If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, you know that I have been making “lemonade out of lemons” (foreshadowing… stay tuned) with this COVID, stay at home, quarantine situation we have going on. I have taken the time to figure out what type of training, what type of running works best for me without much outside influence. I want to share about that change in my virtual and real life.
The very last time I ran with another person when all of this started was March 16th. It had been a stressful 5 days leading up to that point… from the first COVID cases showing up in Michigan, to finding out my husband was out of work indefinitely, to rumors of shut down and quarantine on the horizon. I went for a run with my friend Jenny. I think she needed to run 5 miles and although that wasn’t what I had planned, I just needed to RUN. We shared a cute “socially distanced” picture after the run.
From that point until June, I ran, walked or biked every mile solo. I went from training for a 25k, to training for an ultra, to deciding not to do an ultra, to deciding to run the 25k I had planned anyway. In May I did a run streak. And in June, I started my marathon training plan.
Things shifted in my virtual life as much as they did in my real life. Running on my own was teaching me to listen to my body, my heart, and my head. This led to me leaving most of the running groups that I was part of on Facebook. I stayed in a few: Still I Run and its associated groups/pages, my Challenge 365 2020 group, and the Detroit Marathon Runners group. While I said earlier that I have been doing what works best for me without much influence, I can’t deny that posts and people in these groups have been an inspiration to me.
The type of training that I have been doing has been inspired by my Challenge 365 2020 group. This group is run by a running coach, Coach Jenny Hadfield. After my 2019 marathon training got, well, pretty messed up, I found her training plans and followed one to complete my training for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. Her plans are based on rate of perceived exertion, or RPE – she calls it “zone running” where your yellow zone is an easy, conversational pace, orange zone is a little tougher and you can only speak a few words at a time, and red zone is all out hard pace where talking is nearly impossible. Most of the runs in her plans are time versus distance, which I really have come to prefer. The plans of hers that I have used have incorporated 2 days of cross training and 4 days of running – only one run per week is a prescribed mileage. It’s easier for me to know how to fit my workouts into my schedule, and by using the zones instead of pace I feel less defeated when things like heat and humidity challenge me. Gone are the days of me aiming for a certain number of miles per month – this way of training has been easier on my mind and body.
This group has also given me ideas for other goals to work on outside of just running, as well as some fun running goals. Currently the group is doing a summertime 5k series. There are 5 different races and they each have a different goal. For the next race, The Lemonade 5k (there’s where your foreshadowing was supposed to take you!) we have to run negative splits, predict our finish time, and predict each mile time. The person who guesses the closest wins! I’ve done a prediction race before and it is a lot of fun – for the one I did locally, we couldn’t wear a watch or carry our phone. Here’s my Lemonade 5k predicted time: 37:17 (overall pace of 12:00 min/mile – a little bit of a push from my normal easy pace). Mile 1 goal: 12:09, Mile 2 goal: 12:00, Mile 3 goal: 11:52. I’ll let you know how close I get next week – my plan is to run this Friday morning!
Finally, I have drawn inspiration from the Detroit Marathon Runners page. While a lot of runners have expressed frustration with not knowing if the race will be canceled, if we will have a virtual option, etc. there have been a few that have posted super positive messages that have influenced my decision to run a marathon this year, no matter which one it is, where it happens, or how it happens. One runner has been sharing his training with a vlog, which I thoroughly enjoy! He ran his first marathon last year and has decided that he will run a virtual marathon this year rather than doing Detroit in person, even if it is an option. When I first saw his vlog I thought there would be no way that I would want to do a virtual marathon. Then I saw another runner who wrote that she would do a virtual marathon because doing it would be challenging, and having a medal and swag to represent that race and remember the hard work put in during a difficult time would be priceless. I loved her way of thinking, and that sealed the deal for me, as you know if you have read my previous posts.
I will run a marathon in 2020, one way or another.
And I want to share my journey with my followers through this blog – maybe even a vlog like Aaron’s – the guy that I found in the Detroit Marathon Runners group on Facebook. You can of course always catch my updates on my Instagram, but stay tuned for a little bit more detail and oversharing on here!