I planned to sign up for the Bear Chase Race 10k this coming September, on the 25th. This is part of a whole weekend “endurance festival” of 100k, 50k, and 50m trail races on Saturday, then a half marathon and 10k on Sunday. They call the 10k the “Baby Bear”! The longest race I’ve done so far is a 5k. And, just to be clear, these “races” are NOT races for me. They are just big group runs. But, for some reason, I still get nervous even thinking about signing up for them! And, increasing the distance just makes it worse! Like I’ve said, I don’t go very far, but I don’t go very fast, either! But, just to see if I could finish the 10k before they dismantled the finish line, I looked up the time of the DFL finisher for each of the last few years and then went out and did my own 10k. It wasn’t on the same course, but did have a little more elevation gain than the race and was mostly on trails, like the race. I was able to walk/run it in a little less than 1.5 hours, which is about 30 minutes before DFL in the past few years. And, I still felt pretty good. Not sure that I could have done another 10k right then, but I’m sure I could have done another mile or two. (For anyone metrically challenged, a 10k is about 6.2 miles. So, another 10k would have been 12.4 miles, compared to 13.1 miles in a half marathon.) So, when I logged in to sign up for the 10k, the half-marathon seemed so much more in my grasp and it just clicked in my mind to do it instead. It’s been awhile since I did something that was a real challenge for me and I’m excited for it!
Training-wise, my initial plan was just to increase my running time over the next few weeks. My normal running routine up until last week when I signed up was to shoot for two 30+ minute runs through the work week and then one 45+ minute run on the weekends. Most of the time, that ended up actually being two 30+ minute runs throughout the week. My initial plan was to just increase that, gradually working up to at least two 45+ minutes runs with a 1.5 hour run on the weekends. And then I went on a 10 mile trail run, my longest and hardest run to date. That changed my perspective somewhat. I’ll post about it soon, but suffice to say that while I had plenty of energy for the trip, my legs were in rough shape at the end. That run was about 3.5 miles shorter than the half marathon will be, but had well over twice the elevation gain, so it isn’t a perfect measure. But, I think it’s close enough to let me know that I need to focus more on running hills, both up and down. I’m still not convinced that I (or almost anyone, really) need an extensive, detailed training plan, though. But, as much as I hate to admit it, I may need to add a buzzword to my training – “hill repeats”. So, my current plan for 1/2 marathon training is going to be two-fold. First, I still think I’ll get the biggest benefit overall just by increasing my time on my feet. I’m not looking for a podium finish, I’m just hoping to not finish dead last. I need to get in the mindset of running for 3 hours (yes, to any of you smartasses out there – that IS for a half!) more than I need to work at running fast for 3 hours. So, I’ll keep the overall time goals. But, the legs! I have to get that work in. I’ll continue my body weight exercises and keep working on my core, but I need to find a good hill to spend some time running up and down. Or a nice long route on one somewhere.