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I ran a half marathon a couple weeks ago. The first one by myself – the first race, really, without a friend – in a long time. I don’t know when a half marathon became a training run for me. I don’t know that I like that feeling. 13.1 miles is FAR. 13.1 miles is an accomplishment. 13.1 miles is something to be proud of. Don’t get me wrong. That St. Patty’s Day half marathon wasn’t easy. I ran faster than I thought I would – faster than my goal – especially the first half of the race. Then, I turned around on the out-and-back course to spend 6.5 miles running into a 10-14 mph headwind. (Who needs hills when you have a headwind??)

Even though I was proud of myself (and the fact that I got my 2nd best time ever), I kept thinking about all the longer runs I have in my near future. It diminished the feeling of accomplishment. Clearly, this is not the fault of the race or its organizers – this is a mental challenge for me: how do I stay in the present enough to feel accomplished while also using these accomplishments to build confidence that I can do more?

Now, I’ve gone head-first into my training for the Super Fast Half and Marathon in June. This is my preamble to the Dopey Challenge – an effort to see where I am in my training and fitness. And, frankly, an effort to give myself a confidence boost. If I can do a marathon and a half back-to-back, then I should be able to add a 5K and 10K on the days before. Right?

For my last few long races (half and full marathon distances), I’ve used one of the training programs on the Garmin website. The training plans had speed-work, but also focuses on time, rather than distance, for the long runs. When I ran the marathon in November, I discovered that my long training runs probably weren’t long enough in distance because I was going at an easy pace (as instructed), but not far enough to feel comfortable with the marathon distance.

This time around, I found Coach Jenny’s Training online. She has a bunch of training plans, but I really liked that she has specific plans for the Disney races. I’m starting with her Goofy training plan (that’s the Half + Full Marathon training plan) and will move on to her Dopey plan if all goes well in June. The key to these plans is to simulate the back-to-back runs on a regular basis. So, I will spend this spring running on Saturday and doubling that distance on Sunday. Wish me luck!


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