10K Challenge

I’m someone who needs a training plan. I feel lost if I’m just running random distances with no goal in mind. I need a race to work towards to help myself stay motivated, and I need a training plan to help me get there.

After “the half marathon that wasn’t,” I had five weeks until my next race, a 10K. This will be only my second 10K of 2012, as I’ve been training for and running half marathons for the majority of the year. I started looking at plans on Hal Higdon’s website as I’ve used his plans in the past and liked them. I actually prefer Bart Yasso’s training plans, but my Dad borrowed My Life On The Run (plans are all in the back of the book!) and hasn’t given it back yet – grrrrrr!

I first looked at the Higdon Intermediate 10K training plan. After following half marathon training plans all year it just seemed… well… easy. Too easy. I really want a PB in this race, so I clicked the link for the Advanced 10K. This plan made me nervous. I followed the Higdon Advanced 5K plan last summer when I desperately wanted to come in under 25 minutes in my last 5K race of the season. It was too much for me, and by the last weeks before my race I was dreading my runs. I felt I’d already gone for that long, and it would be silly to quit with just two weeks to go, so I forced myself to finish the plan and run the race. When race day came I went out too fast and ended up finishing in 25:40, far behind my goal of 24:59, and a ways behind my PB of 25:24. I was mad at myself, but relieved that it was over. This was not how I wanted to feel about running, so I ran just once a week for the next month, finished a fun 10K night trail race, then took six weeks completely off of running before I actually felt the desire to run again.

I DON’T want this to happen again! I printed off the Advanced 10K plan, but made my own rules. I’m allowed to switch run days around to suit my other life commitments. On days that say “3 mile run or rest,” I will rest. I also gave myself permission to skip one additional run per week. This plan calls for five to six runs a week, and I often find that’s just too much for me. I usually feel guilty if I miss a run on my plan, but this time I just accepted it right from the beginning. If I skip a run, however, I skip an easy run. I don’t skip speed work, and I don’t skip my long runs.

Hal Higdon supports the idea of ramping up your mileage for a week or two, then stepping back for a week to recover. I like that, and I know that when I have a week of really tough runs, I’ll get an easy week next week as a reward. This week has been an easy week, next week (week 7) is very challenging. It will be made even more challenging by the sheer amount of life commitments I have next week. My kids start preschool, I’m parent helper one of those days, they start swimming lessons, and we have three full days of commitments in the city. My husband is busy with the harvest, so that means I have to make supper for a crew of hungry men and take it out to the field every evening. Oh, and I promised my daughter I’d take her and her horse to our town’s last gymkhana of the summer on Sunday. I keep looking at my jam-packed calendar, then looking at my training plan, trying to figure out how this is going to work. Honestly, I don’t know if it will! I have a long run, a tempo run, a speed work session of 12x400m repeats, a pace run, and one easy run. The total mileage for that week will be just as high as it was when I was training for half marathons. Yikes!

The carrot at the end of the stick is that the following week is taper week, then the race. I feel confident that I can set a new PB in this race, and am really looking forward to it. I don’t feel over-trained like I did at this time last year, and my legs feel strong when I run after a summer of half marathons. I will also be running this race with my friend Morgan, and it will be her first 10K. Her excited texts have helped me stay motivated, and I look forward to toeing a start line with her again!

How is your fall training going? Any big races on the horizon?

Gotta run! (And run, and run, and run…)

Follow me on Twitter – @RunMommyRun3

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