{Monday Motivation} Keep Going

Yesterday I went on my coldest run of the season. When I stepped outside the temperature was in the 20s but with the 25-30mph winds, it felt more like the single digits. I like running in the cold but yesterday’s 12-miler tested my dedication. I had to stop a few times to catch my breathe because the air I was breathing in was just so incredibly dry. At one point, my boyfriend and I actually stopped at his office on the way back to warm up a bit before we ran the final 2 miles back. He offered to run back, get his car, and come pick me up. I was that cold. But I’m also incredibly stubborn and wanted to get in the full 12 miles, especially since our pace had been really good up until that point. So, instead of giving in to the option that would have been much easier (and warmer) I decided to continue on the run- and it was so worth it. My Garmin had died but he said we got in to the 7:XX/mile pace in the final two miles (super fast for me, easy for him) but I felt great. Once I finally warmed up inside with a hot cup of tea I realized that it really was a great run. Happy running this week!

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

P.S. I know it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged but I promise to start it up again! Anything you’d like me to write about in particular? Let me know in the comments section below or tweet to me at @byHannahMcG

Operation Get Speedy

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

Have you ever noticed, after telling someone how your race went- whether it was good or bad- the immediate follow-up question is, “So, when’s your next race/marathon?”

Maybe this is just the result of my environment – Runner’s World – and the fact that many of my close friends are also runners, but can a girl get a little bit of breathing room?

I recently read a post on our site by Coach Jenny Hadfield about the importance of resting during the off-season. Newsflash runners, we should be taking an off-season between training cycles. As I was training for Marine Corps I was beginning to feel extremely run down, tired, and almost resentful of my decision to run the marathon. I ran my first marathon in April, decided immediately after to run Marine Corps (because it seemed like everyone was doing it), and ended up feeling unmotivated and even injured for almost half of my training.

I also forgot to remind myself that I haven’t been running for that long. I’ve done all of this in less than two years and while I’m grateful and have enjoyed (almost) every mile of it, every runner has a breaking point, right?

So back to that question, “When’s your next race/marathon?” In all honesty, every runner, whether they admit to it or not, has their race schedule planned out at least six months, if not a year or more, ahead of time. I’m no different. But despite many inquiries, I’ve decided to take the spring off from marathoning and focus on the marathon’s sweet little step-cousin, the half-marathon.

At the beginning of my training for Marine Corps I started to get speedy. I’m still so new to running but I’m no novice to the fact that new runners tend to improve quickly- which was what was happening with me. My times were dropping in races and even my easy training runs were getting faster and faster. But then the high mileage of marathon training took its toll and I had to slow down a bit.

But I want that speed back and I want to get even faster, so I figure the half-marathon is a great place to start. With the slightly lower mileage demands, and increased speedwork, I should be warming up those fasttwitch muscles in no time. My plan is to start setting time goals and to stop being afraid of getting out of my pace comfort zone.

The Walt Disney World Half Marathon – January 11

Before I finished Marine Corps I knew I was going to be running Disney through work with our Runner’s World Challenge (we’re sold out now but check it out for next year, it’s awesome). My goal for Disney was to basically use it as a test of my fitness to see where I’m at going into spring and more importantly, break two hours.

Well, that plan was foiled when I actually broke two hours during the second half of MCM, setting a 13.1 PR of 1:59. I’m now going to readjust my plans for Disney to a little more aggressive goal but I’m still mulling it over with my coach. I also am not ready to go into super training mode so I want my training for Disney to be relatively doable but with speedwork and some decent long runs.

The St. Luke’s Half Marathon – April 27

St. Luke’s is going to be my goal spring race. I plan to train aggressively for this during the winter and spring and will set my time goal based on my results at Disney.

The Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon – June 6

Of course I’m going to run our own inaugural RW Heartbreak Hill Half in Newton, Massachusetts! This one will probably be more for fun but will serve as good training for fall race season. The course is challenging but I can’t pass up a chance to run on the fabled Heartbreak Hill

So far, that’s all I’ve got. There might be another half thrown in there but I hope to add in some 10Ks and 5Ks to work on my speed and just get out and run. Then, if everything goes as planned, I’ll be in pretty good fitness for a fall marathon – which one I’ll run is still to be determined!

How far out do you plan your race schedule? Any other races I should consider?