Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I have started a 10 week program to run a half marathon in under 2 hours.  I figured it was time to just go ahead and quit putting off setting a goal and just jump in, both feet, and get this thing done.  Enough with the conceptual knowledge that I can do it, it's time to actually begin the slow, steady process of wearing away, molecule by molecule, the rubbery soles of my shoes.  Target day:  September 11, 2010.  I've plotted out a half marathon course that's actually 13.4 miles long, and I'm calling it the "Half to Beat The Heat Half Marathon +"

I know, I know...  it's a little longer than a true half (hence the Half Marathon + tag), but the point is to be able to run it in under 2:00:00 and, more importantly, when the actual half marathon season comes back around I'll actually be able to knock out a half marathon at the time benchmark I've set.  Additionally, I can use this 2:00:00 baseline as a launching point for marathon training.

I should also say that I'm thoroughly skeptical of this "program".  Yes, I have mined it out of a very respected running publication.  Yes, it has been put together by some very respected running coaches and folks very knowledgeable about these things.  But all the same, I'm very, very skeptical about what this program will actually do for me that I wouldn't be able to do by simply going out there and running as far and as fast as I can run 3 or 4 times a week logging between 20 and 30 miles per week (the same mileage the program has me running).  I mean, why does running 16 total miles (in 3 outings) at 10:30 and a "tempo run" of 5 miles (with 3 at under 9:00) produce better results than simply running between 6.8 and 8 miles on 4 separate days at under 10:00 per mile?  I just don't get it.  I really don't understand.  But I'm willing to try and see if it'll actually work, considering I haven't stuck to the "run between 6.8 and 8 miles on 4 separate days" program much, either.  I'm going to give it an honest try, though, and see if 1. I can stick to the program and 2. if it'll actually work.  Maybe I'll set the next benchmark as a 20:00 5k!

So, on with the program...
Today is a rest day/cross train day on the program.  Yesterday was, I thought, 4 miles at 10:38 pace, but was actually scheduled to be 4 miles at 10:30 pace.  All the same, I knocked out 4 miles in just under 10:30.  I tried really hard to stick to the 10:38 pace that I thought I was supposed to be keeping, but in the beginning that felt SOOO SLOOOWWWW...  towards the end, though, it was a bit tougher to hold on to the pace, so it balanced out.  This was also about a mile longer than my typical weekday runs.  Usually at the park I'll whip out 3 miles with about a mile of speed work.  Yesterday was just 4 steady miles.  I'm not sure why, but today I'm a little bit exhausted.  I DO know that 16 laps around a track is bo-ring.

Tomorrow the schedule has a 5 mile tempo run.  I've never done a tempo run, on purpose.  The schedule says to start slow for a mile, then blast 3 miles at 8:54, then finish slow.  Finishing slow runs completely counter to everything I've ever learned and every habit I've ever developed, but I'll give it a try all the same.  I'm thinking it'll be 4 laps around the oval, then 1 lap around the park, then 4 laps around the oval.  I suppose I'm going to have to suspend the 8:00 rule for the park circuit for awhile.

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