That’s how many days are left until I find myself driving to Orlando for the Disney Princess Half Marathon at 5:30 in the morning.
Since I’ve been feeling particularly anxious about this training season, I decided that checking in every four weeks could be really beneficial for me during this process and for future training seasons to reflect on my struggles, wins and why I started running in the first place.
Week four of half marathon training came to a close after a six-mile run last weekend. And while I’ve had some unexpected setbacks, I’ve also had some equally unexpected (and more important) wins.
Weeks One Through Four
Planned miles: 59
Actual miles: 50
I started off training strong and with strict intentions, but spent the entirety of week two fighting off a fever. I decided that taking time to rest was more important than a handful of three-milers I could already do in my sleep.
Since then I’ve been following my training plan pretty closely. And despite my anxiety before my long runs, my body has been able to handle the mileage increase better than it ever has.
Something I’ve been doing differently this time around that I didn’t do for my last seven half marathons is speed work.
In the five and a half years that I’ve been running, I’ve been more than happy to run at a comfortable pace because I used to think it would be a miracle for me to just cross the finish line.
But I’ve proved to myself seven times now that I’m more than capable of going the distance, so I think it’s finally time to see what I’m capable of when it comes to speed. That’s why I’ve set A, B, C and D goals for this race.
Goal A: 2 hours 15 minutes and 28 second finish time (10:20 pace)
Goal B: 2 hours 15 minutes and 54 second finish time (10:22 pace)
Goal C: 2 hours 16 minutes and 20 seconds finish time (10:24 pace)
Goal D: 2 hours 17 minutes (10:27 pace)
My best time for a half marathon so far is 2 hours and 18 minutes, so I know I’m more than capable of hitting my goal time. But, sometimes the schoolgirl who was always picked last in gym class creeps into the back of my mind and I doubt myself.
Now, here’s where the schoolgirl inside me shuts up. Like I said earlier, I’ve been training with intentions of cutting down my time, instead of passively just getting the miles in.
To my surprise, I’m already starting to see improvements in my pace and my ability to run overall from the last few weeks of playing around with speed work.
While on a four-mile run, I held an 8:50 pace for an entire mile and finished the four miles in 38 minutes and 35 seconds, breaking TWO personal records.
That’s a preeeetty big deal.
Looking Ahead to the Next Four Weeks
The mileage over the next four weeks will be more intense than they have been, going up to 10 miles. But even though I do feel some anxiety before I head out on these longer runs, I don’t think that I’ve ever felt this strong and confident training for a race before.
I really don’t know what challenges I’m going to face on these upcoming runs throwing more speed work into them. But here’s to putting one foot in front of the other and mentally fighting through it!