Wednesday, January 17, 2018

What Happened When I Followed a Training Plan

So I mentioned that I have a goal to run a 10K this year and not just do 5ks.  I'm honestly not sure if I'll ever be super interested in running a longer race than that. I did a 20-mile race with my cousin one time when I'd only prepared for 10 of that race and it kind of did me in for. I was hurting pretty bad for at least a week. I'm sure if I actually did prepare for the 20 miles it wouldn't have been so bad. And actually, I did train for a non-official marathon a couple of summers ago when the Iron Cowboy was running but we didn't end up actually doing it. But that's in the future, so we will just see how those things play out.

So anyway, my goal is to do at least one 10k this year and I've been working on some training for it. This is the first time ever that I've actually followed a training plan so it's been really interesting for me. I've learned a lot about following a plan and about training in general.

You would think that after 20 years of doing this I would have had a better knowledge of making a training schedule. Mostly I just followed the same routine that we did in high school: moderate run, speed, recovery, hills, speed, off day. Repeated every week and not paying much attention to my actual pace or anything like that. It just didn't work that well for my body. I did ok but I didn't improve much.  I could run far but I haven't ever been super fast.

Then I got Aaptiv and I noticed that they had a 10k training. So I decided I was definitely going to give it a try. Such a difference! There's a big difference in running what you feel like, (which is really nice and relaxing and therapeutic) and running to train for a certain race.  When I'm in training mode there's I focus a lot more on my pacing and my speed work. I don't let my mind wander as much because I'm always checking myself. Am I going out too fast? Can I keep this pace up for the run?  Am I pushing myself as hard as I should be?  Is my form off? All of those kinds of things are occupying my mind a lot more than when I'm not training for anything in particular.

I had set a goal at the beginning of training to finish my 10k in 48 minutes. I picked that time because it was my current 5k time doubled. I didn't have any clue how that would actually play out. In all of my running years, I've never raced a 10k, I've never trained for a 10k, I've never even really considered a 10k until now. So in hopes of speeding up my 5k, I figured that 48 minutes would probably be an average time. Halfway through the training, I changed my goal to finish under an hour. Turns out that this was a more "average" timed goal.

When I first started the 10k program on the app, I realized how little I've actually been doing speed work.  I didn't realize before that speed work is a lot more important than I thought it was. (Guys, I've been running 2/3s of my life and I'm just now figuring this out!) But the coach had it scheduled twice, sometimes three times a week with a tempo run and an endurance run.   And I think I questioned the training at least once a week wondering if it really was going to work for my body or if this would end up burning me out.  But I reminded myself to give the training a chance and be patient and push through the hard runs and pace myself on the endurance runs and everything else that I could remind myself.

So a couple of weeks ago, I finished the training and I ran a 10k as if it were a race by myself on the treadmill (all of my training for this so far has been on the treadmill because I hate running in the cold).  I was excited to see that my time was only a minute off what I had set my first goal to be. It made a huge difference to follow a plan than for me to do it on my own. Thanks to some quality training, I've got a new starting point and working towards my original goal.

Have you ever followed a specific training plan?

What are you training for now?

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