It is hard to believe that May is here already and the first third of the year is completed. I often break my year up into thirds because four months provides plenty of time to implement a plan and provide analyzable results. Further more, the thirds approach follows my racing seasons, starting with a focus on distance running races, moving into triathlons and finishing with late season running races and maybe a small break in December.
Thus the focus of the first four month of this year was all about running, namely at the half marathon distance. Last year I was just starting to adjust to training for triathlons and finished the year with a total of 307 miles of running. My approach last year involved an even workout load between swimming, biking and running. I finished the year off with my first half marathon and the running bug took hold.
My goals leading into this year centered on the run:
- Increase running mileage and shoot for 860 miles for the year. This would entail completing 286-287 miles of running each third of the year. At this point of the year I have ran a total of 372 miles and I am more on track to get 1000 miles for the year.
- I wanted to try to consistently run 20-30 miles a week and get about 80 miles a month. In January I eased into this push and started to up my mileage. By the end of January I had safely ran 80 miles. I would go on to run closer to 90 miles a month with my highest month being March at 109 miles.
- I realized I needed a plan so I researched running coaching methodology and put into place a four month running program that included two hard or speed workouts a week and one designed long run a week. I penciled in other days that would include easy miles to fill in the mileage.
- This running plan aimed to increase my half marathon speed and I planned on running three half marathons in this first third of the year. I aimed for the Georgia Peach Jam to be my final Half Marathon and my goal race as it occurred at the end of this training cycle.
- I reluctantly introduced trail running into my running repertoire and fell in love. I now mix trail and road running into my running routines.
- I ran two of my half marathons six days apart with one of them being a trail half marathon.
- I reduced my half marathon time from 3:14:18 in February to 3:07:36 in April.
- My long run is now a whopping 20 miles over five hours (slow but completed)
- I ran in the Atlanta Ragnar Trail relay race. This was a late add on, but it was an experience that was up there with everything else I have achieved as a runner and athlete. Because of Ragnar I started to focus on trail running in the dark and doing breakfast/lunch running combos.
As my running progressed I continued to push my swim and bike, albeit at a less frequent basis. The weather forced my to often rely on spin classes and only in late April was I able to get back out and ride again. I would argue the biggest criticism I have of this first part of the year was the lack of ability to get into the pool and get at least two swimming workouts a week. I really need to work on that progressing into the middle phase of the year.
Besides running, swimming and biking, I found my overall body strength had improved amazingly. Last year I was barely able to bench press a hundred pounds. I found I recently am closer to pushing 200+ pounds on my bench press and all related lifting have followed a similar pattern.
Body Numbers Wise:
- Weight is still 290 or so.
- Waist at beginning of the year was 49.5 -50 inches. Now my waist is 48 inches.
- Thighs were 22 inches, now they are 24 inches.
- Arms have gained almost half an inch.
While the weight loss is non-existent, my clothes are looser around the waist and my legs are getting rounder while they have less touching between thighs. I think my body is readjusting itself and I have recently been getting some compliments. Not sure how to justify the number on this one.
The first third of the year has been pretty good so far and my running has improved drastically. I am pleased that I exceed my goals for the first couple of months and its positive seeing some results. The middle third of this year will be fun as I am doing fewer running races and more International distance triathlons til August and September where I will transition into my final triathlons and my last running season. Unlike last year I am doing fewer 5k runs and focusing more on half marathons and triathlons for the summer. Til next time.