Since the beginning of July, I have been working out very consistently with at least 4 or 5 solid workouts a week. I’ve also, for the first time in my life, been strength training at least 2x a week, but sometimes 3!! This is seriously unheard of for me, and I feel so good. I can see a lot more definition in my shoulders and arms in particular, and I actually (dare I say) look forward to using my muscles at the gym. It’s a good place to be!
I don’t think I’ve mentioned this officially, but I signed up for another half marathon, which will be my fifth. It’s the Philadelphia Half Marathon, and it will take place on November 18, 2012. Even though I’ve already run four half marathons, I still think it’s a very challenging distance and appreciate my body’s ability to carry me through it.
Since somehow November 18th is just 12 weeks away, my training plan for the half actually starts today! I tend to get pretty all-or-nothing with many things in my life, and running is no exception. When I train for a race, I find myself ONLY running, which is not good. My body needs strength and cross training, and I know that making an effort to do so will only make me a stronger runner.
I’ve never been in a place exercise-wise like I am in right now – where I’ve been consistently working out, doing a variety of different activities/exercises – and really enjoying it. My hope is that being in this place will help me tremendously with training for the half because I don’t want to give up the strength and cross training. I’ve already noticed so much improvement in my strength and in the amount of weight I can use for various exercises, and I don’t want to take any steps back in that department.
So my goal for this time around is to be very serious about not just running, but cross training as well. I’ve drafted a 12 week training plan (based off of Hal Higdon’s Intermediate Plan) which can you can see here, but this basically sums it up:
- 1 “easy” run per week, starting with 3 miles and working up to 5.
- 1 speed training day per week, rotating between intervals and tempo runs, peaking at a 5 mile interval run. Yikes.
- 1 long run per week, starting at 5 miles and working up to 12 miles.
- A fourth run with 3 miles and strength throughout the training plan, but I may switch that up with cross training when I feel like it.
- Strength training 2x a week.
- 1 (or 2) days of cross training a week.
- 2 rest days per week.
All in all, I feel like this is a really solid, balanced training plan, and I am really excited to see myself build up my mileage again. I have been doing almost all of my runs inside on a treadmill lately, so I’m also looking forward to going back outside for at least the long runs, but hopefully some of the “easy” runs as well.
The one thing I am most worried about with training for this half marathon is that I tend to maintain and/or gain weight when I’m training for an endurance event. I don’t know that I’ve diligently been trying to LOSE weight while training for one like I am now, but I know when my mileage gets up there, my hunger does too. I know it’s going to be really important to listen to my hunger signals and eat smart and clean to fuel my body. I also am going to cut back on drinking (which is probably a good thing anyway) so that I’m not making dumb choices, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about it.
All that said, my goal for this half is to really stick with my training program and approach this race feeling strong and prepared. I have wavered in the past when training and not put my all into it, but this time I am ready to. I’d love to PR and beat my fastest time yet – 2:08:52 – and I know that if I put the time and dedication in, I can do that.
Do you struggle with balancing weight gain when you exercise a lot and/or are training for an endurance event? How do you balance the two? Any tips?