The Plan


Since late December, I've been doing a whole lot of this:


and zero of this:

I believe it's called 'jogging' or 'yogging.' It might be a soft 'j.' 

I literally did not run AT ALL this winter (annnndddit was amazing). The only physical activity I did was ski (alpine or xc), hike/walk, snowshoe, or lift (and by lift I mean using 10 lb. free weights, nothing crazy). If returning to pavement wasn't daunting enough, the return to actually lacing up my shoes has been a slow start. After putting in 40 days on the slopes of Winter Park Resort/Mary Jane between late December and the first week of March, I've been nursing a sore left foot/ankle which I think was caused by my ski boots.

So returning to running has already had its set backs, but I've got a plan.

First, I'm starting my training now. Like I said, I haven't run a road race since December 2014 (CIM) and road running is a completely different ball game in my opinion than trail running. To me, it is much harder. There are no hike breaks, there are no buttery/low impact trails, there are no peaks or mountain views to take your mind off the pain. Nope. There's pushing your body to the absolute max, on unforgiving concrete, surrounded by people having staring contests with their watches, while trying not to throw up that hot gel you're attempting to swallow, and at the same time desperately attempting to master that perfect pinch of a paper cup in hopes of chasing it down with a gulp of electrolytes. It's definitely different.


I'm also not naturally fast, athletic, or coordinated. I'm a glorified mid-packer, ankle-roller, short stride extraordinaire, yet I've got big goals for what will be my 'A-race' this year. I want to beat my PR of 3:55 in the marathon (Rock 'n' Roll AZ, 2013) and the half marathon (1:45, 2014). I don't have an exact time goal at this moment other than sub-3:55. After a few months of running, I'll be able to assess where I'm at and come up with a realistic time to work towards.

The Road to Chicago has begun, and here's how I plan on getting there...

ALL ABOUT THAT BASE 

The first couple months will be all about base building, keeping my runs SLOW and EASY (for me) so I can run further to build my mileage back up. I plan to loosely follow the Hanson's Marathon Method which led to my RNRAZ PR, starting with the "beginner" plan and at some point switching to their "intermediate" plan. I won't have time to do both, as each schedule is 18 weeks long, so I'm going to do my best to mesh the two together. I also will not incorporate any type of tempo runs or speed work until I've gotten 1-2 months of solid mileage down.



BALANCE

Just because I'm rekindling my relationship with the roads, doesn't mean I'm dumping trail running. I will still be hitting the trails the majority of the time and keeping those low impact surfaces in rotation, especially if we're back home in Winter Park this summer. However, my aspirations to run another 50-miler or throw my hat into a new distance like a 100K or 100 miler will have to take a back seat for now. There will be long traverses, and I have my eye on a 100K, but all of that would need to take place in July or after October (obviously all depending on how my body is feeling). The most important goal is to stay injury-free, and to do that I plan to listen to my body, hit the bike, continue to hike, avoid overdoing it on pavement, and pick up some free weights to build strength/muscle. If trail running has taught me anything, it's that a thin STRONG body is rewarded.


BE CONSISTENT 

I have a problem keeping a routine while on the road, or maybe I'm just good at making excuses? Either way, I HAVE TO BE CONSISTENT. Period.

KEEP IT FUN

The most important part of running is to keep it fun. I don't want to burn out before toeing the line in Chicago, and that's why it's key to maintain that balance. This goes for the race, too. I once took a swig of Guinness near mile 24 at CIM (4:06), and won't turn down a cold can of encouragement if offered. Life's too short to take yourself too serious.

Not pictured: Guinness. ;)

So, that's the game plan. Nothing too fancy. I've just got my work cut out for me, and I have all of you to thank on the world wide interwebs for holding me accountable from this day forth. I hope to report my mileage each week, and in the meantime here's a look at my training (or really lack thereof since the New Year):

January 1 - April 2 // *Monday-Sunday 

1/1-1/8: Alpine ski x 4, XC ski x 1, Snowshoe x 1, Run 3 miles, Weights x 2 (it's almost comical to write "weights" or "lifted" because it's nothing over 10 lbs,  structured, or intense - just a few curls, squats and lunges), shoveled our condo parking lot x 1 [Location: Winter Park, CO]
1/9-1/15: Alpine ski x 5, XC ski x 1, Weights x 1 [Location: Winter Park, CO]
1/16-1/22: Alpine ski x 3, Snowshoe x 2, Run/Walk 6 miles, Weights x 1 [Location: Winter Park, CO]
1/23-1/29: Alpine ski x 4, Run/Walk 3 miles, Weights x 1 [Location: Winter Park, CO]
1/30-2/5: Alpine ski x 4, Snowshoe x 1 [Locations: Winter Park, CO // Orlando, FL // Jacksonville, FL]


2/6-2/12: Alpine ski x 2, Hike 21.6 miles [Locations: Jacksonville, FL // Orlando, FL // Denver/Winter Park, CO // Moab, UT // Las Vegas, NV]

Syncline Loop // Canyonlands National Park
Dead Horse Point State Park

2/13-2/19: Alpine ski x 1, Hike/Walk 23 miles [Locations: Las Vegas, NV // Zion + Bryce Canyon, UT // Winter Park, CO]

Bryce Canyon National Park

2/20-2/26: Alpine ski x 7, Weights x 1 [Location: Winter Park, CO]
2/27-3/5: Alpine ski x 7 [Location: Winter Park, CO]
3/6-3/12: Alpine ski x 1 (short day due to high winds), Walk 10 miles, Weights x 1 *foot/ankle pain surfaces* [Locations: Winter Park, CO // St. Louis, MO // Indianapolis, IN]
3/13-3/19: Walk 6 miles, Run 6 miles, *intense foot/ankle pain continues in left foot* [Location: Indiana]
3/20-3/26: Walk 8 miles, Run 5 miles, Bike 2.5 hrs, *foot/ankle pain continues, trying not to push it or overdue it, which is why I turned to the bike + rest* [Location: Indiana]
3/27-4/2: Walk 4 miles, Run 15 miles (all slow and easy // 6.2 mph + 1.5% incline), Weights x 2, *foot/ankle pain has become fainter, but still present. Listening to my body, and it has given me the 'OK' to run on it, but not to push it. If it gets any worse, a rest day follows* [Location: Indiana]

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