Last week I hated you. I mean, you start out the week with strength training. The next day I run. And then I do cross training, followed by a day where you throw together running AND strength training. If I survive your gauntlet of pain, I get a rest day.
Followed by a long run.
The old me (from last week) thought you were a sadistic kind of fellow. Here's the thing, I'm fat. I just am. I started doing this running thing to lose weight. And then I discovered I like it a bit so, hey, why not do something like train for a half marathon? Which I did - not so successfully - a couple of years ago. And in the hours after that first half marathon, I hated running. I swore I'd never race again. And whether or not I'd run again was also up in the air.
And then I forgot about that pain. I worked through the injuries I caused myself. I ran a 5K or two. And then this year came and my friends said, "hey, there's this half marathon..."
And I said, "SURE!!!!!!!!!! SIGN ME UP!"
With that in the distant future (September was a long way away), I decided to start looking for things closer to home in between and I stumbled across this race that included two of my loves - running and cinnamon buns. Well, three of my loves actually since it is out in the country and I'm running past cows, not houses. And I thought, "eight miles? I can do that!"
So, off I went to the Hal Higdon site and found myself a training plan (15K/10 mile). And I began slowly - I had more weeks between me and the race than Hal had in the training plan so I modified the plan and stretched things out. Everything was coming up roses - I even started strength training per the schedule.
When I started strength training, I looked around for an easy, comprehensive plan that wouldn't lock me in the gym for hours. I settled on this one that focuses on the wrong things for a runner - heavy weight, low reps. Also, every workout includes squats. Let me say that again - EVERY. WORKOUT. SQUATS.
It starts out easy with an empty Olympic bar and you build up every week to higher weight. Well, last week, I finally started hitting failure on my squats. At 90 lbs + body weight post run - it was a Thursday.
Now, the week didn't start out all that well, even though it was one of the mini tapers in the program. Every day was a simple 2 mile run, but after Monday's strength, my legs felt like lead through the Tuesday run. Where I'd hoped to work on speed a bit with the reduced mileage, I ended up working on trying not to lay down on the treadmill and cry instead of running. I walked a lot that day.
The next day, determined, I hit the elliptical and put in a full 60 minutes and felt slightly better. Then Thursday came and, well, I made some mistakes.
Going back to the "fat" thing, I'm also trying to fix my diet. Which means eating out less - especially at lunch. So I picked up a bunch of frozen diet lunches on sale. On Thursday, I had oatmeal for breakfast. Then I had a frozen meal that clocked in at <300 calories. Five and a half hours later, I was at the gym running and lifting. I wanted to die, but I finished those squats.
After that, I dreaded this week. Not only was I still strength training, but my mileage would be going up a bit. Basically every day in the week would be up a mile, giving me a 3 mile increase overall. I modified that and went with a 2 mile increase overall, because ow.
Last night - Thursday - was run and strength. And I dreaded it. But I learned a bit from last week. I supplemented my food for the day and ate more calories with some fruit, veggies and cheese. I got to the gym and I decided to try intervals because I'm a glutton for punishment.
I finished my speed work, hit the weights and finished them successfully as well. By the time I got home, I felt like a million bucks.
So, Mr. Higdon, thanks. Your training plans, while sometimes painful and evil, have made me stronger. And maybe even a little faster. I can't wait to start the half marathon plan in June.