The Aramco Houston Half Marathon is on Sunday, and I’ve been thinking a lot about this last half Marathon Training Cycle. For starters, the cycle itself was shorter than usual; I had just finished the Route 66 Marathon Half Marathon, and I took about a week or so off from hard training. That left me with seven weeks to train, instead of my usual 10. Fortunately, starting a new half marathon training cycle so soon meant I didn’t start from the bottom.
I had to be more flexible in this half marathon training cycle. With the holidays, commitments with my family, and an in-house CrossFit competition, I found myself shifting my long runs to Thursdays. This sort of worked well: I could get in those critical long runs. However, it also meant skipping barbell class. I also would be exhausted by my tempo run in the wee hours on Saturday morning.
But being flexible with my runs wasn’t the end of the world. I had to flex, or I wouldn’t get to run. Despite the soreness and exhaustion come Saturday morning, I feel like getting in my three runs per week (even if some of them had to be cut short) has prepared me more than just doing long runs.
Long runs on Thursdays also meant that I didn’t run with a running group. Honestly, I needed the alone time. Too many people had joined the Death Star running club. I wanted to run with my splinter group, but I got into the groove of running by myself. It may seem lonely to spend two hours running, but that’s two hours where I could let my brain gnaw on problems and extract the marrow of solutions.
Also, during this training cycle, I loved almost every one of my runs. (I did not love the two long runs I did while battling a cold.) Most of the time, I felt light and free, and whatever was bothering me didn’t matter.
Overall, I think I really like having a half marathon training cycle fall smack in the middle of the holidays. It gave me a reason to get out bed, lace up my running shoes, and move forward. Traditionally, the time around Winter Solstice is difficult for me. The short days and cold temperatures make it harder to be motivated. But if I’m working toward a goal, like a half marathon, I’m more likely to do what I need to do.
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