After my less-than-stellar performance at the Statesman 10K and a month of very inconsistent running, I wasn’t feeling very sure about how to proceed with my training. Part of me was tempted to dive headfirst into hard track workouts and 6 days a week of running and 40+ miles total per week. The more rational part of me knew that that was a horrible idea. I’m running 3 races in May: a 5K tomorrow, a 5K on the 10th, and an 8K on the 24th. I still really, really want to eke out a sub-22:00 5K but that’s not a reasonable goal right now. Rome wasn’t built in a day and PRs are rarely run after two or three weeks of training.
The other issue, of course, is that I don’t want to end up injured for the better part of the year like I was in 2014. I set 10K, 10 mile, and half marathon PRs in a little under 3 months but it was too much too soon and it eventually caught up to me. Something I have a hard time remembering sometimes is the fact that I’ve been running since I was 15 (which is, erm, half my life). But that period includes several multi-year stretches of little to no running (or physical activity in general). I’ll save my long on-off relationship for another post (or multiple posts– pageclick$, y’all! Just kidding, no one reads my blog). The point is that my most recommitment to running only goes back to the beginning of 2013, so I don’t have years of consistent miles and long runs under my belt right now.
So: how can I work on getting faster and stronger without injuring myself? An obvious option would be a coach or running group, but neither of those is a feasible option right now for reasons I’ll get to in a bit. Recently I read about RunCoach on SF Road Warrior and was immediately intrigued. There are lots of details in her post (and on the actual website) but the basic idea is that you choose a goal race 4+ weeks out and it creates a workout schedule for you based on your goal race, recent mileage, and recent race results. I’m using the most basic plan right now because I can’t justify spending anything more on top of a gym membership and the volume of medical bills that have trickled in after my ER visit (reason #1 why a coach is out of the question right now).
I’ve been using RunCoach for 3 weeks now and really like it overall. I’m not sure that I will use it forever but I think it’s a good option for right now. Here are some observations:
- The first week I used it was right after the Statesman 10K and it wanted me to only do easy running and to do 7 miles @ 9:15 pace on 5 days. I stuck with 35 miles for the week and was mostly around the target pace but I knew running the same mileage every day would bore me to tears. I shortened a few of the weekday runs and then ran 11 miles around Lady Bird Lake over the weekend and it was glorious.
- I love that the workouts give me specific paces. Instead of “run 5 x 1200m @ 5K pace” I get “run 5 x 1200m @ 7:30 pace”. I think this is really good for me right now because I have a tendency to run my workouts too fast.
- I like that I can link RunCoach with Garmin Connect.
- I wish it were easier to change my schedule. When you sign up you indicate which days of the week you want to run and which day(s) are for cross-training/strength/rest. Right now I have Monday set as a rest day and Wednesday as a strength day but typically I prefer to take a rest day whichever day(s) I feel like it and sometimes I’ll run in the morning and then lift in the evening. RunCoach doesn’t seem to be able to handle the concept of two different workouts on the same day. This isn’t a huge deal but it means that RunCoach yells at me when I run on my designated no running days.
I guess we’ll see tomorrow if it’s working! I will be running the Silicon Labs Sunshine Run 5K. The course is supposed to be pretty fast but I still feel like my speed work’s been lacking compared to the beginning of this year. I would be elated with sub-23:00 but I think sub-24:00 is more likely.
Related to the topic of a reset: I will be starting a new job at the beginning of June. I’m making the jump from a pretty small (<50 employees) company to a massive international company. It’s a little intimidating but I’m very, very excited about the opportunity. The hours will almost certainly better than my current work and the benefits are great. My current health insurance is pretty bare bones, which was fine until I had to go to the ER. I’m not anticipating any more ER trips soon but it’s a relief to know I won’t have to essentially cover everything out of pocket again. However, I will dearly miss my current 5 minute commute– Current Job is practically down the street but New Job is impossible to get to without highway driving (eek). So that’s reason #2 why a coach or running group is off the table for right now: I’m not sure what my daily schedule will look like at New Job, so I’m hesitant to commit to anything.
Back tomorrow with a race recap!