my own personal/unique training plan:
where to start… i’ve been running since middle school (more on that later), but have definitely increased my love for + practice of it the past 3 years. in 2019, i was averaging ~40 miles/month – avg. distance: 3 miles + avg. pace: 9’10” – since then i’ve been increasing both how often i run + distance, which was bound to lower the pace, but speed has never been a priority for me since most of my life running has just been something i do for myself + to feel good, not professionally + not usually in competitions.
now, i hate to be that #privileged guy… but… running did become a lot easier to fit into my daily life when Covid-19 hit, (+ my company transitioned to working remotely full-time) which has increased my quality of life greatly + allowed me to reach the major goal this entire post is about.
so0000 – for over a year now, I’ve been tracking every single run I go on, researching all the new shoe technology extensively, annoying tf out of my snapchat friends w/ my stories almost exclusively containing Nike Run Club screenshots + even watching the Olympic track competitions on tv a few months ago. anyone who’s talked to me during this time can attest, i’ve been straight up OBSESSED. 😳
…so much so that i’ve been lacking pretty heavily in one very important department: rest + recovery. this is most likely why i hit such a massive wall trying to push further than a 6-mile distance most of the past year.
in 2018, i ran the Chicago 10 Mile along the lakefront. before the day of the event, the longest run i had ever completed was 7 miles. i was able to keep a steady pace + not stop at all. afterwards, i went to work that weekend w/ no issue (8-9 hrs on my feet both Sat. + Sun.)
don’t think that’s going to be quite the case this time. i’m not much better prepared. well, guess it depends how you look at it. i had only run that 7-mile distance once before the 10 and my regular distance was probably only 3-4, running ~2x a week. now, i regularly run 4-5x per week @ 6 miles each. within the past month, i’ve cut back to 3-4 runs per week but increased distance to 7-8 miles each time. + then last Saturday i ran 10 miles – just that once. so i’d say i’m semi-similarly prepared, (since this race is 13.1 miles) however, my regular cadence is much higher this time. on the other hand though, i haven’t included as much rest + recovery time – and i do have a few minor irritations (not quite injury, but a slight discomfort/nagging annoyance) that could majorly affect my performance.
this is one of the main reasons (along w/ some other life stuff) that i figured now is the time to do the race.
i am planning to take a week or so off as a legitimate rest period afterwards (one more time for ppl in the back!! I”M TAKING A MF BREAK FINALLY OKAY?! 😩 😂) – for my muscles to finally be able to heal fully. i also plan on seeing a sports dr./specialist to make sure these aforementioned ‘irritations’ stay minor/aren’t already a larger issue than i’m aware of. plus, i have been extra anxious about covid-19 due to worry of it putting me out of commission running-wise + fear of losing all my physical progress, so once this goal is complete, hoping to see a few more friends safely. & finally, i just want to get back to running solely for fun + what i feel like is an enjoyable distance for me often depends on the day/work schedule/stress level/the weather/etc., but most often i find i feel good after 6 and it’ll be nice to get back to just running until i don’t feel like it anymore + stopping, rather than pushing myself to the point of exhaustion or honestly to the point of making it feel like work.🥴
mentally, preparing for this race has taken a toll as well. it’s extremely challenging to work full-time + also find time to fit in training/recovery/race prep/etc. + just requires you to consider an enormous amount of factors all at once + constantly. here are just a FEW of the big ones: (trust me, you don’t even wanna know how many more there are. you have to just trust me bc i refuse to type them all. i’ve overanalyzed every little detail upon detail etc. etc. etc)
hydration – have always used Nuun tablets for electrolytes in the past so planning on drinking before/after the race + now due to increasing the distance + the hot/humid summer training weather, have started incorporating some of the low sugar Gatorade on a few longer days.(want some* sugar bc you want carbs to restore glycogen levels – this is what once lost greatly reduces endurance ability )
form – something i’ve been focusing on a lot more now during training than i did in the past. previously, i sort of assumed my natural running form must be fine because i never got hurt or really had any aches or pains, but now that i’ve increased my weekly cadence, PLUS my distances, i’ve needed to focus a lot more on my form to make sure i’m not allowing fatigue to set in + unconsciously adjust the way my body is moving. –– when you start to feel tired on a run, your body tends to want to lean forward + take longer strides (b/c it uses less energy), but this increases risk of injury b/c it raises the intensity of impact on your joints (knees especially).
shoes – i have found through much trial + error that i’m a runner who thrives w/ stability shoes. i know my lower left leg specifically has some type of misalignment, where if i wear a different type of shoe, my ankle, calf + knee all seem to move independently + i end up w/ more pain than if i had worn a shoe to help w/ that – like a Brooks shoe featuring their GuideRails technology. #sponsored #ad (JK, i wish) i really like the Bedlam 2 + 3 shoes best. these also feature their DNA amp technology, which provides a springy feel + nice energy return.
surfaces – this race specifically is a little tricky due to it being a trail course. ngl….i was pretty amped to wear my Nike Vaporfly 2 racing shoes, but they’re strictly for track/road racing + do not provide the necessary traction for a gravel course. fortunately, i have a pair of Nike Trail shoes that i like + wore frequently in the past, as well as a few times recently. again – many pros + cons to this.
- trail shoes are well broken in – should not surprise me in any way performance-wise + should not rub uncomfortably/cause any pain to the feet.
- trails provide softer impact on joints.
