I had originally planned to move right into 5K training after my goal half marathon, but I decided against that. For the rest of the year, I’m going to take a break from training and focus on some other things that I’m excited about.
1. Running the Turkey Trot 5K with my greyhound. In last year’s race he ran less than a half-mile with me, and I set a goal to run the full 5K with him this year. So Django is about to start a dog bed to 5K plan! Greyhounds are sprinters and are not built for endurance, so I will be training him to run longer and longer. Last winter, we got up to running about 2 miles without stopping, and he seemed to enjoy it. The biggest challenge will be breaking him of the habit of constantly wanting to stop, sniff, and pee. But this will be something fun we can do together, and I’m really looking forward to it.
|Django and me at the Turkey Trot last year.|
2. Trail running. I love being in the woods and hiking, and running will be a new way for me to explore trails. Now’s the perfect time to do it with the woods being so pretty and before snow starts falling. There are many great parks with good trail running in and right around Pittsburgh, so I’m looking forward to exploring new running routes.
3. Strength training. I’ve said that strength training is my first love. I didn’t have much time for it when I was training, and I missed it. Now that I have more time, I want to really focus on it. I know it will help me with my weight loss–I credit strength training for helping me lose and maintain weight–and it will also give me a strong foundation for training next year.
4. Getting back to goal weight. I said that I gained some weight in the final weeks of the training plan when I wasn’t running as much, wasn’t strength training, and wasn’t tracking what I eat. I finally bought batteries for my scale, so I’ll know tomorrow at my weekly weigh-in how much I gained. I’m expecting the worst when I look at the scale. I feel like I’m at the heaviest I’ve been all year. I’m not happy I gained, but at least now I’m super motivated to get back to goal weight, unlike in the summer when I got within a few pounds and threw in the towel.
5. Slowing building mileage. I’m gong to follow the guidelines in the Hansons’ Half Marathon Method book for getting back to running. For the next two weeks, I’m going to do only a few short and easy runs a week. Then, I’ll start gradually building mileage, with the goal to be around 30-35 by the end of the year to take me into my next training cycle.
What’s Next–Next Year
My big news is that I’ve decided to run a full marathon next year! I had originally thought about running the Pittsburgh Marathon in 2016, but my bad race in the Pittsburgh Half Marathon left my confidence shaken that I could do a full and also made me realize that the spring weather was not for me. Successfully completing the Hansons’ training and having a good race in this last training cycle have given me the confidence to know that I can do the hard training I’ll need to do for a full and that I am not cursed to always have bad races. I’ll be running a fall marathon, which will be my goal race for the year. The rest of the year will basically be spent building a foundation for marathon training. I’ll be doing a separate post with other thoughts on which race I’ll be doing (there are a few I’m looking at, but I’m 99% sure I know which one I’ll do) and how I plan to train for it. I’m excited! I’ve put a lot of thought into running a full marathon–why I want to and whether I’m ready–and I feel like I’ve finally reached the point in my running where I’m ready.
To start building a foundation, I’ll start training in January for the end-of-March Just a Short Run (JASR) Half Marathon, which I did last year as a training run. I really like the rolling hills of the race course, as well as the cold but not frigid weather that time of the year. Last year I decided that I would not be running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon again because there’s too much of a chance that it will be warm, and I don’t like running in warm weather. If I change my mind, I’ll just be running it for fun. For JASR, I’m going to do a modified Hansons’ plan. I’ll be following the same basic plan I used for the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon but am going to reduce the amount of speed work since my goal will really be just to get the mileage in and not so much to try for big improvements in the half marathon.
There’s a chance that I will add in training for a shorter race, like a 5K or 10K, in spring. I’ve really been wanting to train for a shorter distance, but the timing seems to never work out. I’ll have the time in spring, but it will be getting warmer then, which isn’t ideal. So for now, I’ll leave that as a possibility.
I’ll also probably do races as training runs (likely the Spring Thaw 10 Miler in February and the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon again in October), but I’ll plan those around what best fits my training.
I’m really excited about all of these things. I’m looking forward to taking a little break for the rest of the year to focus on other things, and I’m also looking forward to tackling a new challenge next year.