Monday, July 1, 2013

Monday Morning // How to Fail at Training for the Half-Marathon

SF Half Marathon

When you’re building up for a long distance run, conventional wisdom has you build up slowly from a comfortable starting point eventually reaching your goal by adding a mile or two at a time. It’s sound advice - which I actually followed for my first half-marathon last year.

This year, since I’m a total veteran now, I decided on a slightly different course of action...

Week 1 Run 4.0 Miles
Week 2 Run 5.5 Miles
Week 3 Sit on the couch and play video games all weekend
Week 4 Run 6.5 Miles
Week 5 Run 6.5 Miles
Week 6 No Run. Travel to Chicago
Week 7 No Run. For no good reason
Week 8 Run 8.5 Miles. Hurt foot
Week 9 No Run. Hurt foot
Week 10 Run 6.0 Miles in Boston. Plan to run 10 Miles
Week 11 Travel to New York. Plan to run 10 Miles, but don’t
Week 12 No Run. Tired from travel
Week 13 No Run. No good reason
Week 14 Run the Half-marathon (13.1 Miles). Reinjure foot on Mile 12

Most of my long runs felt awful. I was dealing with injuries half the time because I was pushing too hard because I was not running every week. Worst of all, I didn’t plan around our travel and unrealistically tried to power right through them. My training was an unqualified failure.

I probably should have given up on the race. With recent injuries and my failure to build to a reasonable distance before the half-marathon quitting would not just have been okay, it would have been the prudent choice. However, post-Boston, I felt it was important to run. When it came to the actual race, in spite of myself, I felt great even well after the mid-point. Even with my foot injury flaring up near the end, the adrenaline carried me across the finish line and with Beylah cheering me on I felt pretty much invincible.

Sure. I failed my training. But, the lesson I thought I would take away from this as I lined up to start the race was not the lesson I finished with. The lesson was not train harder and run faster.

The lesson? Apparently failure is an option.

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