In work or life, having a plan is generally a smart idea. Fitness is no exception. Last week, I suddenly realized that the Scotiabank Half Marathon is about a month away and I didn’t have anything resembling a plan. In a moment of panic, I thought about bailing on the whole thing. With a vacation coming up next week, there’s no way I’ll have time for any long runs anyway. I was ready to pull the chute on the whole idea.
But then my very helpful husband created a training plan. I printed it out and put it on the fridge and suddenly realized that what was seemingly impossible was actually pretty attainable. Isn’t that always the way? When you look at a big task in its entirety, it can seem overwhelming and insurmountable. But when you break it down into smaller, realistic goals, it all comes into focus. You might run into a snag in your training schedule (like that time I was training for the marathon and had to run 32K on a treadmill), but if you make it a priority and you remain flexible, everything will work out just fine.
My training plan is by no means aggressive. It includes one speed or hill workout a week and one long run every weekend up until race day, with some cross-training thrown in here and there. If you’re new to running, or way behind on your training, a great way to psych yourself out is to take a look at any online training program. Most of these programs have you running 4 and sometimes 5 times a week! Don’t despair!
Having run three half marathons, I can say with confidence that this is not necessary if your goal is simply to finish. If you’re gunning for something more remarkable (like a really epic PB or some sort of elite status), you might want to kick it up a notch. But if you just want to finish the distance, give yourself a break. A few workouts a week plus a weekly long run is totally sufficient. My longest run before any half marathon has been 18K.
I have a tendency to overreact and this is no exception. What looked totally impossible last week now seems like it will be OK. My new training plan coupled with a decent 12K on Sunday has lifted my spirits and renewed my motivation. My only goal for this race is to enjoy it. With that easy goal and only three long runs to go, I’m pretty confident I’ll be ready for race day.
Are you running any fall races? What’s your training plan?