Sunday, November 24, 2013

They say that breaking up is hard to do

I love Hal Higdon. He's been the most important man in my life since 2010, yet I've slowly been coming to the horrible realization that this relationship isn't really working for me anymore. We've reached the point that we have different goals and expectations and need to take some time away from each other.

Hal's expectation is that I'll be ready to finish each race, that I will have trained safely and injury free, so I can experience the thrill of finishing a full marathon.

That was good for me the first couple years, but I'm ready to progress a little. I'm slow slow slow and while it was a perfectly ok goal just to finish the first few races, eventually I want to consistently be out of the 5-hour range.

Disney is at a weird time of year because it's too late to be part of my fall race schedule, but too early to be considered a spring race. I decided months ago, after reading tons of accounts of it that I'm not going to run it for time, I'm going there to have fun. If a ride is open during the marathon, I'll ride it. I'll be the dork lined up to take photos with the characters. I'm not buying park tickets (park admission is NOT included in the race fee) so I need to enjoy the park for the few hours I'm in it. As long as I finish within 6:30 from the time of the last starter, I'm good to go. I submitted a finishing time, so I won't be in the last corral, so that gives me 6:46-ish or more to finish. I managed to finish my first full in less time than that, even with walking 9 miles straight, so I'm not worried about getting swept off the course.

Hal always says to take considerable rest time after marathons, but I've always scoffed at his advice. That's for newbies, right? Maybe not. I was burnt out after Cincinnati and didn't feel ready to begin fall training when it came time. After Columbia City, however, I've taken two weeks off, with the exception of the Chocolate 10k. 6 miles in two weeks counts as good rest :)

Tuesday is back to running day. My plan for Tuesday through Disney is the following:
Tuesday - set treadmill at 8:00 mile pace and run until I fall off. I might only make it 0.3 miles the first time, but then I try for 0.4 the next week. Yes, I'll have a spreadsheet with me at the gym to keep track :)

Thursday - go to the track and run 800m repeats at a harder-than-comfortable pace.

Saturday - Hal says it's perfectly acceptable to walk. He says a good strategy is to run 9 minutes then walk 1. I've always used this strategy, but like our relationship, that strategy is coming to an end. Saturdays are now run a comfortable pace as long as I can without walking. Then go further the next week.

I've already paid for Disney, booked my hotel and paid for the flight, so I'm doing it, but at this point, Cincinnati is the only spring race I've entered. If I can't get faster and maintain it, I need to stop running myself into the ground. The fall was not fun (except Chicago - that was a blast!) and after every single race I said I'm quitting running. It's still possible, or maybe I become a 5k or 10k runner for a few years until I figure out the speed thing. At this point, I'll trade distance for speed. Obviously I CAN finish multiple marathons, but that's not good enough anymore.


  1. I broke up with Hal too. I used his beginner and intermediate plans and always got burned out. I didn't break 2 hrs in the half until I used Run Less, Run Faster (and have done it lots of times since, plus had a great sub-4 experience for a full). I think you just have to find what works best for you. Running lots of miles didn't work for me. My body is happier to run hard 3 days a week and cross train. Good luck with your breakup and finding a new relationship that works. :)

    1. Thanks for the program suggestion. I'll definitely look it up! Hal has been great, but his lower programs are more designed for beginners, and the higher ones are six days of running a week, which is more than I want!