In my daily internet perusings, I came across this blog post by runner and certified personal chef, Devon Crosby-Helms. Then I started reading more of her blog and I became slightly obsessed. She's kind of a good runner. Then I started reading about other people who are good runners and it made me want to run better faster.
After my last race, I realized that if I wanted to do better next time, I would need to actually put some thought and effort into training. My "training" for the Disney Princess Half involved getting my butt out the door to run as much as possible. I think I managed two or three long runs between December and the end of February (one of which was my epic track workout...I'm never doing that again). I know I won't run faster unless I train to run faster. Duh.
I'm such a non-planner that I have never found a training plan that works for me. Mostly the problem is that they outline specific workouts on specific days and tell you to run however many miles at "your 5k pace" or "your 10k pace." The problem with that, for me, is I don't know what those paces are for me, nor do I care to calculate them. The shortest race distance I have run in the past 10 years is 15km (9ish miles).
The other problem is that my two big races are 18 (and 19) weeks away. Most training plans are only 12 or 14 weeks. It seems like it would be easy to modify them to take longer, or to just wing it for a couple of weeks, but that's not what I want to do. I want a plan.
Today I found "Smart Coach Plus" through the Runner's World website. It's a paid service, but they have a 30 day free trial going on right now. So I signed up. I plugged in my last race time, told it when/what my next race is and it made me a plan!
Each week has two easy runs, a fast run (it alternates between a tempo run and speedwork), and a long run. For example, the first workout of the week this week is "2 miles @ 12:19min/mi." I did that yesterday. I like that it gives you an actual target pace. If you find you are running faster/slower than the pace it lines out for you, you can go back and adjust the plan to give you a different target time. I don't plan on keeping this subscription after my free 30 days are up, but it's nice to have an outline for training.
I'm really looking forward to all of the snow melting so I can run in the woods. I'm not a huge fan of running on pavement or on the bike path, but right now I don't have much of a choice.