Preparing for a Half Marathon race is not easy. Actually for some or maybe even for most it might be easy. For me it is challenging. Half year ago I just started running 2-3 miles per occasion and running a Half Marathon seemed like an unachievable/impossible distance for me.
Recently I run 4-5 miles without any issues, 6-8 miles regularly and my Sunday distances (as simulating the race day) was the continuously, step by step increasing long distance, the last two weekends peaking between 11-12 miles.
- I was very satisfied with my progress for several reasons:
- I have been able to continuously improve
- My improvement was ahead of my training plan
- Whenever I finished the increased Sunday distances, I always felt I could run more
- My muscles never felt tense the following morning (rest day) after I finished my scheduled Sunday morning long training run
- On every Saturday morning I had an easy short distance ”easy run” warming up for Sunday
Keeping this nice progress gave me a great confidence level and I was very happy that I was able to keep patience and not to rush things. Up until I made a mistake this last Sunday.
We are in a middle of moving and wanted to run for the first time ever the Half Marathon distance (even if it is for training only) here in Indiana. However finally our busy schedule of commuting between Michigan and Indiana, getting things done around the house in Indiana, trying to set up things in Michigan and finally squeezing a Hungarian farewell evening on a Friday night got the best of me. It happened that our Hungarian farewell had us taste a few different local brewery samples, which resulted in a mild hangover on Saturday. Of course if the alcohol and lack of sleep caused shock would not have been enough, I skipped my usual Saturday morning “easy run” as well.
I still thought it is a good idea to try for the Half Marathon distance instead of postponing it. Big mistake! I barely finished the distance, only my pride kept me going through the last 4 miles with the last 2 miles being increasingly worse.
After I arrived home I was completely exhausted and the whole day I felt completely useless. In addition my knees were hurting really bad, my muscles were like bricks and felt so tense I could barely move up and down the stairs, even the following day and I had all kinds of other issues caused by wet training clothes causing bad skin irritations at various spots with a pain level of 15 on a scale of 1 to 5.
The usual Monday rest, a Tuesday morning “easy run” and extensive stretching and other exercise seemed to help some, but overall this all seemed to be like a big-big mistake not to be more patient.
So in summary if you want a setback in your training for a Half Marathon, here is the generic recipe:
- Have a long day at the office
- Travel for about 5 hours by car
- Spend the evening and night with casual, but continuous drinking
- Sleep only a few hours
- Struggle through the day with mild hangover
- Run the longest distance of your life on the next morning
Make sure that you stay focused as that is the single most important thing I believe will help you the most to achieve your goal of running the Half Marathon race and finish it with a decent result.
The decent result I set as a goal for myself is to finish my first even Half Marathon race in less than two hours. I have a month left to prepare myself as much as possible. In a little more than a month I will be able to report how successful I have been with my quest to conquer this challenge.
Until then let it be either running or anything else in life, just make sure to stay focused on reaching your goal and wish you all the strength to achieve that.