Finding Nemo: Learning to Take Risks in Week 2 of Half-Marathon Training

First, I am thrilled that I ran 45 miles this week and met my weekly mileage goal, which will help me build my aerobic base for the Fairfield Half-Marathon on June 23. Second, I took a few risks this week to learn about myself and I learned some valuable things. Achieving my goal this week was a challenge because of a work commitment that forced me to reduce Tuesday’s run to a 5K trail run, and Snowstorm Nemo which dumped 2 feet of snow on Friday and Saturday in blizzard-like conditions.

I increased my weekly mileage from 40 miles last week to 45 miles this week, and plan to maintain that level before increasing to 50 miles per week. My goal is to run 60 miles per week in late April. Almost half of last week’s mileage is comprised of two runs, a 10-mile run on Monday and an 11-mile double (8 plus 3) on Friday (during Snowstorm Nemo). I ran one track workout with my 11 year old son consisting of 3x 1200 meters in 4:30 minutes, or about 6 minute mile pace (which happens to be my half-marathon goal pace). The remaining runs were 3-6 mile easy runs.

Last week I had planned a late-week long run to test my fitness, which I had to change due to an unplanned family event. So I was determined to start this week with a self-assessment, and ran 10 miles on Monday in 1:09:15 (sub-7 minute pace with a 166 HR). I took a risk – although I started at a reasonable pace – I picked up the pace throughout the run and closed with a 6:30 final mile. The weather was cold (20F) and the course was hilly (350 ft altitude gain), so I could have blown up and not finished. Doing well gave me an accurate assessment of current fitness level, put into focus that I need to drop less than a minute from my mile pace, and increased my confidence for the remainder of the week.

On Wednesday, I ran late at night after rising that morning at 4:30 am for a business commitment, and after an 18-hour day, I stumbled through the Waveny trails with my headlamp on and decided to cut my losses after 5K. I took another risk, knowing that after running a combined 16 miles on Monday and Tuesday, I would run a total of 6.5 miles on Wednesday and Thursday (planned 3x 1200 meters track workout on Thursday), and with Snowstorm Nemo arriving on Friday and Saturday, and a planned ski trip on Sunday, I would run about half of my weekly mileage during the last 3 days of the week. This was both a physical and mental test, and to cut a long story short, I ran 23 miles (of which 11 miles in a blinding snowstorm on Friday) on days that I lifted weights, shoveled 2 feet of snow off my driveway and walkway, and drove 5 hours round-trip to Butternut Ski Resort in the Berkshires and skied black diamonds all day. My final 6 miles was at 11 pm on Sunday night. I showered and crashed in bed, knowing that I accomplished my goal and would rise on Monday with confidence that I was one step closer to my goal of running 1:20 in the Fairfield Half-Marathon June 23.

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2 comments

  1. great job. be careful of cars, trucks and slick conditions. (Rule 2, Stay Healthy)

  2. Thanks for the encouragement! Agree with your rule and advice. One of the reasons I enjoy running on trails is the risk of traffic (last year a runner was killed in Norwalk by a teen texting while driving). I always run facing the traffic on wide roads with good visibility and wear reflective vests.

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