Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Rock 'n Roll St. Louis training update

Halfway through our 12-week training plan for the Rock 'n Roll St. Louis half marathon, things are rocking and rolling along.  We suffered through a few sweltering long runs in late August, but what else should we expect in the steamy Midwest?

Last weekend, we were blessed with an amazingly wonderful long run.  With 8 miles on the docket and a weekend of wall-to-wall activities, we set off on our long run at 5:15 on Sunday morning.  The air was perfect - crisp, cool, and clean - and the miles felt effortless.  We combined a few of our usual neighborhood routes while the conversation flowed and our feet floated through the miles.  (Or nearly floated: after running these roads several times per week, how did I still manage to find not one but two potholes?!)  I felt healthy, strong, and unstoppable throughout the run.  I was a bit sad to see it end, knowing that such runs are few and far between.

Insert my foot here.  Twice.  Le sigh...

We've interspersed a bit of speedwork into our training, varying between hills, intervals, and fartleks.  The speed sessions have added a new challenge to our usual runs, but the jury is still out on whether we are actually gaining any velocity.  When the cooler weather comes to stay, we may see some noticeable difference; at the moment, we look consistent but not extra speedy.

I've been far less diligent with strength training than I was during my last training cycle.  In the winter, I did strength circuits twice per week through the duration of the training plan.  This time, I've averaged about once per week on strength, but I've incorporated more yoga.  My body feels happier when I practice yoga regularly, and I love the chance to relax and focus on taking a slower pace.  Yoga and running are saving my sanity these days!  Though I could certainly stand to do more squats, lunges, and planks, I'm overall rather satisfied with this cycle's cross-training.

Five and a half weeks until race day, and I feel far more confident than I did at this time in my last training cycle.  Now that I know I can cover the distance, the race feels a bit less scary.  It's certainly not a gimme, but I know both my body and my mind have the strength to run 13.1 miles.  I'm more excited than terrified, looking forward to the crowds, the bands, and the other runners.  Anything can happen, especially with several more long runs to tackle, but I'm feeling optimistic and hopeful for good weather and a terrific race day.  Bring it on!