Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Post Race Training Reflection

First off, it can't believe the race is already over! JP and I started training back in July and what a training season it has been! This has {by far} been the best and most disciplined I've been during training. I must say it feels good! I meant to post this on Friday as a pre-race training reflection, but I am now editing what I started last week and sending you my thoughts today.

I went on my final training run Thursday around 5pm. It was a cool 58 degrees with sunshine and blue skies for miles which was amazing considering it had been raining all day! I was actually headed to the gym to run until I realized that the weather took such a drastic turn...for the best! I decided to go for a "naked" run in order to reflect on the past few months of training. By "naked" I mean, no Garmin watch, no iPod, just me, my shoes and the trail {and of course my clothes!}. Running without being so focused on pace or music blaring in your ears really allows you reach those deeper thoughts circling around your head. I thought about the past few months of training and how much I have grown as a runner! Here are a few things that I learned:
  1. It's great to have a set training plan. Your plan keeps you on track so you know what you need to do each day. I printed out calendars for JP and I to hang in our kitchen. Highlighting each workout gives you a true sense of accomplishment. We also wrote down our times for the mileage runs and distance for the timed runs to see how our pace improved week to week!
  2. You don't have to follow the plan exactly. Sometimes your body needs a break. Sometimes your sick or sleepy or injured or just plain exhausted from the work week. Listen to what your body is telling you and take a break if you need to. You can always eliminate a work out or move it to another day.
  3. Training buddies are great! This is the first time I had someone to actually train with! I loved having JP by my side the whole way. Having someone else makes you more accountable for your workouts. For the competitive type {both JP and I are super competitive if no one has noticed}, this gives you a reason to try harder each time to "show off" if you will.
  4. Just because you ran, doesn't mean you can eat your entire pantry. Being a runner = being hungry. It's that simple. You're metabolism is revved up which makes you hungry. If you are a morning runner like me, that means your metabolism is going even earlier! It's easy to gain weight as a runner because you think you "deserve" that larger portion or extra treat since you worked out. This is not the case. You still need to be reasonable and stick to a healthy diet that can sustain a runners busy lifestyle.
  5. Training up north really does make you a better runner. Okay well maybe that's not exactly the case, but it feels like it. Escaping the Texas heat this summer was AMAZING! Especially since it turned out to be quite the doozie. I have found that the lower humidity levels and lower temps have improved my pace. I think the hills are another big contributor! Those will will knock the wind out of you, but the benefits on your performance outweigh the negatives.
  6. I improved my pace immensely! Previously my pace was roughly around 8:50 min/mile and now I'm at a solid 8:25 min/mile. {This obviously showed during the actual race!}
  7. I enjoy running more than I did before. It has become more of a stress reliever and a time for me to focus on me. I also feel so strong and accomplished after a run. There are few feelings greater than this.
  8. I can't wait to continue training for San Antonio!
That's about all I can think of right now. This has been the best training for me and I will continue to follow this plan for my other half marathons. I love the sense of accomplishment I feel as each day progresses. It makes me feel healthier, more fit and as happy as can be! Let me know if you want to see what my training schedule looks like, I'm more than happy to share!
Does anyone have a specific training plan they follow? Do you like running alone or with a running buddy?

Until next time...
With love and God bless,
Amy

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