Running: What I Love About Training

Training is a key piece to running a race, to compete in a duathlon or hitting the trio of a triathlon. It’s can be over looked, critical or it can become a normal part of your daily routine. Some people have a love-hate relationship with training or some don’t train at all. To each his/her own but for me, training is a critical part of running at race.

In case you missed last week’s post in the series, check out “What I Love About….Volunteering”.

What I Love About….Training

Running What I loved About

The Plan

For me the most important part of training is having a plan. There is no way I would run a race without training for it in one way or another. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gone out and run a 5k race without specific training and it wasn’t pretty. However, for those 5k races that I did have a training plan for, I did better and felt better afterwards.

So for me, it’s critical to have a good training plan, one that suits your needs not someone else’s. I’m a big fan of Hal Higdon’s training plans though I did use a different 10k training plan in 2014 that a co-worker (Iron Woman) gave me and I loved.

PR training plan 2015

I love printing the plan, marking the weekly dates on it and yes…crossing each day and week off my plan. There is some satisfaction after each “check mark”, after each week passes by until you are at the end of your plan with only your race day to go. Training plans are meant to be followed to a T or tweaked to meet your needs. I try to stick to my training plan as much as possible but know there are days when I need to switch things around or try something different.

Lessons learned: Put your training plan in a place that you will see it every day. For me, it was the fridge – at eye sight.

Variety.

There are so many training plans out there that can suit your needs. Maybe you can only run 3 days a week or maybe you want to run 150 km a week (oh my goodness!) – there is a plan out there for you.

I loved the variety I had in my training plans. This past year I went for Hal’s Novice 2 half marathon plan vs his Intermediate plan I used the year before and I LOVED IT!. I loved having two rest days on Monday and Friday. I loved having my long runs on Saturday and I loved having a cross training day on Sunday.

There was no speed work, tempo runs or 400/800’s etc. However, I did managed to add those in once I got comfortable with running again. You see, those first few weeks for me was extremely hard running. Oh, I struggled with my 5k runs for a while but my body was just starting to recover from my hamstring injury.

Lesson learned: Make sure you have a good variety of workouts in your training. Don’t be afraid to change-up your workouts to add in more or less.

Weekly Updates.

Yes, I loved writing about my weekly runs here. Being a “running blogger” you tend to write a lot about your training or at least I sure did.

For me it was a way to look back and reflect; sometimes laugh or cry about the workouts I did or didn’t do. It gave me time to see where I was improving, where I was weak and always kept me focused on the final goal of completely my race. The biggest lesson for me as a blogger would be that I would become extremely motivated by other people’s comments. Encouragement, insight and new ways of doing something. It made me feel like I had access to a larger runner community because in reality people around the world would leave a comment.

Lesson Learned: Share your weekly training on whatever platform you use. It keeps you accountable and even better, it can motivate you to keep moving forward.

Training Log

I have the most old-fashioned log book – at least that’s how I feel. It’s not fancy, it’s not even a running book but a journal that I bought at Costco years ago for “something”. When I started running more in 2014 I wanted to log everything so I could keep track. I’m now on my way to having two year’s worth of running/workouts in my log book.

PR Running Log Book

It’s awesome to look back and see how many kilometres I’ve run each month, each year. It’s a little hard to look back at some months and see low…LOW…numbers and remember how much I was struggling physically with my hamstring. It’s been great to see what “cross-training” I’ve done and how that’s changed my running.

Lesson learned: You don’t always have to have an app for that! A simple log book can do the trick.

The Long Run:

Last but not least, “The Long Run” is by far my favourite part of training. I might even be able to write a blog post on this alone. The long run has many names: long slow distance {LSD} run, the dreaded run, the group run, the long haul or distance run. I’m sure I’m missing a few but you get the idea. It’s your once a week, long distance run at a slower pace than your tempo run or fartlek’s.

For me long runs where about getting focused. Setting out my gear the night before, jumping out of bed at 5 am with excitement {this skill was lacking during the work week} and eating the same “long run breakfast” week after week. Sometimes meeting up with my running buddy or a group of runners to pound the pavement or trails together. Sometimes it was about braving the darkness of the streets as the sun rose up on your own.

IMG_20150806_070504_edit

Each long run is different from the last and I’m not just talking about the change in distance. Each week, you laced up and had no sweet clue what was really ahead of you. Would you run the same route, would you have to deal with a new blister or pain, would you end up running further than expected or would you want to call it quits because the heat of the rising temperature was just too much to handle?

The long run for me was a time to just “be”. It was a time to think about everything and nothing all at once. It was a time to talk to my running buddy about life. It was a time to appreciate those around you that support your journey, your goals and your accomplishments.

Yoga/Stretching post long run :)

The best part of my long run wasn’t always accomplishing the new distance but coming home to my family. The yells’ of “Mommy’s home” to “ewww, your sweaty Mom” to “you should go shower”…I’ll leave you to who said that one! Or the post run stretching sessions that the girls would end up doing and then it would turn into yoga on their own. And those days when you get back to your “second breakfast” … you know the one you didn’t think about but was made as you entered the doors to your house.

Lesson learned: Your long runs are key to your training – don’t skip them.

Worst Part of Training:

Being injured. Getting injured or having set back. The week before your BIG race and you injury yourself without knowing you did so can make all those weeks come crashing down around you. The “why me questions”, the “what did I do wrong” along with the frustration and disappointment. Injuries happen. They suck but life goes on.

I truly love training for races. It’s like a Christmas countdown where you give yourself the gift of an active lifestyle and then BAM celebrate all your hard work over whatever distance you are racing. You receive a medal for your race but really it’s also about those multiple weeks of training you put in. You eat “all the food” because you are so rungry you can’t even explain what rungry is at that point.

PR VHM Finish photo

You’ve trained, you completed your race, you’ve earned it!

Now…what’s next?!?!?!?

What’s your favourite part of training?

Do you love or hate long runs?

What’s your favourite training plan or go-to book/website? 

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Running: What I Love About Training

  1. I love and hate long runs. Love because I love doing them with my friends and because they feel so good when they are done, hate because they are hard 🙂 I also love having a plan, too. I’ve always gravitated towards Pfitzinger, but I am going to try Hansons this time around. I’ll let you know when it’s all over what I prefer!

  2. I love this! And I really like that you compared race day to Christmas day – that’s exactly how excited I get about them too! I love training which is probably why I’ve been in half marathon training mode for like a year now. Which is also why I’m injured! I’m taking some time off but looking forward to getting stronger and doing some more training next year!

  3. Pingback: What I Love about the Running Community | Piper's Run

  4. Pingback: Running: What I Love About My Treadmill | Piper's Run

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s