I spent quite a bit of time working up the details of the 18-week training plan. (Wow, that's a lot of weeks!) I used Hal Higdon's Advanced Marathon II as my template. If you think "advanced" sounds a bit over-reaching, let me assure you that I have modified the plan extensively to meet my needs. Also, the advanced plan is actually pretty much the same as the Intermediate II, except adding speed work and hill work.
I tweaked the plan (a lot).* Higdon's plan has running six days a week, and there is no way I am going to do that! I changed it to running four days a week and cross training on the other three. To do that I combined two of his short run days (Monday and Wednesday) into one longer easy run (Monday), combined his Tuesday and Thursday speed/hill/tempo runs into one speedwork day (Wednesday for me), kept the Saturday pace run pretty much intact except moved it to Friday, and left the Sunday long run essentially as is. With these modifications, my total weekly mileage in four days will typically be the same as his plan over six days. (Sometimes more, I don't do short runs except for 5K's!) I also juggled the placement of the pace runs and long runs just enough to fit in a number of races I have on the schedule.
When I trained for CIM I pretty much used the same schedule but I started halfway through with my long runs already long. On this schedule I don't go over fourteen miles until Week 7. Which is fine with me!
Since this week is the last week before starting the plan, I have been all topsy-turvy with my running. On the one hand, my two runs so far this week have been longer than typical weekday runs (nine miles on Monday and eleven yesterday); on the other hand, I am going to take both Saturday and Sunday off running this weekend (last opportunity for a while to do that!).
Yesterday, I guess in the spirit of being off-schedule, I let myself linger in bed a little too long and then decided it was too late to get up and run before work. It would have been a decent morning for running, though it was a bit cold and foggy, but the weather forecasters promised a sunny afternoon so I decided to put off my run until then.
By the time I left work and got ready to run at 3:00 (I was determined to be done before sunset, which was 5:00), it wasn't really sunny anymore but it was still quite pleasant out. I took a chance and went out without a jacket on. I decided to run from my house down to Marine View Drive and around the waterfront perimeter, including out to the Hat Island ferry dock, where I had never been before.
At first my legs were not happy to run, and kept threatening me with aches (ankle), pains (shin), and heaviness (both legs). After about three miles, though, they loosened up and my soreness dissipated a lot. I reminded myself of my mantra, "first five miles are warm-up, second five are easy," and in fact, by the time I was in mile six I did feel like I was running much more easily.
Despite my lack of a morning run, I had eaten a big breakfast (oatmeal with stuff in it) and lunch (barbecue pork sandwich), plus some other goodies in the office kitchen**, and I felt all that food heavy in my stomach for a good portion of the run. Honestly, that alone is a good reason to run in the morning instead of afternoon/evening, to run on a relatively empty stomach and avoid side stitches and heartburn! That too eventually abated, however.
At 6.5 miles I stopped to use the bathroom and called my secretary. She asked if I was coming back to the office--I was going to write her paycheck early as she was going to be off for a couple days. Even though I could easily do the check in the morning, I decided that a goal would be to get back to the office by 5:00. It's about a mile from my house, so I needed to modify my planned route a little bit to accommodate the extra mile or so.
So instead of continuing to follow the Port of Everett trail (that I was attempting to find for the third time), I stayed on Marine View Drive until I got to Pacific Avenue, then headed east to Colby and then north toward the office. (This involved several blocks of hills, as well!) On Colby I decided to pick up the pace, and my last two miles were about 9:15 and then 8:30. My average pace for eleven miles total was about 9:30 per mile.
The only downside was that after sitting at the office for a while, I was cooled off and walking home in the cold (and now dark) wearing a sweaty top with no jacket was a little chilly! But I got a short mocha at Safeway along the way and that helped fend off hypothermia a bit.
Tomorrow morning is my usual Friday medium long run, and I'm hoping to at least match the eleven miles (maybe further) before taking off for the weekend.
So, other things that I plan to do starting February 1....
- Resume yoga and/or Pilates. This is probably the one thing that I am least confident that I will follow through with. I don't know why I have such a barrier to getting back into it. I did yoga for years. Mainly it's just the commitment to evening classes, after working all day. (This is why running in the morning works so much better for me.)
- Give up sweets for the month of February! Yes, I need to cut the cord again. Since Christmas my sweet tooth has been raging. I have pretty much managed to keep my sugar consumption within my calorie guidelines, but it's not a good way to live, cutting my "real food" calories to a minimum to accommodate treats. Also, I suspect I routinely underestimate portions and calories, and while that makes little difference with things like salad greens and salsa, it makes a huge difference with cookies and candy. February is a good month to do this (despite Valentine's Day in the middle), because it is only 28 days long!
*I considered scanning my plan and posting it as picture, but I wasn't able to do that. Technical limitations....
**Including peanut brittle, which I'm not even especially crazy over, so I don't know why I can't stop eating that stuff! Even now, as I am writing this, I have the taste of it in my mouth from my last trip to the office kitchen.