Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What's Next?

Tough Mudder is over, so what now? You know me; I can't be without a fitness goal.

As it got into the latter weeks of the Tough Mudder training, I was running around 20 miles a week and doing long runs in the eight and nine mile range. That's because I took some of my Tough Mudder training from a half marathon training schedule. I'm currently in pretty good shape with my running. With this in mind, I decided I should build on this fitness and run a half marathon. I'm already most of the way trained.

I will be taking part in the 3rd Annual Gulf Beach Half Marathon. The event is coming up very soon on Saturday, September 14 -- just four weeks away. The run takes place in Milford, Connecticut, around a thirty minute drive from my hometown. The course is touted as the most gorgeous and flattest in Connecticut and winds along the beaches in Milford.

I'm very curious to see how it stacks up against the Hogsback Half Marathon that I did in Colebrook last year, as that was a beautiful and very flat course that snaked through many lovely state parks and conservation areas. That was also very well organized -- a great experience. (I would have done it again, except that one of my best friends is getting married that day.) For comparison, I'm eager to see how I enjoy the Gulf Beach Half Marathon.

In terms of training, I plan to do the last four weeks of Hal Higdon's Half Marathon -- Novice 1 training program. I used this program to train for Hogsback and liked how it allowed me to prepare for a half marathon while still allowing me lots of days free to cross-train and enjoy the other non-running activities I love so much. The only modification I'm making to Higdon's program is to have my four long runs be 7, 8, 9, and 10 miles for weeks 8 - 11 (starting with this past Saturday when I did the 7 mile run). Higdon's program has a 10K race thrown in for week 9, which I'm going to skip in favor of a longer run.

Since the half marathon course is going to be so flat, I've been doing a lot of running along the bike path, which is around a mile from my house.

Also, for variety, I've been enjoying the many trails and conservation areas that are adjacent to the bike path. On my long runs, I allow myself to explore, which keeps things motivating and interesting. I don't need to do trail running for the half marathon, but since trails are more challenging than roads, my guess is if anything it will help my training not hinder it. I got to enjoy some time on the Robert Frost trail during my run this Saturday.

So far things are going well with the training. As with my training for Hogsback, I am using run/walk intervals on some of my longer runs. I'm not sure if I will always do run/walk intervals or phase it out at some point. I am not what you might call a "serious" runner -- I just run for fun -- and I find I enjoy doing the run/walk intervals. I feel like I'm getting good exercise when I'm using that strategy, so I figure I might as well keep doing it.

I'm looking forward to the race next month and will hopefully have a fun time doing it!

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