If you’ve been reading the blog the past couple months, you are very aware that I am training for a half-marathon. This is not my first; in fact I ran another one about 2 1/2 years ago. My training this time around differs in several ways from my first attempt. I made a lot of classic first-timer mistakes, but I’m a stronger and better runner than I was then.
Eating. The first time around, I was constantly “fueling.” Although I was very careful about the type of fuel I put in my body, I was nonetheless constantly fueling my hunger. I always used the excuse that I had just worked out to allow myself to eat generously. This time I have actually much less appetite and really listen to my body on whether I’m hungry or not. I’m eating just enough to fuel a run, not to make up for a run. I have also noticed that I look and feel slimmer, so maybe I am a few pounds lighter and can increase my pace and reduce my race time.
Tapering. I always gave myself plenty of time to taper off for a race. Unfortunately I usually gave myself too much time and lost conditioning or that muscle memory by race time (not to mention carb loading for too long that may have added a pound or two). I’m in much better shape now (though I wasn’t out of shape by any means the first time!), and I can withstand a little more rigor and my body recovers better. I have only built in a week or two of taper before the big race and I’m not tapering for any mid-training races because they are really just training runs.
Massages. I didn’t indulge the last time. I don’t know if they are helping me physically, but boy they are helping me mentally!
Overtraining. I was very guilty of overtraining the last time. Too many days of running and not enough rest/recovery/cross-training days during the week. I am sticking to a strict schedule (as much as possible) and I think my body is recovering better and getting stronger faster. I’m not getting strange injuries and I don’t feel as sluggish this last month.
Ice baths. This is the first time I’ve tried them, and I’m totally sold. They really help after the longer runs or if I’m feeling some sluggishness in my legs. Though it may take a week for the effects to kick in, I actually think they really help.
Seasons. The first race, I trained in the winter for a spring race. I love running in the cold better than the heat. However, this race required me to do most of the training in the miserable, humid heat for a much cooler weather fall race. It played havoc with my lungs, sweat glands, and dehydration. However, now that the weather is cooling off to a more moderate level I have noticed that my lungs and body are much stronger. Pushing through the hard stuff has made this month (the monster month with the longest runs and highest mileage) much easier than expected. I think I like fall races much better.
Though I’m sure I am still making mistakes this time around, I feel that I’m wiser and stronger and better prepared to enter my monster month. Here’s hoping that means I’m better prepared for the race as well.
And of course as I promised, here is clue number 2 for my big news in a week. My next big race, the 15k is a week from Saturday, but I won’t get to rest afterwards because I will be doing lots of running around, lifting, driving, and sorting. I also hope I don’t lose my passport before the big race in October.