Pre-Commitment

I’ve had a running practice fairly consistently for a few years now. (Much more consistent than my blogging practice, in any case.) A quick glance suggests that I have logged multiple runs every month in RunKeeper since December 2010. And I’ve now run the Hokie Half Marathon each Fall for four years in a row.

But two things frustrate me, and they may or may not be related. First, I’m a little frustrated with pace. During Summer 2015, I was running 9 minute miles fairly regularly, if not consistently. I thought that I might have a shot at a 2 hour half-marathon, but then I ran into some trouble near the end of my summer training and wound up not pushing for that goal. (My official time in 2015 was 2:10:01, but the chip reader missed my start, so that might be a little off.) But for the last several months, I have been stuck at a pace a little over 10 minutes per mile. There are things that I can and will do to try to improve this, but I’m going to try to put pace on the back burner to focus on the second problem.

The second problem is that I build up to the half-marathon every summer, and then I slack off on mileage for the next several months. The result is that I have to spend my summer rebuilding my mileage. (Making it impossible to focus on other things, like pace.) My commitment: Not this year.

This year, baring injury, I want to retain my ability to run a half-marathon through the winter. For me, I’ve decided this means the following:

  • Three runs a week, mostly. Two shorter runs (3-4 miles, typical) during the work week. One longer run (see below) on the weekend. (I sometimes find a week off to be helpful in my training, so I’ll continue to do that when warranted.)
  • For weekend long runs, I will run 10 miles at least once a month, and have an additional run of at least 8 miles once a month. On other weekends, my long run will be at least 6 miles.
  • I don’t like to run in the cold, and I don’t expect that to change. So, at least the short runs and likely many of the 6 mile runs will be on the treadmill during the winter. But I will get outside when I can, trying to schedule my longer runs, especially, outside when the weather lets up. But if I have to run 10 miles on the treadmill, then so be it.

A possible consequence of this plan is something else that I’ve considered: Adding a second half marathon to my year. If I’m doing a 10 mile run every month, then I should be able to do a half-marathon at the drop of a hat, and easily be ready within a month. But it will have to be at a time and location that isn’t too disruptive to family and professional life. So, we’ll see.

Also, since I’m a little worried about the permanence of the results on the Hokie Half site, here they are, for posterity:

  • 2013: 2:05:23
  • 2014: 2:10:09 (It was cold and pouring rain. Miserable.)
  • 2015: 2:10:01
  • 2016: 2:12:31

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