Training for a race is a little like dieting. Things start out really great. You’ve got lots of motivation. You’re high on the goal. You’ve got your plans laid out in front of you and you’re ready to check things off your list. You bump along the first few weeks and things don’t seem so hard. A little extra veggies, yogurt instead of ice cream, shorter runs that get you moving, but don’t kick your ass.
“This is very doable, ” you say to yourself.
Oh, but wait, let’s add a layer….I should say that training for a race in the summer is like dieting in the summer! Twice as hard. There is so much to run and so much to eat. Your only hope is doing a lot of both and pray it all evens out.
For dieting or running in the summer, here’s what you need:
I love a good plan. People often say I’m organized. I had a boss in the Air Force who told me once, “Wow, you really know all about management by objective!” “Of course!” I told him, “My mother taught me how to make a great list.” There’s nothing prettier than a yellow legal pad with a long list of to-do items all neatly crossed out. When it comes to my running, however, I prefer to have someone else be the list-maker and the task-master. Enter awesome coach Cathie Twomey Bellamy of Eugene Running Club. She REALLY knows me. She knows I’m a busy momma, so she adds in the “crazy” factor, she knows if she gives me a range of 6-8 miles to run that it will be 8. She knows that if she gives me a hilly day, that it will be mountains. And, like a diet, she knows I sometimes cheat. Type A that I am, it’s usually more instead of less. But she knows that too, adds that in, subtracts two, divides by 7 and spits out the perfect plan for me week after week. Right now, she’s got me on some fun weekend runs gearing up for the Eugene Women’s Half that involve 1/2 marathon pace miles. Hard. These are hard, people. But very satisfying. Knowing I can run extended miles at my goal pace builds fitness, but also confidence. It’s true, to run faster you have to run faster. At least, that’s the plan!
People say that if you have a goal, you should find people around you that are supportive. Done! My RMR crew of friends are absolutely the best cheerleaders ever. We even wear skirts! (Running skirts, of course, but very cheerleader-ish). And there is no better feeling than having someone to pound out the miles with or offer high fives and sweaty hugs at the end of a race. They wait for you at the wee hours, making sure you show up, they don’t judge you when you fall off the horse. I love this photo of my friends Sarah and Jessicca after the Eugene Women’s Half in 2010. This says it all.
The Occasional Treat
I would not do well working in a cheese factory. Anyone who knows me knows I will do ANYTHING for good cheese. I used to reward myself with a hunk of stinky blue after any run over 10 miles. (Once I started running long distances, this little system quickly became a problem, so now I just treat myself once in a while.) Anyway, along with surrounding yourself with the things that will be conducive to helping you succeed, sometimes you just need a little treat. For me, that means, in the middle of training, I have to veer off course and plunge into a space or place that I really love. Yep, I’m training for a fast 1/2 marathon, but there’s no way I’m going to give up ice cream, uh, I mean trail running! Hitting the McKenzie River Trail with 4 of my favorite people, was like having a giant blob of stink cheese delivered to my door. Well, you know what I mean.
A Solid Goal
What’s in it for you? What’s the icing on the cake? How will this work make you feel at the end? Setting goals can be a tough part of training. I recommend setting at least three time goals and 3 other goals. For example, I have a time that I would REALLY love to hit, I have a time that I will be happy with and I have a time that, well, might just have to do and I will try to be ok with it. Then, I have other goals like fueling well, having fun, being in the moment, grabbing all the goodies at the end, being there for friends, smiling for the camera as I cross the finish in hopes I don’t look like I’m dying.
Summer is going by too fast. We talk a lot about that here in Eugene because the winter is soooo long and we’ve learned to really appreciate the sunny, dry days. Setting yourself up with a goal in the summer is great and I’m so stoked that I picked the Eugene Women’s Half. 13.1 miles is such a perfect distance. You have to work and train for it, but you still have time to enjoy the other parts of summer; like trails, and friends and…. cheese!
How is your summer? How is training going?