The great thing about training plans is that they can be manipulated. You should stick closely to the mileage but the times and roads/trails are always malleable. If you looked over my training plan, you saw that I had a 5 mile group run planned for today with Black Girls Run! in DC. Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately) I was up babysitting until 2:30am and didn’t get to bed until almost an hour later. Needless to say, 8am rolled around and I was nice and warm in my bed. I eventually pulled it together around 10am and realized I had absolutely no plans for the day (if you ignore the loads of homework I always have to do), so I took my time with breakfast and hung out with my brother and his girlfriend who are home from school for the weekend.
Around 2, I headed to the W&OD Trail. The trail stretches 45 miles, all the way from Loudoun County (where I live) to Alexandria (just outside of DC) and it’s one of my new favorite places to run. Somehow, even though I had eaten breakfast, by the time I got there I was already feeling hungry so I ate 3 Clif Shot Bloks. So far, out of all the “runner’s food” I’ve tried, Shot Bloks are the easiest on my stomach and they give me a fantastic burst of energy. I started off really slow because I wanted to finish strong. I told myself I wanted to finish in 1:05:00. That would require me to maintain between a 12:00-13:00 minute pace the entire time which I knew I could do. (p.s. 12:00 miles are comfortably hard for me. 13:00 miles are easy. I’m hoping that this time next year, 10:00 miles will be my version of easy but for now, this is what I’m working with.) And you know what….
I was right.
My garmin says that I ran 5 miles flat in 1:04:38. Daily mile says I did 4.99. I’m gonna average them all together and say I did what I was supposed to do. I’m really glad that I set a time goal. I know a lot of people say that beginners shouldn’t worry about speed or even mileage and I typically agree with that. But I also know that in order to improve I have to push myself every once in a while. That last mile was painful for both my lungs and my legs, but I pushed through it and I saw what I’m capable of. My goals for the RnR USA Half are completely within reach, I just have to work for them. And I will.