The New Year is only a few days away and I finally came up with a race plan for 2016. I decided to focus on half marathons with the goal of achieving a PR (1:44 is the magic number). Due to schedule and budget constraints, I usually limit the number of races averaging 5 to 7 a year.
Since 2008, I’ve signed up to train with the San Diego Track Club (SDTC) Rockin n Runnin marathon training program. This program has so many awesome perks including 2 free races (Cardiff Kook 10K and Sue Krenn 15K), but what I love most about it is the motivation it provides to push yourself to achieve your best especially during tough workouts. The year I joined this program in 2008 was the year I qualified for Boston. And as Meb mentioned below, Coach Greer is the BEST 🙂
This program’s training plan is specifically for the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon in early June, however due to the popularity of the half marathon portion of the race, it now also offers a half marathon training plan. However, with my first half marathon only 11 weeks away, I decided to write a personalized training plan based on what I learned studying for my Run-Fit Specialist certification, which I recently passed! (More about this certification on a later post). December has been the month for building a base as well as focusing on strength and YES, I am still on my strength training streak until New Year’s Day.
My training plan starts the second week of January with 25 miles/week to a maximum of 38 miles/week, with a 2 week taper. Each week will include 4 days of running: 1) Easy run Mondays 2) speedwork on Tuesdays with SDTC 3) acidosis threshold or lactate threshold runs on Thursdays after the 4th week 4) long runs on Saturdays with SDTC. As you can see, my maximum weekly mileage is only 38 miles. Will this be enough to reach my PR goal in March? My maximum mileage going into MCM was 48 and I finished in approx 3:51. The 10k results in February will determine my level of fitness and I can better assess my goal time for my first half marathon of the year. Fortunately, I still have 2 more half marathons in my schedule to reach for that magic number!
Feb: Cardiff Kook 10K (2/7)
Mar: Sue Krenn 15K (3/?), San Diego Half Marathon (3/13)
May: Mountains to Beaches Half Marathon (5/29)
Jul: Scripps Ranch 4th of July 10K (tentative)
Aug: Balboa 8miler (8/?)
Nov: USA Half Marathon (11/19)
What’s your maximum mileage training for a half marathon? Do you have plans to join a marathon/half marathon training program? How many races are you running in 2016?
With most of the holiday decorating and shopping behind me, I can now take some time to reflect on my running year. I had a solid year of running with one month off to rest and recover after the Marine Corps Marathon. I ran 5 races this year, a 1-mile, 10k, 2 half marathons, and a marathon. None were PRs but I was happy with the results as they were an improvement from the previous year. Still I will continue to chase after new PRs, a lofty goal but otherwise achievable if I put enough work towards it.
It’s my first-time doing a link-up. I enjoyed reading her post and thought this would be the perfect way to sum-up my 2015 experience.
Best race experience: It may have been the hottest, most humid race I’ve ever ran and my slowest half-marathon to date, but the Rock n Roll Chicago I ran in July was my best race experience. What made it so great? It was a “run-cation” with two of my best college friends whom I haven’t seen in several years. Never in our minds back in college almost 20 years ago that we would all run a race together. I ran with Shannon who was my maid of honor and she kept telling me I can run ahead of her but I didn’t want to leave her side. I wanted to be there for her as a cheerleader to keep her motivated. She did awesome and only stopped once to walk. At the end of the race, she told me if I didn’t run with her she probably would have stopped a lot more often. Finishing the race with her and knowing I helped her out was the most rewarding.
Best run: A morning long run along Sunset Cliffs in June. It was the 11th anniversary of when I lost my sister. Running effortless, my thoughts were filled with memories of the two of us as highschool cross-country runners, trying to compete against each other but at the same time being one another’s motivator and supporter. I ran 11 miles that Saturday, each mile I reminisced of the days we spent together crying, laughing, fighting as siblings usually do and laughing again. My heart felt heavy with sadness but the run was uplifting and made me feel at peace.
Best new piece of running gear: Lululemon Skinny flyaway tamer headband I received as a ‘running gift’ from my friend Shannon – she gave one to Jaime and I the day before the race. If you notice from the pictures above, we were all sporting one. I’ve worn headbands before but they were either too tight or slipped off my head. Shannon swore these were the best headbands she’s ever worn and I couldn’t agree more.
Best running advice you’ve received this year: The mantra on the back of the shirt we received from the San Diego Track Club’s Rockin n’ Runnin marathon training program. Believing in your dream is the first step in making it happen!
Most inspirational runner: Not officially a runner yet, but in training perhaps? My girls inspire me to commit to run and stay healthy so I can take care of them for as long as they need me. My 5 year old this year started kindergarten and one of their big fundraisers was a jog-a-thon. She and her classmates lined up every morning to run a few laps around the grassy area by the playground to train for the event. I loved seeing the determination on their faces as they ran as many laps as they could to collect popsicle sticks. Their faces proud as they tallied up the sticks and discover how many laps they accomplished. On jog-a-thon day, they were prepared and ready to go!
Favorite picture from a run or race this year: To stand in front of the Marine Corps War Memorial after an awesome race was an honor. It’s the best finisher photo ever taken!
Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: Freedom Mile in Mammoth, CA on the 4th of July. It’s a mile race running through the main street in Mammoth before their 4th of July parade. The streets were lined up with spectators in red, white and blue. Although it’s only a mile, it was a gut-wrenching experience due to the high altitude. I pushed until I couldn’t push any longer. It was very challenging but I loved the scene. Mammoth is one cool mountain town. Oh yeah, I got a selfie with the renowned Deena Kastor who was there to run with her 5 yr old daughter.
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? Making a connection. Beyond the speed workouts and long runs and the dream of achieving new PRs, this has been a year of re-connecting with old friends, building friendships with the people I run with, sharing my experiences with my family as well as deeply connecting with myself. It truly has been an exceptional year!
2) Dodging runners left and right to pass them (because I started out too fast)
Both are culprits to draining energy early in the race and by the time I reach the halfway point, my pace painfully slows down to a point when I start to question “Why, why, why did I run faster than my planned pace those first several miles!?…”
However, I did not suffer this fate at my first 10K race this year, the Super Run 10K. I had my eyes set on a PR but I was nowhere near achieving a 7:30/mi pace. I knew though it was possible to beat my time last year and even the time I ran it two years ago, so I decided on an 8:00/mi as my pace goal.
Lining up at a race is critical to maintaining a goal pace. If I lined up with the Speedsters way up front, I would be forced to try to keep up with them. On the contrary, being with the much slower-paced runners would place me behind my goal then I have to resort to weave in and out of people (another reason for mistake #2). Because most of the runners were from the San Diego Track Club, I had an idea which runners would run my pace and chose to line up behind them. It was almost near perfect as I only had to dodge a few people to get settled into my groove and my pace.
The course started at South Shores Park, east of Seaworld where it followed the path past the Seaworld parking lot, up and down two bridges towards Crown Point and back. The slight inclines on the bridges and on the way back towards Ingraham St from Crown Point were the toughest parts, but I managed to buy back some of the time lost during the downhills. Overall I felt strong throughout the entire race, except for my arms (Lesson learned: Don’t weight train two days before a race!) which were still sore from my workout.
My finish time was 48:51 – 3min faster than last year and 1:30min faster than in 2012! I wanted a negative split race but my 5K time was only about 30secs faster than the second half of the race which is probably the closest I’ve ever been with achieving a negative split race. Quite an accomplishment and I’m proud of it 🙂
Tomorrow we start week 5 of training with the Super Bowl Run 10K race on Saturday instead of our usual long run. My first race of the season of which my #1 goal is to PR (as I doubt myself after just typing it…) My PR at this race is tough to beat as I was very fit when I ran it many years ago – 7 years to be exact so I’m setting a second goal to beat my time from last year. “Dream, Believe, Achieve”, Right!?
The past four weeks of training has gone well. Besides the tightness in my right hamstring, I have no complaints. My performance seems to be improving every week and I feel strong during our weekly track sessions. So far, my training has consisted of 4 days of running with additional core work and an extra day of strength training. I have taken 1 to 2 days off for recovery but that doesn’t mean I just sit on the couch all day. After all, I do have 2 kids who keeps me on my toes most of the time. And worst, I don’t want to be part of the statistic where sedentary behavior increases the risk of early death, regardless of exercise!
Yesterday, the San Diego Track Club ventured up north to the San Dieguito River Valley trails in Escondido. It was my first time running there as I usually miss the north county runs since the drive is time-consuming (about 40min one way), but I’m happy I decided to run this one. I’m not much of a trail runner since my foot control is terrible and I usually end up tripping over myself, but the trails we ran were mostly leveled with only a few slight inclines along the way. Plus being surrounded by nature is simply energizing – I completed 7 miles but I felt as though I could have ran forever.
New Year. New Goals. New Experiences. New Milestones (from my girls who are 1 and 4). Each new year brings forth a sense of renewal and sheer determination to achieve our goals and aspirations. This year I decided to keep a training journal. It’s been 7 years since I had one – back in 2008, I wrote in a blank notebook the details of every meal, my running workouts and the amount of sleep I got daily. It helped me tremendously which I think contributed to my marathon PR. So, for Christmas I requested from my parents Lauren Fleshman’s bright red training journal called “Believe”. It’s filled with running advice excerpts, a section for goal-setting and plenty of blank spaces to log my thoughts.
And speaking of goal-setting, I finally wrote down a few items I would love to achieve for the year:
1). This is definitely my “Dare to Dream” goal as I plan to chase after new PRs in every race distance I intend to run this year.
2). Build dynamic strength – “Make muscles smarter, Make muscles stronger and Spring”. This is based off the book “Anatomy for Runners” I am currently reading and another subject for a future blog entry.
3). Pave the road towards eating clean! My worst enemy is night-time snacking when my body screams for more calories. I think it’s because this is really the only time I can eat peacefully without having to tend to my kids.
These are my 3 significant ones with regards to training, so I have plenty of work to do before this year ends. Every month, I will revisit my goals to check how I’m doing.
On a different note, yesterday was my first Saturday run with the San Diego Track Club. This is my fifth year with the training program and it always feels awesome to be part of a wonderful organization. This year’s theme is an inspiration for all of us to “DREAM, BELIEVE, AND ACHIEVE” (coincidentally jibes with my training journal, BELIEVE) which is imprinted on the back of the t-shirts each member received for being part of the training program. A great reminder for all runners to see!