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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Winter Miles Bring Spring PRs

Winter Miles Bring Spring PRs.  It's a saying that I first heard in the Winter Miles Challenge on Run With Jess, and it certainly seems to be coming true.  I haven't run any races yet this year, so I don't have any official times or new PRs yet, but my training pace is more than 1 min/mile faster than I was training last summer for my first half marathon.  I ran that one in 2:50:08, and I am hopeful that I will significantly improve on that time when I run the Mini in May.  I haven't set a definite goal time yet, but I will soon.

I wrote last December about needing to sign up for events and commit to training so that I wouldn't end up taking the winter off as I had done in the past.  If I had known Indianapolis would have the 3rd snowiest (so far) winter on record and the extreme cold of the polar vortex, I might not have been so eager to keep at it.  But now, with Spring finally close, I am glad I did.  Besides the increase in speed, I feel stronger.  I actually did come to appreciate the beauty of winter, & took some nice pics along the way.  I didn't get cabin fever or the winter blues, nor did I gain any winter weight.  I have several races coming up, and I'm ready for them.  How did I do it?  Three main things that helped me are:

  1. Blue Mile Spring Training  I joined Team Blue Mile to train for the 500 Festival Mini Marathon in May.  This is the nation's largest half marathon - 35,000 runners & walkers.  Blue Mile running stores have training programs to help runners & walkers of all fitness levels prepare for any distance, and they designed a training program for the Mini that began in mid-January.  So I was committed to showing up at 8am every Saturday morning no matter the weather to go out for a training run with them.  Knowing other people were expecting me and knowing that I wouldn't be out there alone helped me get up & get going.  And I'm really glad I did.  We ran in snow, on ice, and through bitter cold winds.  It was good training, and it wasn't nearly as bad as I imagined it would be.  As many runners say: "It's only cold if you are standing still."  
  2. Winter Miles Challenge  Another runner blog I follow is Run With Jess.  She ran a Winter Miles Challenge, and I committed to completing 10 miles a week every week from January 6 - March 2.  Each week I met my goal & was entered into a prize drawing.  I never won a prize, but I still won by staying active.  It wasn't always easy, when snow & ice shut the city down so I couldn't get to the gym but I also couldn't run in the neighborhood with the trails covered.  One week I only made my mileage goal by strapping on the pedometer & hitting the mall, but I made it.
  3. Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center  I'm probably biased since I work for the John. H. Boner Community Center, which owns & operates the Legacy Center, but I think this is a great place to work out.  I'd still rather be outside, but when weather & early sunsets in the winter don't allow for running outside, the Legacy Center is a great alternative.  I used it only for the treadmills, but they have lots of cardio & weight equipment, as well as group exercise classes.  If you live or work in downtown Indy or on the near eastside, I highly recommend you check them out.

 I was chatting the other day with another Team Blue Mile member, Tasha (you can check out her blog at Run Bite Win) and realized that one of the best things running has done for me is silence those voices in my head that tell me I can't do something.  I thought I couldn't get out and enjoy winter, but I did.  So, dear reader, the next time you want to do something but think you can't, I hope you will remember those voices are wrong.  You can!

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