Boy, it has been a loooong time since my last blog post! Life seems to have gotten busy, but that doesn't mean I haven't been running! Truth is, I've been following the 18-week schedule for the Halifax Hypothermic Half Marathon, and we are now in week 10!
The training has been going pretty well. Unlike this summer, where I jumped in at week eight of the program after being off for two months following surgery, I've started at the beginning and have been focusing on building up my speed, endurance and strength by sticking to the program fairly rigorously. In fact, my tempo runs have improved from 5:59/km to around 5:39/km, while my steady runs have also improved so that a 6:03/km run now feels pretty comfortable.
I've also been building my strength base with GoodLife's Body Pump classes, along with quite a bit of yoga. It's so great when you're running and your legs just feel strong, and this combination of cross-training seems to work for me. Body Pump is a full-body strength workout with a barbell, and includes one track (song) of squats, and one of lunges, in addition to all the other major body groups. I can really feel the difference in my legs!
I also discovered that Halifax Yoga had a special on for new students: $20 for 10 days of unlimited yoga. I used that as an opportunity to check out the studio and its classes. It's amazing how different each studio is each from the other, and it took me a while to get used to this studio's style. However, within a few days, I noticed my hips opening up, and it felt fantastic! Running can be pretty brutal on your flexibility, if you don't maintain a rigorous stretching program.
Running in cooler weather is lovely
Starting the program in the fall meant I could avoid the hotter running conditions from the summer, and I've really noticed a difference. You can always dress warmer for the cold, but there's only so much cooler you can dress. However, this fall has been so unpredictable, with warmer days following cooler ones, that I've started wearing three different options in my gym bag each day, just in case the weather should be cooler or warmer than expected. Then again, living on the coast, you quickly learn that you can never predict the weather.
The other nice thing about running in cooler weather is that it gets you acclimatized to the winter weather, and makes sure you stay active throughout the holiday season.
Getting used to longer distances
Oh, the human mind is a funny thing. It doesn't matter how many half and full marathons I've run in the last four years, my brain seems to have short-term memory when it comes to long slow distances. For example, last Sunday was my first time running more than 10k in a couple of months. Unlike my 14k LSD last August, which was a sweaty torture from start to finish, this week I actually felt pretty good and maintained a fairly decent pace, up until km 8 or 9. It was at that point that my legs started getting heavier, and my brain started getting bored. I also didn't plan my route properly, so I ended up having to do loops around our neighbourhood for about 4kms, which got boring really fast.
By the end of the run, I was so mentally drained from my inner dialogue with myself about why I was keeping up the run when all I wanted to do was to be home, and home was so close, that when I walked in the door, I was a fuming mess, which hubby noticed. Smart man, he suggested that I go take a bath and relax, because I was so worked up.
Obviously, I've lost the knack for running those long distances - particularly on my own - and I'll have to learn the patience and endurance that I had built up before. I'll also try and kick myself out of bed sooner on Sunday mornings so that I can make it to the Running Room for Run Club. Running long distances alone can get rather...lonely.
Anyways, that's the long and short of it for now. I hope to start blogging more regularly again to track my progress, so stay tuned!