I am officially halfway through my training program!
The past couple months have really flown but I’m so proud when I look back at the progress I’ve made since I first started. To think I still have 9 weeks left to keep improving is so exciting! I can’t wait to see what else I can accomplish in this next half.
I’m super proud of these last two weeks in particular. After the hard lessons of weeks 6 & 7, I was determined to go into this next phase with a more open mind and a renewed focus on listening to my body.
It was further proof that sometimes a bit of a break is more than necessary. My easy runs have vastly improved on all counts — heart rate, average pace, total time. I’ve been focusing on getting in touch with how the different paces feel so I’m not overdoing my easy runs and exhausting myself unnecessarily. It is definitely something that takes a lot of time and practice but I’ve already noted the difference.
Week 8 marked a big milestone in my long run training — my first half marathon! Since the snowstorm a couple weeks ago forced me to postpone it, I was actually really looking forward to the attempt. I kept a positive mindset, telling myself this was my first time ever running a half and it would simply just be beneficial to get a sense of my timing and how I can improve future attempts.
Of course the weather was freezing with some of the most brutal wind chill we’ve had all winter. But despite that, I finished in a few minutes over two and a half hours! My goal is to do a half between 2:15:00 and 2:20:00 so I was pretty proud of my first attempt, especially with the wind really working against me for a good chunk of the run (like there were moments I was just fully horizontal).
This week though the weather really came through. The past couple days have been unseasonably warm for February, and yesterday it was almost 60 degrees and sunny! It could not have made more of a difference for the long run.
I wanted to do a half again to see if I could improve my stats, especially in nicer weather. There was of course the added challenge of figuring out a way to store my phone, keys, gummies, and hydration gels in just two small legging pockets. The only benefit of cold weather running is all the pocket space in my running jacket.
But once I figured it all out, I enjoyed an absolutely gorgeous run. And beat my first half marathon attempt by 11 minutes! Not only that but my average pace decreased by almost a full minute. If I can bring it down by another 20-30 seconds, I’ll be at my goal marathon pace. Which is AMAZING.
I’m so beyond proud of myself. I know the nice weather made a massive difference, and that actually is helpful for me to realize so that I’m not so hard on myself during any remaining freezing runs.
All in all, I’m really thrilled by how training is going. I’m proud of where I am. I’m excited to see where I can go. And even though I’m really nervous about doing 15-16 miles this week (and then 17 the week after!) I know I just have to take it step by step. Slow and steady and keeping my expectations in a positive space as I continue to improve week by week.
In terms of fundraising, I’m excited about a couple of fun ideas for next month. I’ve just passed the $4k mark and am trying to pass the $5k mark by the end of the month.
Here is the link — any little bit helps!!
Until next time, happy running!