With 12 weeks until my first real* race in quite some time, the training has now started in earnest. At the start of January I had intended to use a beginners training plan. Being fully aware that I NEVER cut myself any slack, I figured that aiming low would mean I couldn’t beat myself up about ‘failing’. However, that decision was made a month before I needed to start training properly.
What actually happened in January was surprising – to me as much as to those closest to me. I started running and swimming regularly. Something in my psyche had just switched over the Christmas break and I found myself regaining a sense of determination to train that has been absent from my training for about 6 years. I don’t care if it’s perceived to be selfish. I’ve been fed up with the status quo for too long and it’s time to force a change.
So a month in, and with some fairly decent training in the bag I had another think about my plan. A few members of the running club are pacing for the half so, depending on my target time, I could have friendly faces to run with.
This combination made me revisit the plan to see if, in reality, it was too easy.. It was… The hunt was back on for a good intermediate plan. To be honest I’ve used BUPA training plans in the past and found them pretty good. They tend to focus more on times and training styles (tempo, easy, speed) more than miles per run. Their intermediate plan looked like something I would be able to fit around the family so I’m going to run with it (pun intended – sorry!).. I can’t be totally selfish though so I have transferred the elements of the plan into a schedule that works around different commitments that the family already have.
Where it gets technical though, is when I start thinking about target times. A fellow club member provided a link to a pace calculator that allows you to set a target time and then train accordingly. I’ve seen this type of tool before but not used one, so thought I’d have a look. The results were surprising and have made me rethink my target time.
I thought 2:10 was probably as ambitious as I would want to be. It’s not a shabby time to cover 13.1 miles on foot – especially given that the route has some fairly mean hills. But when I look at the training times and compare them to my recent times… As much as I struggle to increase my short run times, I am sure I would also find it near on impossible to add 1:30-2:00 mins for my long run and easy run paces…. Cue a quick squiz at the training paces needed to aim for 2:00. That puts the long and easy run paces more firmly into my ability. However, the tempo and speed paces look less achievable…
So the dilemma – do I stick with training for the 2:10, split the difference and aim for 2:05 or just dig in and give the 2:00 training a go?
If you have experience based advice or anecdotes that may help me decide, pop them in the comments below, I’d love to read them!
* By real I am essentially writing off every event in 2015 as I was under-trained for them all and attempting to bluff my way through in the hope my pre-baby fitness was nothing short of insane!! This year it’s (a bit more) serious!