Running a half marathon is all about planning and training. Namely, picking a training plan, and then planning to ensure you stick with it. Choosing too difficult a plan can be demotivating, and exhausting at best, and cause injury at worst. It’s important to build on your previous running experience and to increase mileage slowly, letting your body grow accustomed to the greater distances, and if you’re pushing the boat out, the faster speeds you require of it.
“New?”, you might ask? And you do right to do so – I should be in week three of whatever plan I chose, in order to be ready for the Berlin Half Marathon on April 1st. But I’ve decided to make this change early on, rather than suffer the consequences (and feel like a failure) for not being able to maintain the more-than-challenging plan I initially chose. Overestimating my abilities isn’t something I do often, but an 8 mile run in your second week of training isn’t to be taken lightly when you’ve only run more than 8 miles a handful of times!
I chose that plan, not because I obnoxiously thought I was capable, but because I wanted to choose a Nike training plan that could be automatically integrated with my iCal and Blackberry calendar, and I thought the ‘beginnerest’ Nike plan was too simple. I wanted a plan with distances rather than time, and something to push me to improve on my Run To The Beat time of 02:37 (including a toilet break. Yes, I have to mention that. It makes me feel better). But the three plans Nike offers on its Run To The Beat training plans start at very very basic, and move to quite advanced in one big jump. So where did I find this plan?
Big hint: If you switch your location on Nike+ to US, instead of the one measly option of half marathon training plans, you now have three! (I found this discovery pretty amazing, and highly discriminatory)
Now that I have a stable, simple yet challenging plan, that even tells me when to cross train and what types of exercises to do to strengthen my essential running muscles, I feel a lot better about my chances of smashing my sub 02:15 dreams in Berlin.
Are you running any races? Got any tips for me?