“Winning starts with beginning”
–Robert H. Schuller
Day 1: Rest/XT
December 24th marked the start of my 16-week marathon training. Christmas Eve. Yikes! Didn’t really matter as the plan starts with Monday as a rest/cross training day but this does mean I had to exercise some restraint at dinner (we were invited to join a friend’s Christmas Eve Pizza dinner). I didn’t want to feel bloated and awful on my run the next day. The good thing is I only had to do an easy 5k the next day. All I did that day was rest, and baked a humongous Mango Cheesecake.
Day 2: Easy 5k / 00:34, 6:44 pace
I swear my body was feeling it. I didn’t go out too fast; on the contrary, I tried starting as slow as I could. My heart rate instantly shot through the roof (amazing what a week of NO RUNNING does to you) and the fleshy (should I say fatty?) parts of my back were literally ‘flapping’. Did that put visuals in your head? This teaches me to 1) stop licking batter when making cakes and cookies, 2) stop taking seconds during dessert, unless you have just run 20 km or so and 3) stop baking cakes and cookies (now that the festive season has come to an end).
Day 3: Hills 8k – NA
I skipped this one. For some reason. I can’t remember, but my excuse must have been along the line of “oh-I-woke-up-late-let’s-run-in-the-afternoon” one and come afternoon I probably came up with my typical “it’s-too-warm-I-don’t-want-to-get-a-heatstroke-oh-it’s-dinnertime-already” excuse.
Day 4: Rest – but did my 8k hills instead, 01:05, 8:13 pace
Ok, I’ll come clean. The hills were TOUGH. I had to pause for an extended period for more than a couple of times. I think my problem mainly lied in my impatience. Instead of focusing on putting in an even effort, I find myself pacing up because I can’t wait to get to the top, then the moment I realize that I have still a long way to go, that’s when everything unravels: My breath goes out of control, my heart rate shoots through the roof and I am forced to stop to ‘gather myself’ so to speak. I should have just give in to the pain, I should stop longing the flatness and learn to love the incline.
Luckily, the view was beautiful, which made the run truly rewarding. I couldn’t resist taking a couple of pics:
Day 5: Easy 8k – but had a brainfart and did Easy 5k instead, 00:33, 06:34 pace
I really did have a brainfart. I could swear I thought I saw 5k on my plan! It was a good run, though, the morning was chilly enough to allow me to pick up some speed (I know, some will laugh at this statement) and my biggest achievement on this run was probably the fact that I did not stop once except for one traffic light crossing.
Day 6: Easy 5k – but did Easy 8.02km instead, 00:59, 07:23 pace
My run was abysmally slow, thanks to the heat. I was only running loops in the neighbourhood, but had spent most of the time trying to get into the shade. The run turned into a quasi obstacle course as I tried hard not to stumble on roots. The amazing part about this run is the discovery that I didn’t have run too far from the house to log 8km (and it only took me two laps of the same loop!).
Day 7: LSD (Long Slow Distance) 14km – but was too buggered so took a day off
I made the same mistake, AGAIN. I slept late, and having run for three days in a row (after a week of nothing), my body was feeling it. I woke up lethargic. I scrambled to the end of my bed, discovering that I had forgotten to lay out my running clothes for the day. My little girl woke up unsettled, and after shushing her back to sleep, my legs walked me back to bed and I went for another sleep. Of course, once the day started, there was no time for an extended 1.5 hours of run, typical, isn’t it?
Day 8: Rest – but did LSD 14k instead, 01:39, 07:05 pace
This time I was prepared. I hit the sack early. I had everything ready – changed the battery on my Polar RCX5, charged my GPS unit, laid out my running clothes. I was resolved to make this run my #lastrunof2012. And to make it a good long run. I decided that day to run with music, which proved to be a good choice. It was one of the most enjoyable long runs in a long time. My legs felt strong and I was able to keep a decent pace. However, it was a cruisey run. I took in the beautiful scenery and the weather was just perfect. What a way to close the year.
I even stopped to take some pics (it’s the Asian in me!).
Overall, I thought I had a good start to the training. It’s a slow start, but at least it was steady. I can use my time and pace, particularly for my hill runs and LSD as a benchmark to measure my progress over the coming weeks. If you’re at the bottom, the only way to go is up. If you’re slow, there is ample room to improve, and that means you only become faster! I look forward to shaving the minutes off my runs.
Biggest lessons this week:
1. Don’t procrastinate your run – if you miss a workout, skip it, or it will have a domino effect on your other runs (refer to my planned LSD 14k on Day 7, which I moved to Day 8). Don’t try to ‘catch up’ on the run and you might end up jeopardising the bigger picture instead.
2. Wake up before sunrise! No matter what - Lay your clothes at the end of your bed. And just drag yourself into the bathroom every morning. Stop hitting that snooze button. Get that run done, no excuses.
3. Sleep and rest – now that I am in training mode, I should not take these two lightly. In fact, I should schedule them. So, from now on, I should clear my schedule for all of the evening prior to my hard runs, particularly my long runs. And don’t even dare to plan anything big on Sunday (long run day)!
Tips, advice and comments are welcome!