Now that we are well into our Goofy Challenge Training plan, let’s take a look back before we look ahead to the next month. You can find the Block 1 here, along with the explanation of why I’m building my own training plan.
Month One — August 26-September 29:
I embraced Heart Rate training this time around in a completely new way. A few years ago, I didn’t enjoy it (like seriously, I hated it). I found it slow, boring, and didn’t feel like I was even running. Every time my heart rate spiked, I found I had to slow down. Something I did. Not. Like.
This time, though, I have found liberation in heart rate training. I have run every minute planned thus far (over 25 hours of running) but if you look at my miles, they tell a different story: (117 miles planned, 101 miles completed). So is that a problem? Not at all. Here’s why.
Because we look at a race in miles, we have a tendency to translate our training runs to the same metric. However, our bodies don’t care how far we run, just how hard we work for how long, and they will respond in kind. Our training is supposed to build our bodies up to adapt over time so that someday, one day down the line, our human body can run that mileage on race day. After a certain point during the long run, we start to do more harm than good during training; usually after the 4 hour mark. Staying healthy for race day means we have to have the endgame in mind: to show up ready, but not over-trained.
Challenges and Victories from Month One
The biggest challenge happens at 4:25 every morning. When the alarm goes off, I always hit snooze at least once — a habit that will have to change as my mid-week runs get longer. Why so early? Because although I work from home, I love having that box checked — before I get my son out of bed breakfast and lunch making and is your homework packed and do you have your cross country gear conversations driving to school and getting back…there is some peace in knowing the run is done and out of the way. In spite of this challenge, I haven’t missed a run, yet.
Another challenge is the cross training. I feel like things are going well, but I could definitely do better. The workouts I have completed have all been good challenges: swimming, yoga, TRX, and even some YouTube videos. I’ve done all the planned Tuesday and Thursday workouts. However, I’m hit or miss on my afternoon walks, and I REALLY need to do more short resistance sets post run: things like Resistance bands, Bosu work, and so on. While they don’t show up in my training plan specifically, I know I’m better off doing them.
Pre-run dynamic warm ups and post run foam rolling and yoga are pretty consistent, too, although many days I don’t get to that until much later in the day.
Overall, though, weeks 1-5 were pretty solid training-wise. I feel strong and very much on track. I don’t feel like I’m overdoing it. I’m relishing my speed work days, and while my long runs are tough every week, I do see improvement.
The biggest victory is the heart rate zone break down. This bar graph is weirdly satisfying:
What this means is that I’m spending more than 80% of my run time in Zones 1 and 2, with the rest of my time in the upper (read: harder) zones. Translation, I’m building a cardiovascular machine that will endure not just for 39.3 miles, but for a lifetime of happy running, and (hopefully) more Personal Bests in the future.
What does Block 2 look like — September 30 — October 27?
So what is coming next? The format will remain unchanged mostly: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, are my short and medium length runs with optional walks in the afternoon; Tuesday and Thursdays are Cross training; Saturday Long Run; Sunday off. The long run gets up to 16 miles by the end of October, with the longest weekly run duration/time at 6:24/32 Miles. However, I’m starting to move things around a bit within the week now that I have a handle on the athletic load.
Something that will change things up at the beginning of October is my first Hot Chocolate Series 15k which, at 9.4 Miles is well short of the 13 Miles I have planned for that weekend, but I plan on a long warm up that day. The race will serve as a well supported training day. I will run by heart rate, maybe allowing myself some tempo miles, but mostly keep things easy. This is really hard to do actually, and something we could probably all learn to do better. The excitement of being around people and the race day adrenaline is hard to fight, but this is how we learn to run at our pace and shove our egos in the back seat — personally, I have to duct tape my ego’s mouth shut and toss her in the trunk when I show up for a training race.
Adding that race in required some creative scheduling for the rest of the week, but see how I handled that in the plan below. I am also headed to Florida for RunDisney’s Wine&Dine Half Marathon, so I’m taking that into account as we finish October.
One thing I will make more of an effort to do are those short post run strength sets to help build core, hip and glute strength. I’m feeling the runners knee pop back up again, and I know it is exclusively because I’m lacking strength and stability in those areas.
Overall, I’m happy with where I am right now in my training, and I’m looking forward to the next month as we add some Autumn races into the mix. We still have nice, but cooling weather here in Denver, so I hope that sticks for a little while (really hoping for a mild winter).
If you’ve been following me on this phase of my journey, thank you very much. If you are following this plan as I’ve laid it out, please let me know in the comments. How is it working for you? I would love to have feedback!