Hello from Connecticut on this rainy, cloudy and windy Saturday. No morning run for me today, so I thought I’d write a blog instead 🙂
This past July I joined a training group for my upcoming half marathons in the Fall. I decided this would be the best way for me to train properly, learn more about running and make a few friends along the way. It was the BEST decision I have made in my running journey so far – and let me tell you why…
But first, let’s back up a little bit. Towards the end of 2013 I decided that I wanted to push myself and run a half marathon. Up until that point, I had only run 5Ks and 10Ks. I downloaded a training plan from a running magazine, taped it next to my calendar, and then completed *most* of the runs on the plan. You see, my first half marathon was in mid-March of this year and training through the winter was difficult (and that’s putting it nicely) because of the bitter cold, ice and snow. Most days I had to train on the dread mill which is just…well you know how that goes.
- Coached runs twice a week (Thursdays and Saturdays) and then 2 other runs done on your own was very doable for me.
- It held me accountable! Sure, there are days when I didn’t feel like running, but there is something about knowing 10-15 other people will be running as well. A few of our long runs were in the rain and really bad humidity. Suffering through those runs with other people made a difference!
- Thursday runs were for drills. Hills, Fartlek, 800m repeats, mile repeats, tempo..these were literally all foreign words to me. I had no clue what any of these drills meant or how they would help my running. Now I realize the importance of all of these drills!
- Coached long runs on Saturdays were so helpful because I got to run different routes through the city and learned more about nutrition and hydration for long runs. Also these long runs gave me more confidence.
- Knowledge is power! I felt comfortable asking our coaches and mentor any questions that came up as we were training. It felt good to have an expert to speak to. We were also given weekly handouts on different topics, a training plan (with drills outlined for each week) and routes for our runs. I know that I will use this information again when I train for half-marathons in the future.
So what was the end result for me. I went from a PR of 2:32:54 to a PR of 2:15:46 (achieved this past weekend at the Diva’s Half Marathon). That’s a 17:08 improvement!
Not only did my time improve but I also enjoy running again. I know I’ll never be the fastest running, but I can at least be a consistent runner – I will continue to strive for that. I would recommend a training group to anyone looking to improve their time, stamina and knowledge about running.
Have you ever tried a running training group? Let me know in the comments section!