This has been a great year for my running. I started off the year by dropping 25 pounds. I started training hard and ended up getting a Half Marathon PR (1:49:45 – 8:22 pace) at the Davis Stampede in February. I was using the Hal Hidgon Advanced Half Marathon Plan and I felt that it really prepared me for the race.
I ran across a fellow blogger, Jackie at Fit Sparrow. Jackie is a certified running coach and is extremely knowledgeable. She recommended that I try the Run Less Run Faster Plan and said that everyone she has had do the Run Less plan has PR’d their race. I had complete faith in her and decided to jump right in.
I purchased the book off of Amazon for about $10 and quickly drew up my plan. You use a recent 5k, 10k, or half time (or a goal time that you want to achieve) to determine what paces your training will be at. I decided to train to do a half marathon at an 8:00 min/mile pace, which was my ultimate goal for the year. To be completely honest, I really thought it wasn’t attainable.
The Run Less Run Faster plan calls for 3 days of running and two days of cross training per week. The runs are based on a specific pace and you need to hit those times. There are no real easy runs, but they are all manageable. The weekly runs consist of a speed run (intervals), tempo run, and a long run (20-30 seconds slower than your goal half marathon pace, depending on the week). I was able to hit my target paces on almost all of my runs and exceeded them on most days. I would suggest that you have a decent base (amount of weekly running miles) before you start this plan though.
My cross training mostly consisted of cycling 16-18 miles, twice a week. The rides weren’t necessarily easy, but I felt like I could push hard and the low-impact of cycling let my legs rest a little between runs. If the weather wasn’t cooperating, I would hit the spin bike at the gym.
I was really pushing my limits at the Davis Stampede, just to get maintain an average pace of 8:22 min/mile. It was a really good pace and I didn’t know how I would surpass it. Two weeks ago, I ran 13.1 miles as a training run. I wanted to see what I could do, so I gave it everything I had. I finished the run in 1:45:00 (8:00 min mile) but had to make an emergency pit stop. My actual moving time was 1:43:03 (7:52 min/mile). I had already exceeded my goal for the year.
I trained as if the Capital City Classic 10 mile race was a half marathon. My goal was to run a 7:45 average pace. Two of my training partners were racing too and I felt ready for the race. The weather was great. It was about 58 degrees at the start with almost no wind. The race was fairly flat, with the exception of a few hills to get up and down the levees. It crosses the beautiful Tower Bridge in Sacramento twice and was really cool because as you are starting the race and cross the bridge, you see the Capitol building ahead of you.
My legs felt like I was pushing hard for most of the race. My average hart rate was 163 bpm (88% of my max HR) and my highest heart rate was 175 (95% of my max HR). I was above my lactate threshold for most of the race and I definitely feel it today. I was able to maintain a fairly consistent pace, a little slower than my goal pace. I made it up in the last mile to finish in 1:17:25 (7:44 pace). I finished 23rd overall and 3rd in my age group. It is the first time I have placed and while there were only 220 finishers, I feel really good about how far I have come.
I have never really been good at any sport. I would classify myself at mediocre at best. I started running a little over 3 years ago and couldn’t run more than half a mile before stopping. My pace was over 13 minutes when I was running. I ran my first half marathon on April 26, 2014 (the American River Parkway Half Marathon) with an average pace of 9:12 minutes/mile. Through hard training and surrounding myself with people who are stronger runners than I am, I have exceeded all of my wildest expectations.
Never let anybody tell you that you cannot achieve your goals. I always try to get people to come run with me and they always tell me that they are too slow. They say that they can’t do a race because they can’t run that far. I couldn’t do it either. Sign up for a race that is about 4 months out. Find a solid training plan and stick with it. The Hal Hidgon plans are free and easy to follow. If you have any questions or would like suggestions, please feel free to ask me. I was once told that you can’t keep what you have unless you give it away. That philosophy rings true with running too and I would love to help out as many people as I can. Together we can breakthrough our perceived barriers. Have a great day and a great run!