After running 17 races last year as a complete beginner, I am now training for my first Half Marathon on the 13th May 2018.
I loved a blog post by Kelly Roberts from ‘She Can and She Did’ where she said of herself that “I am just not a very gifted runner”. This really struck a chord with me and I’m not trying to put myself down when I say the same words. I am not a very gifted runner. I am not a natural runner. As part of my training plan, I ran a 10k race yesterday – I had done the same race last year. And a year on, after so much more running, I was only 27 seconds faster. In the same blog post, Kelly added that “…it doesn’t matter how talented you are, success only comes to people who work their asses off.” That struck another chord. I may not be a naturally talented runner and that’s okay. But what I do have is a strong work ethic. I never give up. I know my weaknesses and how to deal with them. I know my strengths and how to use them. So what my training taught me in the last two weeks is I just have to keep pushing. I just have to keep putting in all the hours. I have to be patient. I have to remind myself that I have just been running for a little over a year. I still have a lot to learn. I still have a lot more work to do. And that’s okay because I know how to work. I know how to push myself. And I won’t stop until I am the best runner that I can be.
Monday, 12th March: Rest Day
Tuesday, 13th March: Gym, The Grid, 1 hr. Oh what torture but how I loved it! The instructor’s style really resonates with me. He knows how to push you to the brink. He doesn’t take no for an answer. He never loses energy and the whole class is just so upbeat.
Wednesday, 14th March: Hills Run, 40:59 min, 4.67 km. You may remember that just 2 weeks ago I felt defeated on this hill! But this time, I didn’t walk once during recovery intervals. I worked harder for longer. How amazing it was to see improvement!
Thursday, 15th March: Gym, Pilates, 1hr. After a long break, I have now been quite consistent with pilates. This was my third week in a row. We worked a lot on our hip flexor muscles. The instructor did call me out for no longer being able to do a teaser. But I’ll get back there soon!
Friday, 16th March: Treadmill, Easy Run 49:37 min, 7 km. I was dreading this run all week just because I have never run this long on a week day. With no one to help me with the kids, I was forced to use the treadmill. So I put on a Trevor Noah dvd and just went for it. I took it nice and easy. No rush. Just wanted to get to the end. I was tired after a long week but got a nice high from the run. Also proud that I did 7 km during the week!
Saturday, 17th March: Rest Day/ Meltdown. I had not hopped on the scale in MONTHS. This journey has always been about getting fitter rather than losing weight. But of course there has always been that hope that weight loss would follow. Well. Confident after a good week of training I hopped on to that dreaded thing. My word. How upset I was. I weighed MORE than I did this time last year. But how could that be? My clothes fit better. I feel healthier. I crumbled. There alone in the bathroom I cried. My husband Ditiro found me in tears. He then said I needed another metric of success. I need to look at how much stronger I am now and what I can do that I never believed I could before. His words helped a little bit but it was only the following day that they truly sunk in.
Sunday, 18th March: Long Run, 2:04:42, 15 km. I had done three 15 km runs before BUT all as races, the one where I got mugged mid-race, the one where I thought I was lost for most of it, and my last race of 2017. And for all three I had never managed to run the whole distance without walking. This time I did run the whole distance and so comfortably! I even had more in the tank when I was done. I ran with my cousin Tapiwa and it was so much fun. What a great feeling! I also wanted to test out some fueling options – so alongside my usual water bottle, I carried some hydration salts and some sweets. I had a feeling I would need something after we passed the 12 km point. But in the end, I managed the whole distance with just my water. On the drive home, I thought “I just did a 15 km run without walking.” I felt strong. And then Ditiro’s words in the bathroom came back. “You need another metric for success”. This was it. I had just run my longest distance ever. That was my true metric of success. Not some arbitrary number on a scale.
Monday, 19th March: Rest Day.
Tuesday, 20th March: Gym, The Grid, 1 hr. I worked hard and I am seeing lots of improvement. For the first time, I actually did a couple of correct box jump squats! My “shuffle” across a high step was really good. My high knees across some hurdles were very poor. But overall, I held my own in class today!
Wednesday, 21st March: Treadmill, Tempo Run, 30:08 min, 4.38 km. I was forced to use the treadmill as it was raining. Played some good music and loved my tempo intervals!
Thursday, 22nd March: Gym, Pilates, 1 hr. With our usual instructor not there, we did a combination of Power Yoga and Pilates. It was my first time doing power yoga and it was intense! I do prefer pilates but I still had a good class.
Friday, 23rd March: Treadmill, Easy Run, 35:45 min, 5 km. This was supposed to be a Fartlek Run but after a horrible day and 1.5 hours in traffic driving home, I just didn’t have the heart to do it. But I didn’t want to give up on the run altogether. So I did 35 min Easy. I struggled to put one foot in front of the other but got to the end. My left foot was sore. I think I must have pulled something in power yoga. Also my left hamstring was uncomfortable and my right calf muscle was tight. So I had a good stretch after my run.
Saturday, 24th March: Rest Day
Sunday, 25th March: Race Day. 1:14:44, 10 km. As part of my training I did a 10 km race, my first of the year! Last year I ran this course in 1:15:11 so I wanted a better time this year. I did get a better time, but I had hoped for it to be an even bigger difference! What I will say though is I ran a strong and comfortable race and my pace was the fastest its been for a long distance run this year. I finished strong with my last km pace being 06:37 min/km. I do wish I had a better time to show for all my training efforts this year. I am wondering whether I didn’t unleash all I had during the race? Maybe I need to push that accelerator a bit earlier on? More on that when I put up my race recap!
Mileage last 2 weeks: 46.05 km
Mileage this training cycle: 168.77 km
Gym Classes last 2 weeks: 4
Grade: A (Gave it my all these last two weeks. Just need to be a bit more patient with myself and my progress)