Mile Matters with J&A Racing
During my last year of graduate school, a friend coerced me into registering for the 2013 Crawlin’ Crab Half Marathon. I’d run the Wicked 10K a few times and loved it, so I thought this would be a good challenge. As I’d previously been a very casual jog/walker, I set the intention to follow a training plan since I’d never done such a long race. Did I mention I was in grad school at the time? Needless to say, I wasn’t very successful with the whole training thing.
This time, though, I’m determined to hit a PR and I’m sticking to my plan. Last June I ran my only other half marathon, and successfully completed it under my target time without stopping. This time, I’m doing a similar plan!
My training involves Monday night group runs where I focus on improving my pace and running at my threshold for 3-4 miles. Doing this with my best friend or with the crowd is very motivating, not just to keep going in the summer heat but to keep pushing my pace.
Tuesdays are often non-run days where I will do yoga or some resistance training. It’s important to maintain strength outside of just running – it’s helpful for injury prevention as well as improving your body’s tolerance to activity.
Thankfully I don’t work Wednesdays, so that’s where I get my mid distance runs in. They’ve ranged from 3-6 miles and will max out at 8 miles next week. This is where I’ve focused on getting distance in that’s a little faster than my long runs, but not exactly speed work. Sometimes I switch it up and do hill repeats in Yorktown – inclines are killer but go a long way to improving capacity.
Thursdays are usually walking, yoga, and weightlifting – depends on how I’m feeling and how busy work gets. I like the flexibility that day and do what suits my body in that moment.
My absolute rule for Fridays: rest. I don’t do any running or working out on Fridays. It’s so important to take time to let our bodies recover from all the hard work we put into them. It also happens to be the day before my long run, so it gives my legs time to get ready for those miles.
Early on Saturdays, I get up, snack on some plantain chips or whole grain toast with nut butter, and head out to wherever I’ve mapped for my long run. During this 12 weeks training, long runs are anywhere from 6-12 miles. I love getting lost in my head and just letting my feet move along – it doesn’t hurt that I usually get to see a few deer and rabbits too. It’s pretty incredible looking at my watch and seeing how much distance I’ve accomplished. Plus, having those early morning hours where the world is still dark and sleeping is a peaceful way to start the weekend.
Sundays are a recovery run of about 3 miles where I go easy. I like to use this day for some strength training as well, but will usually vary it between free weights, bands, and bodyweight.
With just one week left until The Neighborhood Harvest Crawlin’ Crab Half Marathon, there’s work to be done but my times are improving so I’m hopeful all my training will pay off, and I’ll be able to ring the PR bell! Between that and completing the Shell Yeah! Challenge with the 5K the day before, it looks to be a successful weekend in Hampton!
Katy Gaston is a 2019/2020 J&A Racing Ambassador. She is a physical therapist from Newport News, Virginia, who received both her bachelors degree and Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Old Dominion University, and recently joined Junior League of Hampton Roads. She began running during undergrad when friends dragged her into it, and after attending the Wicked 10k she realized running was fun! After recovering from a significant medical event a few years ago, she started on a personal journey that led her to lose over 120 pounds, and finally returned to running. For the past year Katy has built her distance, improved her pace, and successfully ran a half marathon in June with a 2:29 time. Her goal is to shave that down to 2:15 at Crawlin Crab Half 2019, then work towards a full marathon by the end of 2020.