Most people don't believe me when I tell them that Sunday's BMO was my first Half marathon...but it was. I have run the distance many times as part of a marathon, ultra or training run but have never tried to race the distance.
This was also my first time following a training schedule not made up by me. I took it off the internet but adapted a program designed for a slower goal then what I had (my goal was 1:21:32). My goal was based on a time equivalent to my target next year of a sub 2:50 marathon...if I can run a 1:21:32 then based on the accepted algorithms I should be capable of my marathon goal. All things being equal.
Distance Dave in lime green.
I stuck quite well to the training plan for the entire 3 months with only slight variations. I felt great the whole time and was always looking forward to my next run, something that hasn't always been the case. I found that because of my gains in running efficiency over the last year I didn't feel the fatigue that I have had in the past when training hard. I used many different types of shoes over the 3 months including Vivo barefoot Neo and Breatho Trail, adidas Boston, Pearl Izumi Streak 2, Inov-8 Roadx 233 and Roclite 285, Hoka One One Biondi and Vibram Seeya. I chose my shoes based on the workout I was doing, so my Hoka Biondi's were used for long easy road runs and one long trail run, they dramatically decreased the aches I'd normally get from long road and trail runs. I did all my tempo running in my Inov-8 Roadx 233 and Pearl Streaks, my easy form runs were either in Vivo or Vibrams and my "I just need to get a few miles in" shoes were the adidas Bostons. Rotating my shoes like this kept me from falling into a rut with my pace as each shoe reminded me of what I was suppose to be doing. I also think it helps stave off injury by avoiding unnecessary repetition.
I averaged about 50km a week over the 3 month period running 5 days a week with a my longest run 30km on trails. This seemed very manageable and maybe in the end too easy for my target. I think I should have upped the weekly mileage and done more long tempo runs at race distance or done some real racing in there like a 10k or two. I never suffered in training and that was probably an issue for me in my race when the going got tough I wasn't tough enough. So more miles (now that I know my lifestyle can support it with adequate rest and family time) next time for sure as well as a few hard...suffer...efforts before the big show.
I have never been accused of over-training and usually listen well when my body is trying to tell me something. But one week out from the BMO Half I strained my soleus muscle in my right calf. I was coming off a lack lustre final full week of training and not feel very comfortable with where my fitness was, this little tweak put me further back mentally. Tuesday night is our run club at the track so I went out with the intent of warming up and giving my calf a good stretch. I ended up feeling good and thought I'd do a hard mile to get me mentally comfortable with my pace. The mile went well but Wednesday morning greeted me with a very sore calf. Rub downs, compression, ice, heat, no running...nothing for the rest of the week.
Race day came and I had a great warm up, and felt really good. The calf felt tight but didn't hurt like it had so i planned on an easy first mile or two then go for it. I ran a conservative first mile considering the adrenalin and downhill track. As I approached the 2km mark I landed funny and felt like I had torn my right calf muscle...it hurt. I almost stopped, but as soon as I slowed it seemed to feel better so I backed off the pace and finished the downhill. The flats and uphills didn't aggravate it as much and I was happy with the pace I was running so I decided to try and finish. Did I mention the little pebble in my left shoe? Talk about "princess and the pea" syndrome! It started to flare up at halfway and felt like I had rubbed the skin on my first met raw. I tried to finish strong from 2 miles to go but only had one good mile in me so the last one was a slog but I hit the target of 1:21:42 and managed to medal in my age group...so really I am quite content. But as usual I have to wonder "What if?" and I guess that is what keeps us coming back for more.