This page has moved to a new address.

Gasparilla Recap: Part 2: Preparation

La Petite Maison Verte: Gasparilla Recap: Part 2: Preparation

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Gasparilla Recap: Part 2: Preparation

I hope you enjoyed my full recap of the race experience I posted about on Monday.  As promised, I am writing a mini-series of posts about the entire experience, from how I started running to the actual running of my first race.

My posts are going to be a little out of order, since I really wanted to talk about the race itself first.  Today, I'm going to talk about the training and preparation that goes into getting ready to run a race.  I know everybody will have a different starting point and a different goal in mind when they sign up for a race, this is just my experience. 

I was never a runner.  I can not remember a time in my life that I have run more than one mile at a time.  Growing up with asthma, I always had a hard time participating in sports or keeping up with my peers in Phys Ed.  It didn't help, also, that I was 30 pounds overweight.  That made me deeply unhappy.  I wanted to be able to run more than a few minutes without having to stop because I was out of breath.  And not just to be able to run, but to enjoy it.

I started to go running with Brian last November.  Back then, I would run for as long as I could, then stop and walk until I regained enough breath to run again.  Eventually, I was able to run 1 mile, then 1 1/2, then 2.  Slowly but steadily, I increased my distance until finally, I ran 3 miles without stopping.  On that day, I realized that I could run a 5K!  Me! 

It was around the time that I first ran 3 miles that I decided I would run a 10K this year.  I knew I could already run a 5K, it might not be fast and I might not look pretty doing it but I could get the job done.  Brian agreed to help me train, even though he was overqualified for the job, having completed three marathons himself.  But he was up for the challenge, and some days it was a major challenge, as Brian had to convince me that I could run farther, I could run faster, I could run longer.

At the end of January, I registered for the Gasparilla 8K.  It wasn't the 10K I was hoping for but I knew I would have another chance for that later (Gasparilla had a 5K and a 15K in addition to a half marathon and 8K)  I just wanted a real goal I could work towards and achieve.  The 5K didn't appeal to me because I knew I could already do it.  The 8K (4.9 miles) was a distance I had never run in my life, but one that I thought I could achieve in the 9 weeks that remained until the race.

Brian came up with a program that also incorporated resistance training in the gym, since I had told him I also wanted to work on strength while tackling running as well.  It looked like this:

Week     Sunday     Monday     Tuesday     Wednesday     Thursday        Friday             Saturday

   1          Rest            Gym        3 m run          Gym              Gym         3 m run RP      4x400 (8:00)
   2          Rest            Gym       3.5 m run        Gym              Gym         3 m run RP      6x400 (8:00)
   3          Rest            Gym         4 m run         Gym              Gym        3.5 m run RP    4x600 (8:00)
   4          Rest            Rest            Rest             Rest              Rest               Rest                  Rest
   5          Rest            Gym        4.5 m run       Gym              Gym          4 m run RP      4x400 (7:30)
   6          Rest            Gym         5 m run         Gym              Gym          4 m run RP      6x400 (7:30)
   7          Rest            Gym         6 m run         Gym              Gym          4 m run RP      4x400 (7:00)
   8          Rest            Gym         7 m run         Gym              Gym          4 m run RP      6x400 (7:00)
   9          Rest            Gym            Rest           Gym              Gym          3 m run RP        6x400 (RP)

On "Gym" days, I did strength workouts from Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer or BodyRock workouts. "RP" days on Friday refers to "Race Pace" so I would run the designated distance at around a 9:00 min/mile pace.  Saturdays were my speed work (Interval) days and Sundays were glorious rest days.

Unfortunately, with my left ankle tendonitis and right foot pain from my bunion that occurred around Week 4, the so-carefully crafted plan had to change.  I completely cut out BodyRock since I was unsure if that had contributed to the pain (I started getting pain during one of those workouts) and I had to completely STOP running for THREE weeks.  That was THREE weeks of torture - I desperately wanted to get back to running because I had already registered for the race and I felt like all my hard work was just dissolving away.  I was so worried that I would lose the endurance and speed I had worked so hard on.

But I did rest.  I started using ice and NSAIDs that my doctor prescribed, stretching my calves and legs and getting calf massages from my own personal massage therapist/trainer/husband (Brian).  Once my pain resolved, I wasted no time getting back into running but I cut out the speed work days - at that point, with less than 3 weeks until the race, I didn't care how fast I ran, I just wanted to run the entire 5 mile course without stopping.

Up until the race, I had NEVER actually run 5 miles.  My longest training run had been 4 miles so I didn't know if I would be able to do it on race day.  All along I kept telling myself "It's only your first race.  If you have to walk at the end, it's OK.  There will be more races in the future."  But deep down inside I knew that I would push myself to the very limit of my physical ability on race day because I had set a goal.  And once I set a goal, I stick to it.

Two days before the race I went for my last training run:  an easy 3 mile run around my neighborhood. I didn't have any foot pain and I was able to keep a consistent 9 min/mile pace.  I made sure to stretch really well afterwards and again the following day.  At the same time, I made sure to get carbohydrates, protein and fat at every meal for the week leading up to the race.  That is the way I eat all the time, regardless of training for a race, but I just made sure to be vigilant about my intake of good sources of carbohydrates especially.  I also made sure to hydrate really, really well Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning.

On the morning of the race, I got up at 6 am  so I could have breakfast and coffee, as that is my usual routine.  I started hydrating with water first thing when I got up and made oatmeal for breakfast, which I ate out of an almost-empty peanut butter jar (SO GOOD!).

1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup water
1/3 cup egg whites
1/2 ripe banana
peanut butter
small handful cinnamon-sugar roasted pecans

Plus 1 1/2 cups of coffee and three cups of water.

Let me know if you have any specific questions about my training or preparation for the race.  

Stay tuned for my next installment in the series, Part 3:  My Gear/What I Wore!


Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home