I run for Wine! The Road to Temecula

I love wine! I do. Almost as much as running.

And, luckily, my running allows me to partake in the drinking of the wine! #winningatlife

Being a wine lover, I often find races centered around vineyards. One of my favorite series to run is the Diva series. This year, I am taking an adventure out to San Diego to run DIVA Temecula. Located in the beautiful wine country, about an hour outside of San Diego.

This race comes at a point in my life where running was becoming boring for me. Not fun. It was hard for me to motivate myself past 30 minutes on the treadmill. I felt sluggish running. I had lost my running mojo. I had started to think maybe I was getting too old. Maybe I needed a new sport. Maybe I had seen my best days as a runner.  Being stuck in a place of discontentment, I did what many people do... I searched for a new training plan. Something different. Something that I had not tried or done before. Something that would motivate me, help me get refocused. 

I stumbled across Heart Rate Training. 

This was a totally new world for me. I measured my workouts based on minutes, not miles. On heart rate, not pace. And, I was encouraged to run really, really slow miles.

Like seriously, slow miles

It was uncomfortable, at best. I was logging a LOT of minutes on the treadmill, but I wasn't seeing any great results. The voice inside my head (perhaps my EGO) kept telling me... this shit is crazy. You are not making any progress. Go back to training the way you know works--speed work, tempo runs, hard effort. Training the way that got you into the Boston Marathon. 

But, I stayed the course. Thinking I hadn't quite given it enough time. Maybe it was too early to see results. Maybe the PR that I was looking to earn was just on the other side of next week's training. 

And, then, it happened. I put the training to the test. I ran two half-marathons, a couple of weeks apart. Half-marathons that I had trained for. I had put a lot of time into. And, I ended up with times that were 11 minutes OVER my PR of 1:35. At that point, I realized my ego was right. Slow runs will not make you a fast runner. 

There was only one thing left to do. Take matters into my own hands. 

Refocus and create my own half marathon training plan, using the runs and techniques that I know will net me the results I want.  

So, here we are! This is Week 7 of my training plan and I am feeling GREAT! The quick turnover is back in my legs, my body is getting lean again and I feel invincible (of course, a bi-weekly trip to the chiropractor doesn't hurt!!). I did a "test" run on New Year's Eve (Ringing in the Hope in Ashburn, VA) and my training plan was validated! Though a 10K has never been my best race, I finished with a 7:09 overall pace and a negative split. My final mile was 6:53! Can you SAY YES?!

I had been vindicated!

So, how did I get there?

Here are my SECRETS to SUCCESS in building out my training plans. These are the runs you MUST have:

Threshold (or tempo) Run: This is my favorite run. Threshold or tempo runs are comfortably hard runs of about 3-4 miles each (longer for longer distance events) or 5-15 minutes each, with 1 to 3 minutes of rest between the runs. Intensity should be about 86 - 88% of max effort. 

Long Run: Long runs serve one purpose: they give you the strength you need to race fast. To that I say Giddy Up! 

Speed Work...aka... Intervals, Fartleks, Reps: Typically, HARD running. A pace that you can only maintain for about 10-15 minutes in a serious race. Most effective if they involve runs of 3 to 5 minutes each (think... 800 or 1600s) with jog recoveries of similar duration. 

Easy Run: Easy running can have a fair range of intensities from about 60 to 75% of maximum. This is a comfortable, conversational pace...and, can vary daily depending on how you feel! Don't be alarmed if you are up to 20 seconds slower or faster than the specified pace on a given day! 

What does a week of my training look like? 

Here is a sampling: 

Monday: Rest Day (I work legs/glutes)

Tuesday: 2 mile warmup--> Tempo run--> 3 miles @ 7:26 pace--> 3 minute recover--> 2 Miles @ 7:26 pace--> 1 mile cool-down

Wednesday: Rest Day (I work legs/glutes)

Thursday: Easy Run--> 7 miles @ 8:55

Friday: Intervals--> 2 Mile warmup--> 7 x 3:00 intervals @ 6:50 pace--> 2:00 minute recovery between--> 2 mile cool down

Saturday: Easy Run--> 6 Miles @ 8:55 pace

Sunday: Long Run Plus--> 10 Miles at 8:55 pace--> Finish with 6 x 20 second strides

That's it folks. Those are the runs that will net you the time you want.

The bad news: running hard is... HARD! So, I can see why HRT sounds so joyful to so many. 

The good news: It works! If you put in the time, put in the effort, you WILL get the results! 

I am ready for a Post 40 PR! Are you? Comment below with your goal race date and wish list PR! 

Happy Trails! 

Feet don't fail me now! 

Val