Here we go!

Run no farther or faster than you have to

This is my Principle #1, which I’m remembering as I set my distance for this morning’s run. Today marks the first day of my training runs, with yesterday being the first “official” (rest) day of my 22-week marathon program – yay for rest days, especially at the start of a new program! I have a feeling I’ll be cherishing rest days in coming weeks. Each week I’ll be focusing on a new training principle.

Today’s distance: 4 miles.

Remainder of week:

Wednesday: 6 miles
Thursday: 4 miles
Friday: 6 miles
Saturday: 3 miles
Sunday: 8 miles

This week’s goal: Assess my response to more training days and mileage per week 

Back to that principle: Lisa, the coach I’m working with, says it’s about striving for optimal benefits with the least amount of work. “For example, if you could run a five-minute mile with one program that took 30 miles a week or another program that took 80 miles a week, which would you choose?” she asks. “The answer’s a no-brainer, of course, but many runners nonetheless train too hard and too inefficiently. The outcome to training too hard is worse performances, not better ones.”

Lisa tells me this week’s set mileage and approach will allow me to work toward cutting out the waste, maximizing improvement and minimizing injuries. All sounds great to me.

“A corollary to this rule,” she adds, “is whenever you do a workout, know what you’re trying to achieve. Is it endurance? Speed? Running economy? If you’re training intelligently, you’ll know the answer before you begin to sweat.”

As I head out on a familiar route that winds through downtown neighborhoods and the Village Commons area, I remind myself to start out nice and easy, to not go out too fast — which I’m learning I have a tendency to do. The first 8-10 minutes should be about easing into a run, I recall Lisa telling me. I remind myself of my goal, to not push it too hard and complete these four miles feeling good.

I’m feeling strong this morning, no doubt in part to the fact that I haven’t run since Friday of last week. (Yep, I had lots and lots of birthday fun this weekend!) But the weather also is ideal today; mid-20s, no wind. When I hit the four-mile mark, part of me wanted to keep going – and I did go a tad longer, since I wasn’t yet at my car. But the words “no farther than you have to” flashed through my mind and I spent the final couple of blocks walking and cooling down.

This morning a friend who knows I’m starting this training asked if I felt it was hard to get motivated to run when it’s cold outside. So far, that’s yet to prove an obstacle for me, thank goodness. But I do worry about fitting it all in…But if I start thinking too much about it, how I’ll manage six days of training this coming week while juggling a 10-day school break, holiday preparations, work and getting together with family and friends, I’ll overwhelm myself.

So, it’s one day at a time. And today I did it, I ran. I reached my goal.

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