My 2017 goal was to train happy, to stop putting unrealistic expectations and goals in the way of enjoying sport and exercise. You can read more about my training happy goal and why I needed to reach for it, click here.
This is a sentiment that's truly tested when you have lots of plans for the year in particular, I'm running my first half marathon on March 5th- the Cambridge Half. It seems a bit illogical to be running a 13.1 distance having already done a marathon but I fancied trying something new and a closed-road, big ticket race is as good a place as any to try it.
The problem with shiny new exciting things is the tendency to take a 'go hard or go home' attitude and to set myself up for my own perceived failure. So with 2 weeks to go, here's how it's going in the lead up to my first biggie of the year...
The Training Plan
I work best with a plan and because this is a transition from 10km to half marathon I chose a more advanced plan which focused on varied sessions and matched the number of training sessions I can realistically fit into a week and then tweaked any sessions as needed.
I've really enjoyed having a weekly speedwork session- one of my modification has been to run a different session each week with my running club instead of the generic Fartleks listed. I also allowed 14 weeks to complete this 12 week program so I had some wiggle room- holidays, weather, life, worst case scenario, injuries. They all happen. And if you're on the hunt for a training plan for a new distance, I rounded up my 5 picks from 5k to half marathon right here- click if you missed it.
Because physically, I know I can complete 13.1 miles, crossing the line is the goal, but I also knew it wasn't going to motivate me, that said, I want to enjoy the day, I want to enjoy having completed so I have set a time goal, but it's limited and set conservatively. Ultimately it's about #finishlinesbeforefinishtimes which is a sentiment I shared when I was featured on the MyProtein Women Instagram feed in January.
Listening to my body
So this is a hard one to learn. And it's why I put some extra weeks into my training. Last weekend after a long week, disturbed nights and shitty weather I did not want to run. Not just feeling a bit lacking in motivation, but full on struggling to get out of bed tired and so I didn't. I stayed home, made sure to eat properly and the result is that my final peak long run this week was my strongest yet.
Finding the JOY
I find it hard to believe that anyone enjoys every single run or ride or gym session they do. Sometimes it doesn't go to plan, sometimes you don't feel like it, and sometimes you have to do the things you enjoy the least to see progress. But if you can't see the point in things, or you find yourself dreading all of your workouts, then maybe it's time to revisit your reasons. I found the joy in new routes, planned runs with friends and dragged Tom along for some of them too. I've also planned my year (you can read more about how I plan my race calendar here- click if you missed it) around events that sound fun or I know I love. It's easy to get caught up in race fever- entering events because other people are or they sound fun at the time, but holding out for the ones I really love or want to do and fitting in not just running but some of the cycling fun and games I crave.