Monday, January 13, 2014

Half Marathon Training

It is New Year's Eve. You have been drinking for most of the day. That evening, at a party, a friend mentions that most of the people from your Sunday morning group have already signed up for the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon in March, and that the next price hike is at midnight. Do you: 

A. Wish your friend good luck. You have just started running again after a six week break due to your back problems, and figure that 13.1 miles three months from now isn't the best idea. 

B. Cry into your glass of champagne, because you love the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon and you're already kind of drunk and why did your stupid back have to dash all your plans for PRs in 2014.

C. Grab a laptop and your debit card, open the page for the race, and register before the buzz you've been riding all day fades away. 

Needless to say, I signed up for the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon on New Year's Eve, and started training immediately. I have no regrets. For now, anyway. 

Since I am just getting back into running, and my back is still not 100%, I plan to train for this race conservatively. I'm only running three times a week, I'm not planning on doing any dedicated speed work, and I'm also going to yoga three times a week. (One yoga class for every run - I think that's a good way to maintain balance.) Since my back was thrown out of alignment due to my tight pelvis and hamstrings, Warrior I and II will be my new best friends. Last year I ran this race in 1:59. While I'd love to beat that time, my main goal is to train smart, stay healthy, and keep my back feeling good. 

I've been following this "plan" for two weeks now, and so far, so good. While my back complained a bit after yesterday's five mile run, I think that was more due to Saturday's kettlebell class. I love kettlebell so much, but it really does a number on my back. I've dropped down to one class a week, but if I continue to have problems, I'll quit entirely, at least until I'm totally healed. Such a bummer, but if that's what my back wants, that's what my back will get. 

This is what last week's training looked like. I'm not sure I'll post a report every week, because I think it's going to be pretty boring, but who knows. 

Monday: Flow Yoga at the YMCA (90 mins). This is my new favorite yoga class. The teacher is down-to-earth, the class is broken up into three "movements," and it goes by really quickly. I can't wait to go back tonight. 

Tuesday: Spin class at the YMCA (60 mins). Spin was pretty much the only thing that didn't hurt my back while I was injured, and I surprised myself by actually enjoying it. I'm going to try to keep going once a week, though that might be hard once the semester is in full swing. 

Wednesday: 3 mile run @ 9:41 pace; Flow Yoga at the YMCA (90 mins). I ran an easy loop through the neighborhood in the morning, and then went to yoga in the evening. 

Thursday: Rest. 

Friday: 4 mile run @ 9:42 pace; Flow Yoga at the YMCA (90 mins). Same thing as Wednesday, pretty much. While all these yoga classes are called "Flow Yoga," each one is taught by a different instructor, with a different style. Friday's class is kind of... kooky. Projections on the ceiling, spritzes of essential oil in the room, etc. It's okay. The class moves slowly, but we get really deep into the poses, so it's a good way to end the week. 

Saturday: Kettlebell class at the YMCA. Good blend of upper and lower body. Ever since I hurt my back, I've dropped back down to the 6KG kettlebell, which seems to have helped a bit. My back was sore for the rest of the day, and I was paranoid that I'd reinjured myself, but I think it was just regular working-out soreness. 

Sunday: 5 miles @ 10:00 pace. I've been meeting a small group of classmates for Sunday morning runs around Greenfield Lake. We're all running the Wrightsville Beach Half in March, so our plan is to add a mile to this Sunday run each week. This was the longest distance I've run since mid-November, and while I felt stiff and sore when I started, I loosened up as we went. I made sure to do some deep yoga stretches when I got home.