My training for the Sarasota Half Marathon is coming along nicely. Much more smoothly than I thought would be the case, in fact. Sarasota is only 59 days away, and I’m now in my second week of tempo and hill set sessions. That sequence will go on until mid-February, when I’ll substitute speedwork for the hill sets. I’m really happy with how things have gone thus far.
Reflecting on the past month and a half of training, I’ve learned a few things about myself.
Discipline Though I’m very fond of routine (partly as a result of having Asperger’s Syndrome), I’m not nearly as keen about discipline. In the past, I’ve gone off the rails of a training program because I’ve been unable to hold myself to its requirements. That hasn’t happened this time. I’ve done what I’ve been told, and have kept the type and pace of my runs without deviation. I have, though, upped some of the distances of both steady and LSD runs, because I think that can only do good. Harder to do has been not running on rest days, or going out for a short run when the weather’s been unseasonably good. All treadmill, all the time, doing the needful.
Cross-training My training program calls for two rest days a week. I’ve been filling those spaces with a set of exercises that include stretching (upper and lower legs, plus opening my hips), plank (regular and side) and breathing (using my nifty Sport Breather). Right now, I’m up to 20 minutes of stretching, 4 minutes of plank, and 15 minutes of breathing; will probably hold to that for a while, and increase the numbers later.
Light The Winter Solstice has passed, and the days are getting longer. I find that makes a tremendous difference to how I feel, both physically and psychologically. No point in doing all this hard work and still feeling dark, gloomy, and unresponsive, is there? I’m still using my SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) light for 20 minutes each day, and will keep on doing so for at least another six weeks. And I’m sleeping well -I started using Hammer Nutrition REM Caps about a month ago, and they’ve resolved some long-standing sleep issues. I sleep deeply, and I wake up rested. Wish I’d known about them earlier.
My only concern in all of this is that all of my runs right now are being done on the treadmill. That’s mostly because it’s winter, but, even on the couple of days when it’s been possible to run outside barefoot, I’ve been on the treadmill. I run first thing in the morning, and it’s dark and cold then. Also, it’s far easier to stay to my target paces on the treadmill than it is to approximate them outside. The downside of that is that the soles of my feet aren’t going to be as well-conditioned as I’d like them to be for Sarasota. So I’m doing gravel bucket sessions two or three times a week, and hoping that the weather in early March will allow me to get out on the roads. I may just have to tough things out in some cold weather.