Time to start running again…like, for real

Someone else is going to have to deal with getting the turkey in the oven this year. On Thanksgiving morning, I’ll be running the Atlanta Half Marathon.

Lots of hills, lots of turns, lots of Jelly Bellys (?). This definitely not a PR course, but it runs through my neighborhood and it looks like fun. I’m going to train hard and give it my best shot.

Last week was pretty light, running-wise: I bailed on both my track workout and my long run and ended up only running 20 miles. So let’s call that my last week of mellow summer training. Atlanta Half training starts this week.

I don’t do detailed training plans, but over the next three months I’m planning to:

  • Bring mileage up to the 40-50 MPW range
  • Continue cranking hard at the track on Tuesdays
  • Add a second hard workout each week in the form of hill repeats or a longer tempo run
  • Increase weekly long run from 9-10 miles to 14-15 miles
  • Continue to strength train or boot camp 2-3 times a week
  • Yoga once a week (or at least every other week)

Pretty standard stuff. I’m determined to keep the weekly mileage relatively moderate so that I’m not tempted to skip out on the strength training. I’m still making progress in that department and I’m not ready to back off yet!

Anyway. I am about to delve in to how fantastic last night’s track workout was, but first I’ll be honest and talk a little about how not fantastic last week’s track attempt was.

In fact, it was so awful that I quit.

We were assigned this weird 400-400-200-200 thing, four sets in total. I made it though the first set and was struggling to hit 90 on the quarters. My 200s were around 42-43 (when just a couple of weeks ago, I was doing 37s). I did the first 400 of the second set and came in at 95 and felt like I was doing to die. So I called it a day and jogged around the outer lane for the rest of the session.

I feel like there are always two sides to a DNF:

On one hand, if I’m miserable and struggling and not hitting anything close to my normal pace, what’s the point of continuing? I come to the track to do quality work, so if can’t do that, I’m better off saving my energy for another day.

But on the other hand, running is hard and sometimes workouts suck. Sometimes, for whatever reason, your pace is slower than it was last week. Sometimes you feel like shit. Is that really an excuse to just throw in the towel?

Eh. Still not sure I made the right call on that one last week, but oh well. It was just one workout.

And I made up for it with a good set last night: 3X800, 6X400. The weather was lovely and breezy and relatively cool. There was only one stroller on the track and it stayed in the outer lanes – thank you, people who understand track etiquette! (The guy walking his dog in lane one was another story, but I think he got the hint after our pack barreled by him a couple of times.)

Anyway. On my warm-up, I was definitely feeling the hundreds (literally) of double lunges we did at yesterday’s boot camp. With a sore butt and quads, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get a decent turnover going, but I finished the 800s in 3:05, 3:02, 3:02 and the 400s in 86, 88, 87, 87, 86, 85.

Compared to the last time we did this workout, back in June:

And apparently I was running really hard when we did this one the first time. I was super stoked about that 3:03! Getting faster, even by just a few seconds, is so satisfying.

I feel like running a workout like this at entirely sub-6 pace would not be out of the question. And it’s been a long time since I was in good enough shape to bust out sub-3 800s in a workout.

It is still kind of amazing to me that I’ve been able to increase my speed this summer while running such low mileage.

I hope it’s a trend that can continue while I build the miles back up!

7 responses to “Time to start running again…like, for real

  1. Who walks their dog on a track? You’ve written about parks and stuff before I think, right? I mean it’s great the dog is getting exercise but it’s just odd.

    Anyway your track workout posts always make me wish I was brave enough to find a group to run/ train with. I’m to wussy (slow) to actually do it. Also, jelly bellys? Sounds like a good half!

    • I don’t care if someone walks their elephant on the track as long as they do it in the outside lanes! And yeah, Atlanta does have great parks, which I would think would be more interesting for both the walker and the dog…but whatever, at least he moved over eventually.

      I know it’s intimidating to jump in to a track/training group, but really, it is so rewarding! Go for it. :)

  2. I’ve run a Thanksgiving half for the past 3 years & I love it!

    By the way, pretty sure you live in the same neighborhood as my friends Laura & Beth. You should meet them!

  3. I will back any race that involves Jelly Bellys as a sponser. That is amazing!

    My last race this year is scheduled for October 20th. I’m undecided if I want to indulge myself with a Turkey Trot of any sort. I doubt it would hurt anything… but it’s cold and I often reserve the right to drink myself silly on Thanksgiving Eve. Decisions, decisions.

  4. Oh man, only one Jelly Belly station? What if you accidentally get — I dunno — buttered popcorn and you can’t trade it in for something not-gross?

    • Weirdly, I LOVE the buttered popcorn Jelly Bellys. Like, I can eat a whole bag of them.

      This has been one of the biggest sources of friction in the history of my marriage.

  5. Pingback: On adjusting expectations | eat, drink, and run