What’s Next

Short-term edition.

With the Chicago Marathon well in my rearview mirror, it’s now time for me to focus on the remainder of my running calendar for the year because surprise! The marathon wasn’t the end game this year! Well, I suppose the marathon was my end game, at least from a goals standpoint, but I have three (!) more races coming up before I can officially go into hibernation mode.

I registered for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon last year, but due to being booted, wasn’t able to run. This year, I successfully completed the marathon without stress reacting/fracturing my foot or peroneal tendinitis-ing my peroneal tendon, so I plan to do the race this year. While it’s perhaps possible that I could ride out my marathon fitness for five weeks and still complete a half marathon, it didn’t feel particularly likely that I could do that, and even if I somehow could do it, I have very strong doubts that I would enjoy doing that. Thus, a four week half marathon “training” plan was born.

My half marathon training plan is really more of a maintenance plan than anything. I took the week after the marathon off from exercise (mostly) entirely (I did go to dance on Tuesday, per usual, but I took it easy and only did what I could.) and went for my first run post-marathon the Monday of the week after the race (Oct. 16, eight days after the marathon). My half marathon maintenance plan was somewhat inspired by Hal Higdon’s HM3 program, at least from days-of-the-week-spent-running and a type-of-run perspectives. I didn’t want to jump into week nine of HM3 when I was still more or less recovering from the marathon, so I decided to ease back into things for a couple of weeks, have one “peak week” of 20ish miles the week before race week, then “taper” the week of race week. I am most certainly not hoping for a PR in Vegas, and even though I don’t really drink (even when the alcohol is free, as I learned when I went to Vegas last year), I’m not fooling myself into believing I’ll be in prime racing condition for this event. Even if I were in prime racing condition, since the event is a night(ish) race, I’m obviously going to be going into this under much different circumstances, particularly in the food/hydration/rest departments, than other half marathons. I just want to be able to finish uninjured, and I think my maintenance plan will help me accomplish that.

After the Vegas half, I have a whopping 10 days until my next race: my first ever turkey trot! My schedule worked out this year to allow me to do one, and I’m super pumped! I think it’ll be a nice way to start a day that usually involves little to no movement on my end. Again, I’m not expecting any miraculous performances here: just going out to enjoy myself and start Thanksgiving on an active note.

Two weeks after the turkey trot, I’ll wrap up my year in running with the same 5K I run every December. I actually do care about this race–care too much, one could argue–so I’m hoping that maintaining higher mileage going into it and keeping up with a little bit of speedwork will help me out. I love the idea of PRing, but I also know the weather for this event is a complete crapshoot (I’ve run it in everything from 48 and humidish to freezing and middle-of-a-snowstorm), so that’s probably a little out of the question. My goal at this race is always to place in my age group, which I’ve done every other year. Unfortunately this is an “off” year for me in terms of age group placement (historically, I’ve placed in my age group at this event during even years and gotten fourth in my age group during odd years), so we’ll have to see what happens, I guess.

As soon as I cross the finish line of that 5K, I plan to hang up my running shoes for the remainder of the year. I like to take a bit of time off every year to give myself a bit of a break in the running department, and since I know I’ll need to start officially training again at the end of January, the end of December seems like a good time to take that break (plus holidays, parties, travel, etc. etc.).

I’m hoping to incorporate more strength training into my fitness life through the end of the year, but I’ll be honest: I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to go about doing that. NTC is an option, I suppose, though I’m really not as crazy about NTC as I used to be (I still hate the updated app, even though it’s been updated for nearly a year and a half at this point.). I’d love to find some sort of strength training program that fits what I’m looking to accomplish (one to two workouts per week, ideally with a total body focus, since I expect my strength training to be so infrequent that I’d like to get the most bang for my buck in that department), but so far have just gotten overwhelmed every time I’ve tried to find something online and give up. I’m also not really looking to spend any additional money to make this happen, which limits me a bit as well. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears!

So that’s the plan for the moment. I still have some decisions to make regarding more long-term plans, but that’s another topic for another blog post 🙂

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