Sunday, November 21, 2010

Time to Schedule Some Time to Make my Schedule... what?

Yesterday I spent some time working on a new training/workout schedule to start following. I have been using a very loose schedule approach for the last year or two. But I think I'm going to start following a less loose (dare I say tighter) approach for a few weeks and see what happens. Also, this is how a beagle flops down beside you to help with your training schedule development:

A brief background: I love schedules and planning. In the past, especially when I first started running, I looked up plans and copied them down on calendars or in notebooks so I could follow them daily. I would plan out races and workouts leading up to them, but without really knowing what I was doing. As time went on I started tweaking the schedules more and more, realizing that I wasn't always going to be able to do what the schedule told me to do, be it because of my fitness level or because of my day. I soon became frustrated trying to follow too religiously, missing workouts and feeling like everything was ruined when that happened. So eventually I adapted a training guideline kind of approach. Last year when I trained for my marathon, the only real scheduled runs were the weekend distance buildup, Track Tuesdays, and I ran during the week with Krista every now and then. I think I just tried to run as much as possible the other days of the week.

That kind of approach really does work for me in accomplishing consistent and happy running: Tuesday track, midweek with a partner, long run on the weekend. However, it only works if those things are present and, most importantly, I have the motivation to carry through with them. Which brings me to the current State of the Running Union. The State of the [my] Running Union is weak.

My motivation is at an all time low, so it's time to make some changes. Enter brand new, shiny, still-has-that-new-car-smell training schedule! I've reflected a lot about my running hobby and how it fits into my life. I'm not so sure I've ever taken this approach, but I do believe it's imperative for developing a successful schedule. I also thought about what my goals are, another crucial element. They are pretty simple. I love running, so I want to run. I love biking and believe I might have some unleashed potential there, so I want to bike. I really like the challenge of improving, so I want to push myself and enjoy the rewards.

Here are the boring details of it all, an overview of the next few weeks. I'm going to "spin" (indoor trainer) 3 days a week and run 3 days a week. I've scheduled times for this to happen that are realistic and current. I'm not going to run in the dark by myself, so morning runs are out and have instead been moved to lunch time. Spinning works after work, unless I work late. That happens from time to time, and for the past month has been pretty much every single night. So, I am just going to bite the bullet and get up earlier so that I ensure myself the time on the bike. I really don't mind getting up early, and it's dark anyway. It's just that I would prefer to not get up that early :)  On the weekends, I will do a long run and a long bike session (Spinflix-style).

I have the daily details scratched out on a piece of paper. I'll be ramping up my mileage and time on the bike back to respectable amounts. I figure I will test this through the rest of the year, and then see what I want to do when January hits. I might want to focus more on one or the other sport, or start training for the Pig. I have some big ideas/dreams about it all, which don't seem to look right on this blog right now. I feel like I'm all talk with nothing to show for it. So for now, it's just about doing what I like to do, and improving at it. When there are results to show, that might warrant more discussion.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Spectating the Mason Half

Sunday, track-BW3s-and-otherwise buddy Roman ran his first half marathon: the former Mason Fall Golden Mini (15K) turned into the Mason Half Marathon. And he did a great job too! He came in 12th in his age group and 43rd overall. 7:35 pace...Not bad!! Congrats, Roman!

We saw Roman start and then headed over to a spot that was around the 4 and 10 mile, since it was partially an out-and-back course. Spectating was fun. We took Dexter to help rally the runners :)  A lot of people glanced at him and smiled, as he shivered in his plaid coat. Why on earth that dog gets so cold with all of the blubber he has to keep him warm is unknown to me. Greg and I took turns running him every now and then to warm him back up.

The other highlight of spectating was chatting with another spectator, Meredith. She joined us at our spot. Her twin sister, Leslie, was running her first half this day also. Greg, Erin, me and Meredith talked the entire time. Looking back, it was crazy how much we actually discussed in the time it took Roman to run 8 or 9 miles. Meredith is from one of the Carolinas (I forget which now). Her sister lives in Columbus and they drove down for the race. Leslie is also leaving for a 2 year stint in the Peace Corps in Guinea, Africa – where she will have no running water or electricity. Meredith does research on Autism, but doesn't do much actual interaction. It is more data crunching from the parents' info. Her parents are divorced and her Dad has done Boston. She ran cross country in school (I don't think college) and thinks a 10K is very very far. :) She and Greg had a lot in common about running. Her mom is a pediatrician and her dad a chiropractor. Her boyfriend is in school to become an art director. She is a vegetarian. She had a book with her she is reading that we all talked about, around the subject of food and good healthy eating. She also had a box of Kleenex in her bag, which made me smile. Someone else in the world prepares themselves with Kleenex at all times. Meredith was really fun to talk to. All in between cheers of "woohoo looking good! way to go runners/walkers! keep it up!"  I was a little sad to leave!

The finish line had some bumpin' music playing, and Roman crossed the line to "California Girls".  Gag!! I was dancing to keep warm. And to entertain anyone that passed. But I think the most success I had was embarrassing Greg. :D  Overall, spectating was very very fun and inspiring! It's been the year of the half. We went to Columbus for Erin's, Roman came to Cincy for mine and Casey's, and Erin and I went to Mason for Romans... and Greg was at all of them :) He gets the award for Best Spectator. Let's call it Best 'Tator.