What’s Next: Spring Training and Goals

After the ECSCA 50k on December 3rd, I enjoyed a very chill month. I’m so fortunate that I walked away from that race feeling healthy, not injured, and not burnt out. Even so, I value rest and acknowledge how important it is to longevity in running. I had made promises that I wouldn’t run unless I really felt like it, and I held true to that. My first run back was a measly 3 miles ten days later and it felt hard. The next week, I enjoyed a couple great runs with Dan in St. Louis when we were there for Christmas, but otherwise I just trotted around Golden when the mood struck.


Training log following the 50k.

Because I took rest so seriously, I thought that when I started running again, I would feel amazing. I’d jump right back in like a superstar and any ache or pain I had felt during training would miraculously disappear. That’s not exactly how it works because, noted: there’s a difference between rest and recovery. I do believe that lying around on the couch and eating and drinking whatever you want IS good for you after a big training season. But, I could have been doing more to actually take care of my body in that time so that I felt sharper when I started training again.

So, what am I training FOR? In my downtime, I decided that I’m ready to tackle a fast road race goal. Last January, I got a stress fracture in my foot from running icy/snowy trails and I was out for way too long. I decided that it’s not worth it for me to chance it on the trails this winter, so I’ve relegated myself to the roads. I’m training for a half marathon PR at the Platte River Half Marathon on April 9th.

I don’t think I’ve trained specifically for a half marathon since my very first one about six years ago. A few years ago, I ran the Phoenix Marathon Half as a Boston Marathon training run in 1:37:02. I had forgotten my watch so ran the whole race “blind” and had a blast. I finished feeling really strong, but know that if I had been wearing my watch, I definitely could have gone under 1:37. That’s still my PR and I’m ready to break it.

My goal for Platte River is under 1:35, which works out to be 7:14 pace or faster. I’ve come up with a “plan” that focuses on two workouts a week plus a long run. My workouts generally are split into one speed-focused run with shorter and faster segments and one longer tempo run, often with hills. My long runs are ranging between 10 and 14 miles.

Disclaimer: there is no science behind this plan. I just made it up based on workouts I know and like to do.

Date Workout 1 (shorter, faster) Workout 2 (longer, tempo) Long Run
Week 1 1/16 – 1/22 Hill repeats (4 miles + WU/CD) 4 miles @ 7:15 + WU/CD 10 on trails in Oregon
Week 2 1/23 – 1/29 Clovers at NP Tempo up Lookout – 4.5 miles from home to Windy Saddle in 40 minutes 12
Week 3 1/30 – 2/5 Hill repeats (4 miles + WU/CD) 2 x 2 miles @ 6:55 10
Week 4 2/6 – 2/12 6 miles with “quarters” (.25 interval on the top of every mile) Tempo down Lookout (about 3.5 mi) – Windy Saddle to Beverly Heights @ 6:30 pace 14
Week 5 2/13 – 2/19 4 x 1 mile repeats @ 6:40 Progression run – 6 miles, faster each one + WU/CD 12
Week 6 2/20 – 2/26 Clovers at NP Cross country 5k (sub 21) 14
Week 7 2/27 – 3/5 Hill repeats (4 miles + WU/CD) Progression run – 6 miles, faster each one + WU/CD 12
Week 8 3/6 – 3/12 4 x 1 mile repeats @ 6:40 8 miles @ 7:15 + WU/CD 10
Week 9 3/13 – 3/19 GM access road hill repeats – 2×1.5 mile 6 miles @ 7:15 + WU/CD 14
Week 10 3/20 – 3/26 strides during easy run 10 miles @ 7:15 + WU/CD 10 (easy)
Week 11 3/27 – 4/2 2 miles @ 7:10 + strides + WU/CD easy 8
Week 12 4/3 – 4/8 strides during easy run strides during easy run 6

Looking past Platte River, I also signed up for the Dirty 30 50k on June 3rd. This race has been on my radar for a couple years and I’m really stoked for it and already a little scared. I’m trying to focus strictly on the half marathon right now, though. But to be honest, I’m having difficulty feeling really invested in that 1:35 goal and in some ways, I feel like I’m going through the motions by coming up with a plan and doing the workouts. I am not a racer that is very motivated by time. I’m more motivated by competition and placing and I’m a much stronger trail runner than road runner. I’ve been asking myself questions like, ‘Why is this your goal? What does it mean to you?’ and I’m hoping that in the next few weeks of training, I’ll come up with compelling reasons.


Trying to embrace winter running.

I’ve been training for a few weeks now, and real talk: if it wasn’t for the promise of running with other people, I probably would have run about half as many miles as I have so far. I find it really tough to motivate myself to get out in the dark, cold winter mornings unless I am meeting someone or going to November Project. Also, as I hinted at above, I was half-expecting to jump into training feeling like I could pick up where I left off after the 50k. Uh, nope. The past four weeks, I’ve averaged 34 miles/week which is so far off from the 40-55ish I was running in heavy 50k training. I know the cold affects the way my body feels in addition to my motivation. So, I’m counting on Dan and Robyn and all my other buddies to help pull me through until I muster up enough intrinsic motivation and a little bit of fight and fire.

Dan is getting into a routine of blogging on his rest days and I’m going to follow his lead. I’m planning on doing brief recaps of my training every week. I’m hoping that using this space to reflect on my running and how I’m feeling will actually make my goals feel more real to me so that I can really own them.


Motivation would be higher if winter running always looked like this.


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