On the final stretch to Disney!

Well, I haven't posted anything on here since the Hot Chocolate 15K race. Life has been pretty busy recently between work, a weekend youth retreat, recovering from a cold, and other assorted tasks and obligations. But I have been able to keep to my training schedule, having run 16 miles since Nov 6th. Last week was a cutback week for me, which was nice because I was feeling a bit sick and did not feel up to a 10+ mile run last weekend (besides, that was retreat weekend so finding time to run a long distance would have been impossible).

Basically, with the exception of a couple of Turkey Trot 5K races around Thanksgiving, I am focusing on the final two months before my Disney World Half Marathon. It is time to knuckle down and focus on my training schedule, run smart in order to avoid injury, and build up my base/foot-time so that I am fully ready for that race. And to not overtrain! I am going to log between 56-60 miles and 10+ hours of foot-time in November and again in December. I am confident that I will be ready.

I stepped up my Interval training this week. I am now running three sets of intervals consisting of two repetitions of a "1/3 mile run at a 9:30 pace, followed by a 1 minute 11:00/mm recovery run". Between each set, I run a 5-minute 11:00/mm easy run. This comes out to a 4-mile workout, plus my warm-up and cooldown (5 minutes for each).

The 9:30mm runs were challenging but I was able to run them all; I was pleased about that. Next week, the distance for my interval runs will increase from 1/3 mile to 1/2 mile (and the 1-minute recovery run will change to a 5-minute recovery run). Hmm.... running a 9:30 pace for 1/2 mile -- should be fun? :) The good news is that I really believe these weekly Interval Trainings are making me faster, and that is something I want as I prepare for the Disney Half.

It has gotten a bit colder out here in November. I do my training runs in the early mornings before going to work, and the average temperature has been between 21-32 degrees with just enough wind to keep your face tingly! I spent a little money last week and bought a pair of Nike DryFit Running Pants, a pair of CW-X Compression pants, a nice hat with ear/neck flaps, some SmartWool socks, and a new water belt. If you are in the Chicagoland area, you definitely want to check out Running Hi n Tri in Arlington Heights. They have an awesome, well appointed store, are very attentive and knowledgeable. I tried on a ton of different brands and sizes before picking out my final purchases, and they gave me great feedback and suggestions! They were fantastic!

I really wanted to 'gear up' for the cold weather and the new running and compression pants really keep my legs protected from the wind/cold. The new hat does the same for my head and ears. I think keeping the heat from escaping my body through my head keeps my hands and feet warmer too. So even though I have been running in the cold weather, I have been pretty comfortable. I have been experimenting with layers to see what works for me at differing temperatures/conditions. If I am going to run the Polar Dash Half Marathon next January, I better be prepared for 'cold'!

Oh yeah, did I mention that I plan on running two Half Marathons on consecutive weekends? The Disney World Half Marathon is on Jan 7th, where I hope to finish with a 2:30 hour time or better. The Chicago Polar Dash Half Marathon is on Jan 14th. I figure that I should be able to recover from Disney in a week's time if I do proper post-race 'care and nutrition' and not get injured. Then run the Polar Dash without concern for finish time -- just run it to finish (and get the nice medal and fleece jacket). Doing these two would qualify me as a "Half Fanatic"! LOL.

The good news is there would be two months before my next race, and it is only a 5K. So plenty of time to rest, relax, and recover. 2012 will be the year of the Half Marathon for me. Check out my schedule via the link above and see what races I am planning to run. Five Half Marathons! That will keep me challenged, right?

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