The last few months have been messy. In October I was ready to crush my half marathon PB, but I crashed halfway through. Pain in my knee, but my physical therapist later determined that the problem was in my hips/back. Lots of sessions followed, but not much changed. My runs got shorter and slower each week. I went from running 80K in September, to 60K in October, 30K in November and 20K in December.
After a while I didn’t dare to push myself anymore, afraid I’d be in pain for several days again, just because I wanted to run. During these months, work was also extra stressful and that probably didn’t help either. But running is my outlet, my stress-reliever, I feared that without running my stress would only get worse. I finally found a modus that worked for me: short runs, with planned run-walk-run intervals of 3 minutes running and 30 seconds walking. Not what I was used to, not where I wanted to be, but it was better as nothing. I was running and I wasn’t in pain afterwards. I’m calling that improvement.
I’m slowly starting to look forward again. I’ve gone back to running three times a week and even finished my first long run in months (in the snow!). I no longer need planned walkbreaks, but still sometimes walk a bit in between. My running mojo and excitement is back, but I still can’t push it too hard. That’s why I’ve decided not to focus on speed for the next weeks/months and just work to slowly build up my distance. I decided to start a new Garmin Coach plan to keep me going:
Coach: Greg McMillan
Distance: Half marathon
I’ve already completed two half marathon plans with Coach Greg and one with Coach Amy, but they’ve all been with a time goal. I was well trained when I started these plans and ready to push myself. That’s not where I am right now. My fitness has declined a lot in the last months and I’m still not ready to go all out. But, I want (need?) the structure of a training plan. It helps me to stay consistent and motivated, it pushes me out the door on days I may not feel like it.
The first step of the Garmin Coach plan is a five minute benchmark run. I’ve done many already and I always like to compare my results. For the most part because I saw improvements each time. This time it’s different, but I’m making the comparison anyway.
January 15th 2019: 7:15 min/km, 0,69 km
May 2nd 2019: 6:37 min/km, 0,76 km
May 31st 2019: 6:38 min/km, 0,75 km
September 25th 2019: 6:31 min/km, 0,77 km
October 28th 2019: 6:17 min/km, 0,80 km
March 15th 2020: 5:59 min/km, 0,84 km
June 14th 2020: 6:01 min/km, 0,83 km
November 5th 2020: 6:09 min/km, 0,81 km
This plan started on February 17th at an average pace of 7:00 min/km.
Almost my slowest benchmark. A soft voice in my head is trying to tell me, my fitness decline might not be as bad as I think. On Sunday I was running at a windchill of -6°C, this benchmark was three days later at 10°C. Maybe I was still adjusting to this sudden appearence of spring? I guess we’ll know in a few days.
For now I’m just really excited to be starting a new training plan. I have a goal, structure and determination!