Monday, December 7, 2009

Seriously? You Like Running?

It's amazing to me, how much of a difference the last five weeks, since I am working with Coach Katie, made in my running. No, I don't run an 8 min/mile yet... Actually not even close. But I seem to be getting faster and also, my heart rate is getting more under control as I am getting a little faster at a time. But also, my mindset towards running seems to change more and more.

When I started running last year, I didn't like it. I did it, because it was challenging my body in new ways, in a time where my weight loss slowed down. With my decision to start in a triathlon in 2009, I basically committed to stick it out since running is part of the triathlon deal. Before the triathlon was even over, I already committed to do the relay race which gave me another reason to stick it out. And somewhere between back then and now, I started to like running and I started to miss it, if I wasn't out there in a couple of days. I enjoyed to be outside and to look around while running and the solitude when I was out there on my own and the camaraderie when I ran in a group. But all I ever did was running without any focus. My whole approach to running was to log miles and a couple of weeks ago I realized that that isn't going to make me a better or faster runner.

Since I am on the coach's plan every run has a purpose, a focus, a goal and I LOVE IT. Seriously! Not only do I like running, I look forward to most of my runs. I know that I like structure, but that I would embrace the run workouts like I do, even surprised me. Even the treadmill isn't as dreadful anymore when the run is structured.

Five weeks ago, I did the first 10-miler in my life and it was a good run. I kind of did the whole thing completely unplanned. I didn't have water or food with me, just stopped by the house to drop the dog off around mile 4 and had a sip then and went out to complete the 10 miles. I was pretty spent afterwards... Thirsty and even more hungry.

Yesterday, I had my first 10-miler on my training plan. The outlook for that wasn't even very daunting, since I had several 7-milers in the last couple of weeks and got more and more secure in doing longer distances. My task was to do the second half faster than the first half of the run and also to start practising proper nutrition during the run. I am fine with drinking during a run, but I don't like eating on them very much. The recommendation was to take a gel every 30 minutes and I didn't comply. I had one piece of shot blok (ca. 33 calories) every 30 minutes which is way less calories than a gel (ca. 100 calories) would be, but I thought I start out easy since my stomach is not very cooperative when it comes to taking in calories while running. It worked out pretty good and I will try to increase my intake over the next long runs. The pacing worked well, too. I did the first half with around a 10:30 min/ mile pace and the second half with around a 10:05 min/ mile pace. I might have been a little conservative in the first half or/and a little too fast in the second half, but it sure was a negative split. Even more than the pacing and nutrition, I just enjoyed my run.... I felt good physically and mentally throughout the run. A good half marathon seems to get more and more doable.

People are already asking me, what my goal time is and I don't have an answer for this yet. The next couple of weeks are going to determine that and I will share then! ;-)

10 weeks until Myrtle Beach Half Marathon
10 days until departure for Germany

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