Thirty MPW & Fall Half Marathons

I ran a 31 mile week last week. No caveats, no asterisk, no tricks, no gimmicks. I ran 6 miles Tuesday & Wednesday, 7 Friday and 12 on Sunday. (I have always trained with ‘European’ weeks, because it makes more sense to me.) Man, I feel good. I feel like I never expected to when I started running. I feel capable, and somewhat athletic. I came here to brag about my 31 mile week because I am so proud of it that I’m like to burst, or at least to find a way to awkwardly work it into conversations with coworkers.

Lest we think this a fluke, for the past 5 weeks, I haven’t had a single week under 20 miles. After the Solstice Run 10k and the Let Freedom Run 5k, I dropped off on “speedwork summer” and have been focusing on running for fitness and keeping a training volume which would support some half marathons this fall. I’m so proud to have a reasonable weekly mileage, and staying “up to date” on my mileage has given me real motivation to get out there 4-5 days each week.

That goal of two more half marathons this fall has now crystallized into two registrations for races: The Brooksie Way Half Marathon in Rochester, MI and the Stomp the Grapes Half Marathon in Hartville, OH.

The selection process was totally nerd driven; I found a listing of half marathons, arranged them in excel, then posted columns with date, size, driving time and goodies. I eliminated the handful of really tiny half marathons in Mid-Michigan (several less than 100 finishers!) but I wish that intrepid race organizer the best of luck, and may run those events in the future. Check out Michigan Half Series for info. (This is a reminder to future me, plus info for anyone else looking for half marathons in Michigan!)

I also had to cut out many Michigan Half marathons that were 8+ hour drives away. Man, this state is big! After that I started looking for two races seperated by about a month, and originally thought about signing up for the Air Force Marathon in Dayton. Unfortunately, registration for that was full. So the field eventually narrowed to the Brooksie and StompTheGrapes, at least in part because A, Brooksie is local, and B, StompTheGrapes is giving out a race-embroidered fleece cap, which is awesome.

Brooksie is the larger of the two events, and probably the more challenging. Part of the Brooksie course is on some light trails, and reviews and the website indicate that the course is “challenging” which is race director code for “hilly”. So I’m planning to run that one as a prep race for pushing for a new PR in the StompTheGrapes, which looks flat and cold, which will combine into a great condition for me to race in.

Which brings me to the time to train again. I get to lay out a training plan that centers around a October 2nd progress half marathon, and a November 5th PR attempt. I know I’m capable of the distance; I just did 12 yesterday! So now I have to figure out how to construct a plan to meet a new PR goal. Many of the plans I find online are geared toward the first-time runner, or geared to the longtime runner. I need to figure out what the training plan is for the 2nd & 3rd race is.

I have some ideas; I’ll probably keep a nice long run on Sunday, and I’d really like to hunt down a spot for hill repeats here in MI. Aside from hills and long runs, I’m going to keep up with two 5 ish mile steady state no frills runs a week. That leaves one run that I can use for a speed enhancing effort, perhaps?

I better decide quick. Only 48 days to the Brooksie.

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8 responses to “Thirty MPW & Fall Half Marathons

  1. Nice work on the mileage! And glad to hear your race schedule’s filling up for the fall.

  2. Perhaps try a version of the Hal Higdon intermediate training program?

    http://www.halhigdon.com/halfmarathon/inter.htm

    Its specifically written for those wanting to improve their time. Sounds like you!

    • Yeah, I’ve been looking at the Higdon plans, but this one starts at a long run of just 5 miles, so feels, still, a bit like it’s building up from more of a stand still. Do you think I could jump in in the middle of this on the easy run and long run distances, and incorporate the speedwork and pace runs he’s recommending, from the beginning? For example the intermediate plan week one is already a lot less running than I already do, and the ‘strengthen’ bits seem superfluous to me, at least in the context of my strength vs. fitness goals.

      Also, even though I don’t feel like an ‘advanced’ runner, I am already running 90-120+ minutes every Sunday, so I thought about modifying the advanced plan down a bit and using that.

  3. If you want to try a mix of the advanced and intermediate plans or a modified version of either plan, go for it. These plans are just guidelines to help with not increasing distance too fast and remembering to have recovery weeks.

    The Strengthen bits are generally there to help stretch and, well, strengthen your muscles so they’re better at running. Its not meant for you to bulk-up. I do yoga or pilates as my strength training.

    Really, just make out a plan that you think will work for you. Mix & match from various plans to help get you started (especially for any speedwork since you’re less seasoned with that aspect) and try it out. If it proves to be too easy/hard then change things. You’re good at listening to your body so if things aren’t right then modify the plan to make it right. Ultimately, running regularly is all you need. 🙂

  4. I am using Ryan Hall’s half marathon training plan. I had to skip the whole first half since I signed up for the Bronx with only a month to go. But it has given some structure to my running and it is challenging enough for me.

    I am a beginner runner but I began with being able to run 4 miles straight so it was a matter of doing more times a week and increasing mileage at a rate that wouldn’t break my ankles off, like I did last year! @_@

    I am so impressed with your mileage increase and your race schedule. I feel like after my half, I am gonna cower from halves for a bit – the next one after that is a 10K, much more ‘doable!’ Btw, my 12 mile race sim went shittingly. I thought I was taking it easy the 1st 6 miles, and picking it up the last 6, but in reality I went about the same the whole way through with a slow 11th mile. G’damnnit! Fail!

  5. I love the selection process, very scientific.

    Great job on your 31 mile week, it has been months since I have accomplished that. It is really something to be proud of!

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