- 98% of training has been on pavement/road surfaces only
- trail shoes are not comparable to brand-new, springy racing shoes in performance (although they’re in great shape, Zoom technology still intact + springy + haven’t lost any noticeable traction – and proven to be extremely durable in wet conditions)
rest/recovery – have read a lot of elite runners like to take an epsom salt bath the evening before race day. may or may not happen on my end. otherwise, have been very focused the past fews weeks or so especially on RICE (rest, ice, compress, elevate), foam rolling + trying to do a mini taper w/ only 2 short runs this week)
- spent an obscene amount of time creating + organizing my race day playlist – shoutout young thug, tame impala, 21, doja, cardi.
- started supplementing magnesium to reduce muscle tension
- been working on adjusting my sleep schedule gradually (i am NOT a morning person + never will be!!!) + managed to complete my 10-mile run in the a.m. as extra ‘practice’
- planned out everything i will be consuming the day before both as far as food/water goes as well as media/content (good vibes/inspirational sh*t only)
- drove to the actual course location a day before to scope it out + tried on a few different pairs of shoes to compare feel/traction.
- researched race day tips like crazy online + read 4 Runner’s World books (will post photo later – they had great info)
one last thing i wanted to stress/reiterate (in case anyone hasn’t died of boredom already 2+ paragraphs ago is still reading👀) –– this was years in the making. it might not take everyone years. but it did for me + this is such a BIG MF MOMENT. this is the. hardest. thing. i’ve ever done.
this was months + months + weeks + minutes + seconds of WORK. i may call myself a runner now + everyone who’s met me in the past 3 years or so might know that about me, but that was 100% not always the case. in school, i hated running the mile just as much as everyone else – maybe more than most people tbh. i was chubby + always one of the very last to finish. i’d be upset about having to stop + walk. disgusted by the taste of blood in my mouth. wanting to be good at something.
in middle school, i joined the cross-country team, solely due to peer pressure at first – literally a “mommmmm, all my friends are doing itttt” type of thing. and i was still absolutely awful. i just totally sucked. every meet i attended as part of this team, i was one of the slowest runners + one of the very last to finish. BUT i was never actually last. + i realized maybe the most important thing i’ve ever realized about myself. (also something i’m still continuing to learn about myself over + over + over again in different ways even to this day) –– that there is something in me, this drive, that is just so unbelievably strong, that when my mind gets set on something, i can + will do that thing. i don’t even know how to describe it. i think some of it stems from a bit of competitiveness, a bit of wanting to prove myself, plus a bit of ambition, and a bit of rage + some pain + most of all just this pure. f*cking. grit. when i’d see the finish line in those meets + knew i’m almost done, i’ve almost made it + this last burst of energy would spark + i’d sprint past all the other girls + over the finish line. every. single. time. i may not beat everyone, (i most definitely won’t😂), but i will never be last. and i will NEVER quit. that’s how i know without even the slightest shadow of a gd doubt that i will finish this race on broken mf legs if that’s what it comes to, i will finish even if i have to CRAWL over that mf finish line.
life has taught me that all i have is me + running has taught me that i will always have me. i have a much better relationship w/ myself now having established the strongest trust i’ve ever experienced in this life. i trust me to keep going mile after mile even in 90-degree heat w/ sweat in my eyes blurring my vision. i trust me to not give up even in 20-degree cold when i can’t feel my fingers or toes. i trust me to literally pick myself up out of the dirt + try again + again + again –– i trust me to figure out whatever life throws my way. i trust me to man it tf up + handle that sh*t. handle my sh*t.
running’s taught me to move beyond fear, stare failure in the face + say F*CK YOU. you might win today, you might even win tomorrow if you’re lucky, but you will NOT win everyday. it’s taught me to manage emotions + deal w/ stress + resolve problems in a healthy + peaceful way. it’s taught me to both put my body through pain + also to love it + care for it more than i ever have + to treat it w/ respect even when i might be disappointed or frustrated w/ it’s abilities at that moment. it’s taught me patience + gratitude + balance.
it’s made no longer drinking alcohol (a concept that even a few years ago i would’ve thought unfathomable) something easy.
it’s made me laugh (on several occasions, tripping over my own feet)
it’s made me cry (when i can’t. helped to process difficult emotions)
it’s made me freakin’ PISSED! (tbh frequently frustrated as all hell that i can’t just force progress to happen faster – re: taught patience)
but most of all it’s made me feel happy – removes all the little worries/stress so that what’s left is just the important things + leaves me feeling like the best version of myself that i can possibly be.
+ that’s really what it’s all about –– being better today than you were yesterday.
i’ve learned how determined i can be (even to my own detriment at times😬). how consistent i can be. how passionate i am. how focused. but most of all i found a/my core truth – which is that in life, when it really comes down to it (whatever “it” may be), i can do whatever it takes to get it done. i can dedicate my time + energy + commit to pushing myself hard AF every single day if i need to. i’ll study, rest + try again + again + again + again + i will do whatever it takes to get it mf done. I CAN DO HARD THINGS.
tyvm for reading – if you did/for those of you that did. ily. this is the happiest/1 of the happiest days of my life. 100% the proudest day.
**update**–– i was able to run the full 13.1 without stopping/walking + held a steady pace throughout. i also finished a FULL 10 minutes faster than my dream goal time 🌹⚡️😍🤸🏼♀️✨
now…. time to celebrate! 🍾🎉