2013 WDW Half-Marathon: Final Training Thoughts And What’s Next!
|January 18, 2013||Posted by Katy under 2013 WDW Half-Marathon Training, Half-Marathon Training|
I promise that this is the past Disney related post I will write for awhile. I do plan to do more Disney races because, while they are super expensive (especially when you factor in resort, travel, and food costs) I enjoy them! However, I realize that they are not everyone’s cup of tea! I did sprinkle a few new race photos in this post!
Now that it has almost been a week since Disney, I have had some time to look back and reflect on the race and my training. I will start by saying that this has been, hands down, my FAVORITE training cycle since I started running back in the summer of 2010.
I like to think that I have started to figure out what works for me in terms of running mileage, duration, and frequency. I am far from an expert, but I am learning something new from every race I train for. I am an injury prone runner and after spending over a year trying to deny it, I fully embrace it. Would I like to run 5-6 days a week? Yes, absolutely. However, my body does not seem to tolerate it.
For this training cycle, I ran three days a week, like I have been for close to a year now (for various reasons but mainly due to aforementioned reason above and triathlon training). However, these three runs had a purpose. I won’t rehash all of the runs I had (you can read about them in my initial training plan post), but the basic framework was a moderately easy run, a tempo run, and a long run. On three other days, I cross-trained with swimming, spinning, strength training, and circuit-like core workouts. I also took one day of complete rest.
If you are at all familiar with the FIRST plan, then you may see some similarities with my plan and their plan. While I found their plan a little too aggressive for me in November when I first started training, I modified the plan to match my needs. I knew that I would not see the full results of their plan, but I hoped that I would reap some of the benefits.
The main difference between the FIRST plan and mine was the elimination of the speed work on Tuesdays. Prior to starting this training, I was coming back from a month running hiatus to allow some aches and pains to heal. Since I was afraid that speed work on a track would exacerbate the problem, I substituted a “moderately easy” run at about an 80-85% rate of perceived effort (RPE). I kept the tempo and long runs on Thursday’s and the on weekends and got my training paces from FIRST plan recommendations (Tempo= HMP minus 15 seconds per mile; Long Run= HMP+ 30 seconds per mile). I am not going to lie, these paces were DIFFICULT at first because I was pushing myself to run faster than I had been for a year, but by the end of training, it was much easier.
Then on the days when I did not run, I cross-trained… HARD! With the exception of a few days where I only did strength training (no cardio), I swam or took a spin class every cross-training day. The key was to really push during cross-training days to make up not running as much.
People may disagree with me, but I truly believe that swimming has REALLY helped me become a better runner. Until I started really picking up my swimming in August, I had issues with my breathing (especially breath control) while running. Swimming has forced me to establish a rhythm and as a result, I do not struggle nearly as much. I am able to exert myself more and maintain an even breathing pattern.
What made this training plan my favorite is the variety that I had. I looked forward to 99% of my runs and never once felt burnt out. I had the same enthusiasm and drive on Day 1 as I had on Day 50 all the way to Race Day. This is not to say that I had a couple of low energy weeks (because I did), but I never felt mentally burnt out.
On Race Day, the weather was less than favorable. I had trained in the cold, rain, heat, wind, and humidity to prepare for any race conditions, but weather last Saturday was a different beast. I have never ran in humidity like that and I do not regret for a second pulling back on my pace. I still had a fun race. It may not have gotten the outcome that I had trained for, but I still had a good experience!
Weather aside (and I know that I can not blame everything on the weather), I do believe that I could have hit my time goal. While I did not hit all of my tempo or long run paces during training, I was within a couple seconds if I did miss them. I was physically and mentally prepared and I knew that this method had worked for others.
Now that the race is behind me, I am looking forward to my next race. I have taken this week as a Zero Week (no running until Sunday) and have cross-trained all week. It might be a little bit of an overkill, but as I said at the beginning of the post, I am injury prone, and I like to err on the side of caution.
Next week I will be back running, but not going for any specific pace. If my legs want to go fast, I will let them but if they want to go slow, I am not going to push them.
On Monday, January 28th, it is GAME ON for my next half-marathon; Rock ‘n’ Roll USA in Washington, DC on March 16th. Not only has this race been on my bucket list for a few years, but it is also the first race that I am running for charity. I will be running as a SoleMate for Girls on the Run- DC. I have pledged to raise $500 and will be trying to find some fun ways to raise money, so stay tuned!
I will spend seven weeks regaining speed, fine-tuning, and doing everything that I can to hit my ultimate time goal. I quite possibly may be going into this training with even more determination and drive!
On a final note, I wanted to shift back to Disney to close this long post out. I ran some numbers on my finish for this year’s race. This is not meant to brag, but it is interesting to me:
- Out of 23,125 total finishers, I came in 6,018 place or the top 26% overall.
- Out of 13,127 total female finishers, I came in 2,266 place or the top 17% of women.
- Out of 1,242 total female finishers 18-24, I came in 234 place or the top 19% in my age group.
Numbers are just numbers and will fade with time. However, the most important thing was the journey leading to the race… and that I got my smile back at the finish line.