Sometime this week — though I haven’t kept strict track of the date — I will reach approximately the one month mark since I’ve been running. Sad and unfortunate, but predicated on one of the golden rules of the sport I only stubbornly learned after a couple years of trudging around the streets: don’t run when you’ve got something really wrong. The flu is something “really wrong.” So I opted to get better first… then return to long jaunts around the neighborhood.
But I’m going to be lacing up sometime this week. Really. And then it will be back into things. Really.
Of course, taking a bit of a break — scheduled or otherwise — gives one time to contemplate all sorts of things like goals and plans and long term strategy. And such thinking leads to, as it often does, long moments of contemplation and introspective brow-beating and — despite the fact I keep telling myself “never again” — the presumption to suppose I might want to run another Half Marathon this summer.
On and about August 18th of this year, this city will once again host a weekend of running. There will be short races, kid’s races, marathons, and — of course — the 2012 edition of the same half I conquered in 2009 and 2010. (Jeeze! Has it really been two years?) August 18 is a little more than twenty one weeks from now, or a little more than one third of a year away. Twenty-one weeks. Twenty one kilometers. And perhaps, time for a little bit of preparation in advance. Perhaps a time frame in which the strength to confront a big, crazy goal could be mustered.
Thus: The Art of Running and seven, three-week-long epic stories of training leading into the big race. And it all starts next Sunday. It will go something like this…
Act One: The Days of the Threes (March 25 through April 14) – During this span of time I’ll be gearing up daily, re-enacting my December effort of ‘run every day’ but this time, suiting up for a smaller goal of sixty-three klicks over the course of this three-week act. That’s three half marathons in three weeks.
Act Two: Three More (April 15 through May 5) – At the end of this act I hope to have racked up the same approximate distance, but rather than a daily run, I’m going to scale back the effort and aim for a three-count of six to eight klick runs each week focusing on some cross-training on off days.
Act Three: Ramping Up (May 6 through May 26) – It’s tough to think about how I’m going to be feeling in about two months from now, but by then I’ll need to be upping my distance and prepping for summer. The goal will be longer runs and one or two more per week, now aiming for twenty-eight klicks per week.
Act Four: Getting Hilly (May 27 through June 16) – Keeping the tri-week distance roughly the same — four half’s over the span — as the spring starts greening up it will be time to find some hills to work on strength training again, running those hills at least two runs per week (presumably with one regular jaunt as a rest day in between.)
Act Five: Long Days (June 17 through July 7) – As the length of our days peak, there will be plenty of evening light to get some serious distance back in. I’ll be keeping my four-per-week goal the same, but splitting those runs into one long — a fourteen-ish distance — run coupled with a few shorter ones during the week.
Act Six: The Epic Train (July 8 through July 28) – The fun really begins as July chugs into the station: I’ll need to have at least one eighteen to twenty-ish klick run each week, but still coupled with those shorter (but longer than before) jaunts on other days. The ultimate distance goal for this act will be five halves: one hundred and five kilometers in three weeks, or thirty-five per week. Might need to throw in some hills while we’re at it.
Act Seven: Descent (July 29 through August 18) Leading into the race I’ll be tapering my training down once again: one full distance two weeks prior, then about half that a week prior and… bam! The race. But overall still a five times distance act. And, of course, easy on the junk food at the Fringe Festival!
Or that’s the plan. Plans are great… in theory.