Four weeks have passed, and 117 miles have been ran since I officially began training for Fort4Fitness.
The plan I selected is challenging, incorporating tempo VO2 max and threshold workouts. The miles are man, with my shortest runs currently at 6 miles and the longest at 9. This week, I also have a 7-mile steady run and a near 9-miler with goal pace splits.
The fear and apprehension surrounding these workouts is great. I find that if I think too much about them - like last week's 14 x 400 repeats - I psych myself out before I start. While it's probably healthy to be a bit daunted by a PR plan, it's not good to feel defeated before hitting start on the Garmin.
Thankfully, I've found a few strategies that have helped me not only get through but also succeed.
Mile by mile.
Each week, I look at the spreadsheet so I can fit the plan into my schedule. I never look beyond that as to avoid unnecessary worrying about future workouts.
Company of others.
For the better part of my running history, I have ran alone - or with my dog, who doesn't do much to push the pace. I've since wisened up and began running with friends met through local running stores and social media. If I tell them a workout or mileage goal, I'm far more likely to adhere to it. My husband, who will pace me at the Sept. 27 half marathon, also runs the goal pace miles with me to help me stay focused.
This summer, I have been able to use two races as my speed workouts for the week. The Runners on Parade 5K -and pre-race warmup - served as a tempo run. Well, a fast one. This past weekend, I counted the New Haven 10K as my threshold intervals (3 x 2 miles at goal half marathon pace). Not only did the environment give me the drive and the adrenaline I needed to get through the fast miles, I also got accurate race times off which to base my paces.
Fast shoes equal fast runners. Or, at least I'd like to think. This year, I started rotating a lighter racing shoe into my collection for the tougher workouts. I'm sure that much of the evidence is anecdotal, but the weight of the shoe can affect performance, and it is best to give yourself any advantage you can.