After finishing Insanity, I started my training for the 5/3 Riverbank Run in earnest. It’s a 25k and when you google racing schedules for a 25k, you’ll be sorely disappointed in the results. Most of what I found was a half marathon training schedule with the suggestion of adding a few more long runs into it. Super.
As much of a control freak as I am with everything in life, I tend to enjoy deferring to a program when it comes to my workouts. I loved my previous running schedules. Look at the calendar, what am I supposed to run… 4 miles? Ok, 4 miles it is then. With Insanity, the calendar would tell me what DVD to put in. Great. I love that. My father in law asked me one time why I was running the distance I was running that day and my answer was with complete sincerity when I replied “because the paper told me to”.
So when I was left to my own (not so much) wisdom on how to train for this race, it kind of stressed me out. Yes, I get that the basic concept of training for a 15.5 mile race is the same as training for a 13.1 mile race. But this time, it’s different. This time, I don’t have an all knowing piece of paper to tell me exactly what I should do on this day, that day and the day next week. How much do I taper? What should my weekly mileage be? What should my longest run be & how many times should I do it?
Forced to be the master of my own fitness, I decided to try a different method. I knew I wanted to try to maintain the muscle balance that I’d gained from doing Insanity. Then, I read an article that talked about runners that did strength training with a recovery run, pace run & long run during the week actually became faster and less injured than those that did the standard 4 runs a week. Hmmmm… how about that? Since I was the one in control, I decided I’d try it my way. Yes, it’d be different than before but different can be good, right?
Speaking of different, another giant difference in this race is the absence of my running buddy, Cheri. She’s just finishing the first round of chemo treatments right now and although she’s doing really well, training for a race like this is just too much. I’ve been floundering trying to find the right fit. Running alone works fine for shorter runs. But long runs can be especially gruelling left to your own thoughts. I’ve tried taking the dogs with me. Bailey can’t go that far (I thought I broke her after 3 miles). Scout hasn’t reached his limit yet (and he’s run a 10 miler with me). But while his ears flapping in the wind and his adorable furry face can distract me from the doldrums that befall you, it’s just not the same as running with someone else. And I’ve been struggling with finding a new partner for my new runs.
All runners are not the same. You wouldn’t think it, but there’s a lot of variants to the sport. Some are faster, some are slower. Some like to run further, some shorter. Some like to talk, some don’t. There’s those that prefer flat runs and then the kind that likes a good stiff hill every now and again. Add in schedule conflicts and you’ve got an almost impossible scenario.
Tonight, I have a run scheduled with someone I know. A 12 mile run planned and ready for attack. But when I started getting nervous about the run, the thought struck me that running with a person for the first time can feel a lot like a first date. Now, it’s been years since I’ve had a first date but from what I can remember, there’s some similarities. Before the run, you wonder what it will be like. Will you run at the same pace? Will they talk a lot? Are they going to get super annoyed when I talk nonstop? ‘Will they like me as a runner?’ is ultimately what’s running through your mind.
We’ll just have to see. For the moment, my quest for the perfect running soul mate and training schedule continues.