Last year I modified a Hal Higdon training plan for my first half-marathon. Main thing, I extended it to include more weeks. I didn't want to kick things off running three miles and then immediately hate life. That sounded like zero fun. Instead, I wanted a few easing-me-into-the-pain weeks, so I took the plan from 12 to 18 weeks.
A couple things I learned from my training:
1. I didn't make cross-training a priority. I took a few kickboxing classes and did the 30-Day Shred a handful of times, but running was my focus. Strangely, the weeks I incorporated cross-training, I saw a difference in my runs. Actually, that's not strange, that's obvious to almost everyone, and this time around I'm going to try to remember it myself.
2. I didn't run far enough. Many plans tell you not to train for the full distance you're running. In general, I hear you should train half the distance for a 5K and 10K and then 10 miles for a half-marathon. So, my longest run was 10 miles, and I only ran that once. I did run all 13.1 miles of my race, but those last three were awful, worse than I can even describe with words I feel comfortable having my mother read. So, this year I've added an 11- and 12-mile run.
3. I let myself off the hook too often and too easily. There's no way I can stick to this plan 100%--there's life and family and work and illness, etc.--but I can't let myself off the hook just because I don't want to run/work-out.
4. I depended on my partner too much. Kristie is awesome, and I love her more than almost anyone I'm not legally obligated to love, but when she was out of town or busy, I would slack off. I need to have as much confidence in my ability to do something as I have in my ability to do something with someone.
5. I didn't eat right. Last fall, I possibly worked out more than I have in a decade, but I ate like I was constantly at a frat party. I'm not just planning my work-outs this time, but my meals, too. It affects performance, it affects how I feel, it's pretty essential to success.
So, I modified last year's plan to include more cross, to include a few longer runs, etc. (Drumroll) Here it is:
(Click on the image to enlarge!)
I officially start this coming Monday, wish me luck! New shoes are on their way, too. I tell you what, there is no better way to stare down 18 weeks of work-outs than with new shoes.
(Well, maybe with champagne, but that seems counter-productive.)