As I inch my way nearer and nearer to the goal of completing my first half-marathon in May, my sense of wonder and awe at the people who run full marathons on a regular basis has dramatically increased as well. That's not to say that I didn't previously recognize their achievement in running a marathon, it's just that now I have started to run a mile in their shoes - at least sort of - and I'm getting a better sense of what kind of commitment they have to make to their training schedules.
This is the first time in my life I have ever set an actual schedule for myself with specific goal to meet each week. In the past I have always just increased my time and/or mileage as I felt like it, knowing that I had run x number of minutes every other day for four to six weeks, so maybe it was time to bump it up a bit. It was pretty arbitrary and certainly not very goal driven. I knew, somewhere in the back of my mind, that I would like to get back to running 10K's someday, but that was as far as it ever got. Nothing was written down and I certainly wasn't pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Now, I have very real, very measurable, very written down goals for each week, and barring something unforeseen such as a bad cold or the flu, I hope to be able to stick to this schedule. Not only that, but each week when I do my long run, I am definitely stepping outside of my comfort zone, both literally and figuratively.
My comfortable, familiar distance for most of my runs at the moment (as most of you who check my progress probably already know) is right around six miles, or just a little more. I can make it to seven miles without too much trouble, but after that, I'm not sure if its physical, mental, or more likely, a little bit of both, I really start to struggle with the pain and pushing through those barriers that I haven't ever had to push past before. It's been very eye opening, and like I said, I have developed a whole new appreciation for people who put themselves on a training regimen in order to achieve their goals of a full marathon or even a half... making a plan and setting specific goals is certainly not for sissies!
Below is my personal training plan/schedule. As I've said before, it's adapted from Jeff Galloway's training schedule for half-marathoners. However, I have extended out the number of weeks just slightly in order to give myself just a bit more time to prepare.
Pace: 4.8 mph