Breaking A Slump With A Running Schedule, Of All Things.
For months, I had a clear goal in mind for what I wanted to do with running: I was training for a half marathon. It was pretty cut and dry in terms of preparation and training since you can find countless resources online to help build a training schedule and get ready for such a race. After being on a pretty tight training regime for a while, I felt like taking a few weeks to run as I felt like once I completed my goal in the race.
In July, I have The Bear run coming up so I knew that I needed to begin training for that before the end of May. I've mentioned in this blog before that I've run that 5 mile uphill race a few times before and that my goals are increasingly ambitious for this year. The problem with that is that there aren't exactly multitudes multitudes of resources to help train for such a race. Coupling the lack of a clear goal and the difficulty of articulating a training plan together, I hit a rough patch in my training.
For one, not having set runs for set days led me to losing motivation to run as much, which was okay shortly after the half marathon because I figured my body could use a break, but as April closed out and May started marching on, it became more of an issue. I wasn't varying the lengths of my runs and not having a set pace or anything in mind, I was losing intensity.
A week or so ago, I bought a big desk calendar and wrote out a training schedule.
It's hard to say if this will be an effective plan since it's incredibly difficult to properly prepare for the inclines and the atmospheric conditions of a mountain race when I don't live in a mountainous area, but I'm focusing on strengthening my legs with a lot of lunges and squats as well as building up to a 10 mile run at my target pace of 8:00-8:30/mile. Incidentally, that will put me on track to start working towards getting my half marathon time down around 1:45.
I've been using my new schedule several runs now and already, I can feel a difference. Knowing what I need to do days in advance and having a time goal in mind helps me immensely in staying motivated and keeping my intensity up. Probably the toughest, but hopefully one of the most effective changes, that I worked into the schedule is to shift my hard runs to Thursdays since that will be race day. The focal point of getting into roughly the top 10% of men running The Bear is also a driving factor, because - as I mentioned in the linked post above - I want one of those damn mugs.