After a two-year hiatus from running, I clawed my way back to regular endurance conditioning. I run over hills in SW Pennsylvania. It took me six weeks to mail the breathing and pacing to run a mile uphill with the proper rhythm. In about another month, because it seems to take longer at this age, I will begin to make significant gains in pacing. I am still running between 8:30 and 11 minute mile paces.
I wake up and put shoes on my feet and glasses on my face. I go outside and run. Because I obsessively tracked every run I took for six years, I can pick a route and achieve a pre-determined distance.
I stopped running in 2016. In 2020 I trained up for a 10K, but I lost interest in everything because of the plague of death and anxiety sweeping the globe. I needed to keep running because I had been eating a family-sized bag of tortilla chips every day for about three months. I felt like a deep fryer. So, I ran a virtual race in a banana suit to celebrate an unhealthy loss of 35 pounds in a month. I was only eating during a six-hour window every day. That was too aggressive. I immediately quit running before I began to completely lose it.
I got Covid a few months later. It was bad. I got the shots. It was two years of trying to feel healthy again. I started running again this past summer. I had no expectations, but I remembered my training.
For three weeks, I worked my way up to a 5K without needing to stop to catch my breath. I had no lungs at first. I signed up for a race, got mine handed to me.
It felt like the proper motivation, a measure of opportunity. Like a humble clam in the sea of life and whatnot protecting the soft entrails with a gathered pearl.
I ran three times a week, Tuesday, Thursday, and either Saturday or Sunday. To cross train, one day a week I went hiking or off to play with my kids. A run on Tuesday and Thursday, one on the weekend, a long one, a longer one every week. So, after six whole weeks, I was up to a 9 mile run. The weekend run went from 4 miles to 6 miles to 9 miles. Those long miles were comfortable. Welcome home, nipple tape.
I run in old Brooks and whatever I have on during the week. I carry a water bottle, gels and a salt tablet on the weekend run. I hate running in contact lenses. I will use them through the winter if I must, on ice. I am planning to run two races this winter: a 25K run through the frozen wilderness in central PA, and a marathon to fund literacy programs in WV around Fairmont. The former is fun, albeit somewhat dangerous adventure. The latter draws some of the fastest runners in the region. Or it used to, ages ago.
But now my distance is enough that I can start to stretch the second weekday run to a 10K. So, instead of a 3.85 mile/3.85mile/10K+ weekly schedule, I begin a 4 mile/6.2mile/10mile+ schedule and hold that for a week, the have a light week, then train the weekend up to an 18 miler, with a recovery run on Monday, and a interval or strengthening routing every couple of weeks. The goal is 40-50 miles run a fortnight before a 10K or a 1/2 marathon. Then that race, the 13.1 miler will be the next time I gladly get mine handed to me.
The proper motivation is a measurable opportunity for improvement, like a purple wig clam in a borrowed shoe dancing in the sea of life, with eighteen eyes, and Lambo in storage.
So, I hope to train from zero to a half marathon, a casual half marathon, in twelve (12) weeks.