I’m now almost at the end of my first month of training for the Sarasota Half Marathon on March 11. It’s been the usual early training stuff – two tempo runs, two steady pace runs, one LSD run, and two days off each week. I’ve kept to the schedule, except for a couple of days when I’ve moved a rest day because of personal or work requirements. It’s been more or less an ongoing workout, because I’ve got an ambitious goal for Sarasota – a finishing time of 1:50, a full seven minutes faster than my previous PB for the distance – and that means that all of my runs, including the long runs, have been done at a much quicker pace than I’ve done previously.
It’s been an interesting experience. For all that I’m a lazy runner (heck, I’m a lazy person, if the truth be told), I’ve enjoyed pushing myself. I’m a bit surprised that I can do the speeds I’ve been doing, and can only hope that exercise-based science is correct, and that I’ll be able to build my strength, endurance, and speed even further. Starting next week (which, coincidentally, will be the first week of the new year) I’ll trade one of my weekly tempo-paced runs for a hill repeat session. I’ll start with only a few repeats, and build gradually through all of January and part of February. In mid-February, I’ll swap the hill session for speed sessions, at a pace I can now only imagine. If I can keep at it, I’m going to be a much-improved runner.
As always, the realities of a Canadian winter mean that all of my tempo, hill, and speed sessions will be done (barefoot) on the treadmill. I’ll try to get outside for at least some of my LSD runs (not barefoot, obviously, but in my Invisible Shoe huaraches and Injinji socks), but I have to be being realistic – those, too, may have to be done on the treadmill. I’m OK with that, but doing long runs on the ‘mill requires a sort of attitude adjustment. Not better, not worse, just different.
Lately, I’ve also managed to do, on a more or less daily basis, a short routine made up of stretching (legs, hips, and some upper body), plank (I can now hold the plank position for a steady two minutes), and some breathing exercises (“strength training for the diaphragm,” if you like). They don’t do anything directly for my intended running prowess, but they keep me from feeling creaky.
And I definitely feel creaky these days. It’s partly because it’s winter. I always feel old and somewhat decrepit in the cold months. It’s a combination of sensitivity to the cold, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and my deep yearning to be nearly-naked in the sun. It’s also, though, simply getting older. My wife says that I’ve aged dramatically in the past six years, and I think she may be right. During that time, I’ve broken a hip and suffered two bouts of cancer, and survived 14 months of physiotherapy for the hip and two sets of radiation therapy for the cancer. The costs have been psychological as well as physical, and the wear and tear sometimes shows.
Never mind. I’m holding up well, all things considered. And I keep telling myself that summer is on its way.