4 Weeks Complete: A Half-Marathon Training Update

I have been negligent in providing updates on my training. Part of the reason is I have been a little busier than usual with my day job and part of it is because I am not satisfied with the appearance of my little site here and have been spending some time trying to learn how and where to make improvements. Hopefully I will start implementing those soon, but since that could be awhile it is time for an update of my first four weeks of training.

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”

A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

The above quote works for both my moderate frustration with my running pace and my dissatisfaction with my website appearance. I will get there though on both accounts and there are actually a few things with my running that I am quite pleased with. For one thing, I have always been a fair-weather runner. Staying committed to this running club and the ultimate goal of a sub 1:51 half-marathon has had me running on dark cold nights and on rainy days. Thankfully no dark, cold, rainy nights yet. Though that is forecast for this Tuesday.

Here is a brief rundown of my training to date. The running club I joined at Fleet Fresno held our kickoff / informational meeting on Tuesday, January 15th. The weekly schedule that is strongly encouraged for those of us training for the April 7th half-marathon is to meet Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings for community runs/training. There is also an optional meeting on Thursday or you can run on your own. I have chosen to run with the group on Tuesdays and Saturdays and on my own on Thursdays. As per the training plan I do cross-training on Mondays and Wednesdays and I take Fridays and Sundays as rest days.

Here is what my running days have looked like:

I am pretty happy with the fact that I have been pain free thus far and I have fairly consistently added distance. I would like to get that mile time a little faster but, that was actually after an hour and a half of core work and playing relay games and a fair amount of warm-up jogging with the team. I would also like to get under 9 minutes consistently so I am happy with that 4.6 miles at 8:24 pace.

My cross training days have included some rowing on my Concept 2 rowing machine, stretching, core work, weight lifting, and some body-weight work.

Here is a typical day:

I think kettle bell swings and abMat sit-ups are great cross training for running. I also like to alternate sit-ups with dead lifts, though I focus on more reps and less weight for the DLs. As a side note, I am trying to get to where I can crank out a few pull-ups. Right now, on a good day, I can get one strict pull-up in. Pull-ups are hard for a tall, over-weight guy, (6’4″ 246ish) and I am trying to work on the over-weight part.

What I have learned in 4 weeks:

  1. Running only 3 days a week may not allow me to add mileage and increase speed as quickly as I would like.
  2. BUT…running only 3 days a week is good for injury prevention.
  3. Running in the dark or in the rain builds character and sure makes you appreciate a beautiful California day for a run.
  4. Being a part of a running community is good for accountability and generally makes training more fun.

What is my focus / goals over the next 4 weeks:

  1. Add 1 mile/week to long runs and get closer to 9:00 pace on long runs and 8:30 on shorter runs.
  2. To add speed and remain injury free focus on these 3 areas:
    1. More Core Strength Work
    2. More Stretching and Mobility Work
    3. Limit Sugars and Loose 5 Pounds

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