Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Finding the Penguin

Once I had decided to shoot for the Princess Half Marathon, I did the first thing that I do when I tackle any new project: hit the library for books! Our library had a number of books on marathon training, but when I read them they again seemed to be geared towards hard-core runners. I thought I found success with the one called The Non-Runners Marathon Guide for Women: Get Off Your Button and On With Your Training. However, once I started reading it, the style just turned me off.

I had come across a title called Marathoning For Mortals by John Bingham, and put it on hold. By the time I had read, and been disappointed with, all the other titles, Marathoning for Mortals had come in!

Within the first chapter, I was reaching for my sticky notes to mark passages to copy! This "Penguin" (John Bingham's nickname, given to himself when he saw him own reflection while running and realized he resembled a penguin) was amazing! He was encouraging to those of us who were starting this "athletic" thing as adults. We could go slow? We SHOULD go slow? We could even walk when we need to? (Ok, so that last part was a little challenging to accept, but that's OK! LOL)

I was hooked on the Penguin's style immediately!! I decided that I would use his "Run a Half Marathon" plan for my training! It is a 14 week program so got out my planner and counted backwards from the race. I would need to start on the Monday after Thanksgiving. I was still finishing up the kids' training for their 5K, but luckily the first 2 weeks of the program was about the same level the kids were running at the time.

The plan includes 3 running days: 1 easy run, 1 easy run followed by form drills, and 1 endurance run. The form drills are where you build up your pace for 30 seconds while focusing on keeping proper form and quick footstrike. It's a LOT of fun!

There are also 2 cross-training days. I chose to add biking (which deserves its own post), and my adult beginner ballet class. On the days when I can't bike, I do exercise DVDs. I would also like to add swimming in, but I am having a hard time getting to the pool. My cross-training day happens to fall on our busiest day of the week.

I am currently in week 9 of the program! It's really hard to believe that I'm that far along already! This weekend I will be running my longest run EVER - 8 miles!! The program has been really good so far, though I have noticed over the last 2 weeks that I'm getting more sore! :) But I'm becoming more confident in my abilities to run the entire 13.1 miles! And as I've learned, long-distance running (at least for me) is as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one!

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