This year will be my 3rd year running the Heartland 39.3 series. The first year I ran was definitely a learning experiences.
I had never run a half-marathon before (hell I had never run more than 7.5 miles at that point) and signed up to run 3 in the span of 5 weeks....that was smart :)
I followed Hal Higdon's half-marathon plan "loosely" and didn't have much of a time goal...except for after my final training run leading into the first race I was on pace to run a 1:50ish half-marathon...so that may or may not have been in the back of my mind :)
Race day came and I hit a wall like you wouldn't believe. I managed a sub 2 (1:56) but was miserable the entire race. The next race in the series was total euphoria. I ran a 1:48 and felt amazing the whole time...minus the hail that greeted me at the finish line ;) The final race was more like the first...hell.
When I finished the Heartland 39.3 that first year I was proud, of course...but left feeling like I could do more.
Last year when I signed I up I decided that I would in fact do more. I created my own training plan (a mix of Hal Higdon intermediate and RunKeeper advanced) and set to work on getting myself ready to run a sub 1:45.
During that training cycle I also incorporated some Beachbody PiYo which had just come out and seemed to be geared towards runners. I had struggled with Piriformis syndrome in the fall and fell short of my marathon goal so I knew I needed something to keep me injury free!
I trained harder than I ever had...focused on nutrition (and lost about 5lbs) and was able to smash my goal! Not only did I run a sub 1:45 (1:42) I was able to run 3-sub 1:45s in 5 weeks!
Last year's Heartland Series left me on cloud 9 :)
This year I threw around the idea of just taking it easy this year and just race for fun (and the 3rd year finisher's jacket, of course!)
Race for fun? Could I Miss Competitive do that?
Of course not!!! So here I am setting another big goal that I will undoubtedly be cursing myself for this spring ;)
Honestly though...I don't know how to train for a race without a goal in mind...if I did that chances are I wouldn't take it seriously...and I might not even run...so setting a goal is a must!
I have some big plans in place for training and I can't wait to share them with you...and yes...you will have to wait until later this week because this post ended up a lot wordier than planned :)