Sunday morning I finished my second half marathon, my first being on Thanksgiving day last year. Sadly my finish time for this half was pretty much the same, even a bit slower than my last half marathon. While I am pleased with my overall run and the finish, I am a bit dissapointed in the lack of seeing any progress. I know I have only been running for a year and that my endurance has skyrocketed. I just feel so slow and like improvement is being elusive.
I have mentioned my concerns and disappointments in not seeing much progress after a year of running. I know I can go further than I used to go, but I still finish races in about the same time as a year ago. This lack of apparent progress is distressing. Of course I only recently started a regimented half marathon training program with my April half marathon as the goal race. I guess with only a month and some of my current program I cannot be too quick to assume noticeable progress.
Last month I recorded my first 80 mile month and I am now shooting for this goal each month. I am working on my consistency. Additionally I do two speed variety workouts a week and a long workout each week. Everything I have researched tells me that if I follow this plan I should see some success. At this point I am second guessing my reliance on run/walk breaks and their effects. Are they causing slower gains?
In this last half marathon I tried to break free of the 1:1 run walk break ratio I usually use on long runs, trying a mix of 4:1 and 2:1 intervals. I tried to run longer on the downhills and stick to shorter intervals on the hills and straight aways. In the end I ended finishing right at the same time I finished my last half marathon a few months ago and my legs feel dead and sore. Could it have been the effects of running 15 miles last week and then doing little because of being snowed in? Was it the intervals? Hills and elevation? I really do not know.
What I know right now is that for all of January I put in the work to run consistently and I worked hard on my hard speed days. I tried to vary my long days with only one of every three or four weeks being a distance push week. I know that I can run and slog though 15 miles and while I want to get faster, I also want to get up to 20. I have two more months of laid out workouts in my current plan and I have reduced the run/walk ratios during weekday workouts. I guess I just have to follow the plan I laid out and do the work and hopefully with time I will see the results I desire.
For now I am recovering, pleased with the completion of a second half marathon. I also know next week I have a trail half marathon and I look forward to the challenge of two half marathon races days apart. I realize now that the adrenaline and finish line of Sunday’s race pushed me harder than when I am running for miles on my own and that I will need the week to get recovered as much as possible for this next half next Saturday.
For now I am just going to follow my plan and get to the last half marathon in April and the start of my triathlon season. Then I will reevaluate and shift focus. But now is not the time to abandon the plan I set out to finish April’s half marathon. For not its time to do the work and expect to see results with time. For now I just need to put my head down and work the process. Til next time.