In my last post mentioned that I was planning to train for the Kentucky Derby Festival mini-Marathon being held April 28. I decided to share periodic updates on my training in order to discuss the ups and downs I experience along the way. I hope other runners will find this beneficial, and I encourage you to ask questions and make suggestions either by commenting or through the contact form at the bottom of the page.
Since I used to be an avid runner and I have continued to be a casual runner over the past few years, I decided to be bold and train along the “advanced” training calendar provided here. I am now about two weeks into the training and things seem to be going well so far. I have not had any injury setbacks yet. For me, the most difficult part has been finding the time and energy to run six days a week. Sometimes after a long day at work the last thing I feel like doing is hitting the treadmill, but I have only missed one day thus far which I consider a triumph. This is the part where it helps to enlist support for one’s training efforts – there have been a couple of days when my wife has (gently) asked me when I planned to get off the couch and get on the treadmill.
I used to hate running on a treadmill because I found it dreadfully boring. Now that I have one in my basement in front of a television and a full DVR, I don’t mind it nearly as much, especially when I compare it to running in freezing temperatures outside. Cold-weather running appeals to me less and less as I get older. The cold air makes my lungs hurt. Luckily, Louisville has had some unseasonably warm winter days and I have taken advantage of those to run outside when I can. One of my biggest challenges when running on the treadmill is keeping myself from constantly watching the display to see how much longer I have to go. Those miles seem to tick off very slowly when I stare at that little red digital readout. I find watching television, especially a basketball or football game, seems to help distract me during the early parts of my runs. But toward the end, when fatigue sets in, I seem to glance down every 30-60 seconds. I think I may try to cover up the display next week to see if it helps. Otherwise I’ll hope for more 50 degree days.
The training calendar so far has consisted of mostly 3-mile runs with a long run on Saturday and interval runs on Monday. The 3-milers have not been a problem, but the 7-mile run was tough for me. I haven’t run that distance in at least 3 years, and I definitely had my doubts as to whether I could finish during the run. I’m proud to say I made it. The interval runs are also difficult because I rarely play any sports now that require full speed running, so I have had some muscle soreness afterwards.
I feel like the most difficult part is behind me now that I have established a running routine. I am also eating better since beginning training, and I hope that as I start to drop a few pounds the runs will continue to get easier. I admit that I am frustrated that my pace is not what it used to be, but I am being cautious not to increase my pace too fast as I also increase distance because that is a set-up for overuse injuries. I see that scenario so often in my office now that I have developed much more patience in my training.
How is your training going? I would love to hear from others who are also training for the mini-Marathon or other upcoming races.