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A GOTR SoleMates Goes for Under 2 in 2010

November 29, 2009

It’s about time for me to begin thinking about my training schedule. For the third year in a row I’ve signed up to run the ING Georgia Half-Marathon in March. This year, however, I’m doing things a little differently:

  1. I’m running the half as a GOTR SoleMate to raise money for Girls on the Run of Atlanta.
  2. I’ve set an actual goal: to complete the half in under 2 hours (even if it’s one second under 2).

It’s not that I didn’t have goals during the other half-marathons. It’s just that those goals were all the same: completion. I ended up completing them both with great times for me: 2:04 the first year and 2:02 last year. So you see where I’m going with my desire to get under 2 in 2010…

The problem is, as we all know, it’s not as easy as it sounds. I don’t  know exactly how I shaved 2 minutes off my time last year. I think it was a combination of factors. While I didn’t train as hard as I did the first year, I had a much higher fitness baseline at the beginning of last year’s training season. In addition, I did my long runs on early and freezing Saturday mornings with West Stride’s Strider Support Group. For those of you who don’t know about West Stride’s routes, those hills make downtown Atlanta look like the flat plains of Middle America…

This year I’m planning to have all of these advantages plus some. My fitness baseline is even stronger than it was last year – at this point I can very easily run 6 miles at any given time, which is not a bad distance to start with given the race is still about 5 months away. And, my plan is to continue those Saturday long and hilly runs with West Stride. On top of these things, I’ve recently become a convert to the idea of interval training. Since being in South Africa, I’ve done a lot of strength training interspersed with short and intense bouts of cardio. I wasn’t convinced that this could be effective until I went out for an outside jog last weekend and easily completed a 10K despite that I was running at a much higher altitude than I’m used to and hadn’t run 6 miles for almost 2 months. I really want to continue this type of training when I return to the U.S. – it’s stimulating to me, and I’m seeing serious results after less than a month on this type of program.

On top of this, I found an article today on Active.com that provides some excellent tips on pushing past those last brutal miles of a race. For me, this is the key. I seem to go really strong for the first 10 miles of a half-marathon, then peter out right around Juniper St. (in the case of the ING Atlanta at least). As it turns out, I may just not be pacing myself enough early in the run. Check out the article, it’s short and simple but I imagine if you take the time to plot out a strategy and set a pace it could be very effective.

You may be saying, – “well Nadine, it sounds like you’ve got under 2 hours in the bag based on all of these progressive strategies.” Not quite my friends. I’ve got a few barriers to this kind of training, this year in particular. First, I’ll be planning a wedding during this time frame. Second, I’ll be starting a new job that could very well be the most time intensive that I’ve ever had. And three, tennis, not running, is actually my priority sport. Having spent 2 months in South Africa for work during November and December, I have a lot of catching up to do in the tennis department – I imagine the majority of my spare time will be spent working on my tennis game. So, how am I possibly going to fit in tennis, wedding planning, working, strength and interval training, and a weekly long run, into my days? (while also trying to sleep, hang out with friends, and maintain a relationship with my soon-to-be-husband?)

Frankly, I don’t know the answer. Only time will tell. I welcome any thoughts, comments, or suggestions you have on how to achieve the ultimate balance between achieving a major training goal and the rest of daily life…

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