an abnormally short training cycle, and because I have my annual trek to Taiwan coming up, I thought I’d try to make the most of week 3 instead of resting. The result: some very slow and lackluster runs that force me to rethink my goals for WC.
Before I get too negative, let’s highlight some of the good things that have happened since starting WCHM training:
- I’m up to 20+ miles per week.
- I ran 4 times a week for the first 2 weeks, and 3 times a week this past week. (I was going to run today, but decided against it in favor of an extra recovery day.)
- 10 days ago, I did a 4 x 800 workout where I ran my 800’s at the same (mile) pace as the 400’s I ran the week before. And my recovery laps were 1 minute/mile faster compared to the week before. BOOM.
- I ran 11.25 miles yesterday, my longest run since the Santa Rosa Marathon (2.5 months ago). So, even though it was very slow, it’s reassuring that I still have a reasonable amount of endurance fitness. But wow, my legs were tired last night! Also, I think it’s crazy how quickly my mindset has changed from thinking a 2 hour road run was a piece of cake to thinking that it would be a challenge.
- I’ve consistently worked on fast finishes for all of my long runs. Yesterday, I turned off my podcast for the last half hour, just so I can work on mental strength. I still find that it’s all too easy for me to talk myself into giving up just shy of my goal. So, this is definitely still a work in progress.
- I didn’t let work mess up my training. This past week was challenging at work and I ended up having to switch my run days from Tues/Thurs to Wed/Fri. It helped that Wednesday was a holiday, but I was glad that I didn’t use work stress as an excuse to cancel a weekday run.
- Even though it wasn’t pretty, I did a 2 x 2 mile race pace work out this week. It wasn’t nearly as fast as I had hoped, but I know that stringing together some speedier miles is essential to doing well on race day.
So, with 4 weeks left until race day, what’s the plan? Well, as I mentioned above, I’m leaving for Taiwan soon. Jet lag and travel days always put a damper on regular training, so I’ll be very happy if I can get in 4 runs while I’m there. One of my goals for this trip is to run the multi-use path around the island where my parents live, which is ~12-13 miles. I’m pretty excited about that, actually. I don’t have plans to do any speedwork, as the humidity kills me every time. By the time I get acclimated, I’m on my way back to the States. I’m sorta wondering if the humidity training will actually help me at WC.
My goals for the race keep shifting, depending on how I feel. When I last wrote, I was optimistic for a 2:00-2:02 finish…maybe a sub-2 if I was having a great day. After this past week’s strugglefest, I’m thinking 2:04-2:05 is more likely. Probably because of the slower projection, I’m changing my focus from a time goal to other kinds of goals. For instance, I want to be better about pacing (i.e., not go out too fast) and I want to finish strong and not let up too early. I will be satisfied with my performance as long as I know that I gave it my all, with whatever level of fitness I have on race day.