Thursday, January 5, 2012

To Half or not to Half....THAT is the Question!!

My title may be obvious for some of you and not for others.  Some of you may be wondering what I mean by "half." Half workouts? Half healthy eating? Half a positive attitude? Others of you may know, or at least guess correctly, that I am contemplating a half marathon. Yes, a half marathon. That's 13.1 miles. At once. It's a race, although I am not focusing on that aspect of it. My focus is completion.

Do I do it or not?  The half marathon I'm looking at is 22 weeks from this Saturday.  I've found some training plans online that are 12 week plans.  The weeks for these plans start on Mondays.  If I start this coming Monday, I could do the plan twice - almost.  If I do it twice in a row, I'd likely cut out the first two weeks the second time around.  Or I could start today, and squeeze in a week of training between now and Monday.  Judging by the plan, I could do that. 9.5 miles in four days is nothing, really.  If I go that route, I'd only have to cut out week one the second time through the plan. My third option is that I could do C25K (Couch to 5K) first and then do the marathon plan.  C25K is a nine week running program, which would put me at 21 weeks of training with the plans combined.  I could even afford to take a week off between C25K and marathon training, although it would not likely be a week off. I'd focus on shorter runs or maybe stick to CT (cross training activities), like biking. I have lots of time to train but my experience (or lack thereof)  has me questioning if this is a wise decision.

I've done one real 5K and a couple virtual 5Ks.  Part of me wonders if maybe I'm being a bit too ambitious, if this is possible.  I wonder if I should focus on 5K training and a fast time at that before I tackle finishing a half marathon. 

I also have not been running like I used to.  My running tapered off around October. I was less consistent and my duration and such were not what they had been.  Since then I've done, depending on the week 2-4 running/walking workouts.  I like intervals so I do a lot of those when I run/walk.  I received a stationary bike for Christmas so I've been doing that most recently. Just last night I was thinking about how I need to mix it up and do a little of both.  Running was my main method of cardio for so long that it feels good to do something else, but I can honestly say I do miss it. This half marathon idea has been in my head for a while and I started thinking about it again this morning.

No matter which plan I do, I will continue to do biking on my CT days.

There's another small twist to this story. I'm considering doing Warrior Dash this summer.  If you haven't heard of it, check out the website, http://www.warriordash.com/ .  Basically it's a 5K run  (some courses are a little longer) with an obstacle course. A somewhat insane obstacle course.  The courses include different obstacles but some of them are climbing walls, shimmying across tightropes over water, climbing out of water pits, crawling over cars, leaping over fire, and crawling, through mud, under barbed wire.  Now, doesn't that sound like a great way to spend a Saturday?! If it sound anymore appealing, you are rewarded with beer and turkey legs when you're done! I'm pretty sure I'll opt-out of those rewards. Maybe.

My original options for Warrior Dash were June 16th and/or 17th in Illinois.  The week after a 5K or half marathon is probably not the best time to complete Warrior Dash. I'd also have to be training for both at once.  I'm not sure that's a grand idea.  My other option was in Michigan on July 28th and/or 29th. Honestly? The heat and humidity factor of what could be in late July really turned me off from those dates. I considered doing the Indiana race, just north of Indianapolis in August.  It's on the 11th which made me feel similar to how I felt about the Michigan dash.

Good news!! I just looked and another Michigan dash has been added. This one is closer. It's not until September 15th which will give me three full months of training, and it won't be as hot or humid! The Michigan weather can be tricky sometimes but generally September isn't quite as bad as July.  Now that I've written this, it really won't impact on my training for the 5K of half marathon. If anything, training now for the race in June will help me train for Warrior Dash. I suppose I should have checked that info again (I've been on that site multiple times; just not in the last couple weeks).

I have, happily, settled my Warrior Dash dilemma...

September 15th. Grand Rapids, Michigan. My beast will be unleashed!!

I do still have The Great 5K or Half Marathon Debate of 2012 to settle.  I need to decide, fairly soon, which I want to do. Like today, so I can start training. The good thing though is that if I start with the C25K plan, I have at least nine weeks to figure out if I want to continue training for another 5K or if I want to bump up my training and see how I do training for a half marathon. Hmmm... I think I will start C25K again, just because it's a good start to more. 

I've done C25K a couple times in the past and enjoyed it. I started a third time but got bored.  I think I've given myself enough time to try it again. Now I have a goal to focus on too, when I did it the last time, I was just doing it to add variety to my workouts. This time I will start at week one.  Last time I did it, I jumped ahead a couple weeks because week one seemed too easy. I wasn't burning as many calories and I knew I was capable of more than what I was doing.  This time I'll stick to the plan, and focus on biking and other activities for calorie burning. The point of C25K is to prepare for a 5K, not to torch calories, although I'm sure as the weeks progress that will change. 

Thoughts and opinions are most definitely welcome on this topic.  I'm still on the fence. Part of me is screaming "go for it! Do the half!"  Then another part of me is thinking "maybe you should focus on another 5K first."

Stay tuned for my decision...It might be nine weeks away, but I'll keep you informed, as I'm sure I will blog about my training.

XOXO

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