A while back I was checking out Facebook and I happened to stumble upon this post about a BITSAA 5k run. I immediately felt that I should do the run. I was running 4 Kms up till then so I figured taking it to 5 would be easy. While browsing the web a few days later, I found out that there was a marathon event in Chennai in December. I went through the website doing more research about the event. I liked what I saw. So, I decided that I’d participate for the event and do a 10k run. I had 10 weeks to train which I figured would be enough.
That week I woke up early one day determined to run as far as I could. So I started off and ran and ran. After 6 Kms I felt my body drained of fluids so I had to stop. I ran 1 Km more in breaks and reached home strong. I had surprised myself. If I had carried water, I could have completed 8 Kms. 2K more at It’d be 10K. The 10K run didn’t seem like a challenge anymore. I wanted to push further. One step above was the half marathon. I decided I’d go for it.
I did some research about training schedules and diet and found lots of material. One particular website gave me a 10 week schedule for a half marathon aimed at beginners. I had 9 weeks left but I had been running a lot lately so I decided I could forward myself 1 week. I started training with 9 weeks to go.
The training involved running on alternative days and building on mileage. Easy runs on weekdays and a long run on weekend. The schedule mentioned doing cross training on one weekday but since that option in not available to me, I am running on that day too. I did a 10k on the first weekend. I could do about 6k after which I had to take a break. I was carrying water in a half liter bottle so hydration wasn’t an issue. I had to take 4 breaks to complete the rest 4 Kms but I still completed the 10 K within an hour.
The first run was difficult. My legs were sore and I was exhausted. I timed 58:30 min which meant I was running faster than 10 kph. I reached my room , did some stretching and slept for a couple of hours. I felt a little down the rest of the day and couldn’t really call upon my usual reserves of energy. This was on a saturday. The BITSAA 5k run was to be held the next day. I wasn’t sure if I could participate in the event. I woke up the next morning and felt pretty strong. There were no after effects or soreness so I decided to do the 5k. I did the run with a timing of 28:30. mins. There were a lot of nice people assembled at the run so I decided to stay back and attend the picnic also. It was fun.
To complete the half marathon and finish strongly, I have to do two things. One is to build my stamina and the second is to train my legs to be capable of doing 21 Kms. The second week started with a hard run on Tuesday. I realized the importance of the hard run while doing it. In my normal long runs, my pace was slow and the range of motion of my legs was limited. In a hard run, I had to raise my pace so I lengthened my stride along with quickening my pace. The result was that my hips were experiencing an increased range of motion. I could see how this was helping my training. By freeing up my hips, I was enabling myself decrease the amount of effort I put into each stride.
There is a threshold beyond which if I increased my stride, I would start tiring quickly. So the challenge is to increase the stride yet not to tire myself in the process. The hard run also contributes towards building of stamina. My training on weekdays currently involves one hard run and two easy/moderate runs. Out of these, the hard is the most important and needs focus. The easy runs are just to get some mileage into the legs.
I had planned a 13k run at the end of the second week. During the week, I bought a powder called Isotonik which said it would help in replacing lost salts and provide glucose. Something like Gatorade. I managed to complete 10k by the end. Even that was a push. There were a couple of mistakes which I think I made. There was an Arsenal match scheduled the night before and I slept at 12:30. 4 hours sleep was obviously not enough. Another mistake which I did was to start at a fast pace. I should have started very slow and built my pace. I felt that the Isotonik powder helped a little.
I completed 26 Kms the first week and 27 Kms the second week. My target for week 3 is 29 Kms, ending with a 13k run. I’ll have to see how that goes. My diet during the training period hasn’t changed much compared to 1 month back. I feel I have been on a very good diet all along. Two eggs with milk and a banana for breakfast. Half the banana before the run. The rest half after the run. 1 cup rice for lunch. 1 cup green tea, 5 almonds and 4 dates in the evening. 1 cup of rice for dinner. Going ahead I think I could add a second glass of milk in the evening along with cereal and decrease the amount of rice I have for dinner. The eggs and milk cover the protein, banana and rice will provide me fiber and carbohydrates so it’s a pretty good diet. I just need to make sure I keep myself well hydrated.