This week I (Sarah) started my running training. The first thing I wanted to do was get a running baseline for my training. It will help me to know where I am really starting from and make a smart plan for getting to my goals.

What is my goal?

I would like to be able to run a 10 minute per mile pace half marathon by May. In June I will participate in a relay run and will be changing my training for the relay beginning in May and leading up to the race. But until then, I just want to build my endurance and work in speed training as needed.

Where am I now?

I went to the gym and ran for 2 miles on the treadmill. I like to get a baseline on the treadmill because it is controlled. The elements and terrain will not be impacting my ability. I will want to train for those, but to get an idea of where I am, it is good to remove the extraneous variables so that my training plan is really optimized.

The outcome was that I ran 2 miles at a pace of 13.57 minutes per mile. This is pretty slow, but it could be worse. I jogged more than I walked. I can even say that I should be able to slow jog consistently and not need to walk at all.

How does this help me?

It is so easy to beat myself up over my slow speed. My husband can not run for a year and then head out for a 9 minute per mile pace and work his way down from there. I am my own person though. My body is better equipped for picking up heaving things and putting them back down. I want to run though for my heart health, mental health, and just the fun of participating in running events.

Now I can get out there and be real. Instead of looking down at my GPS watch and being discouraged or speeding myself up more than what I am really conditioned for, I will set an attainable goal for each run.

It is so important not to compare fitness with others. Every body is different. Self improvement is all that matters, whether running, in a yoga class, or in the weight gym. Being focused on self improvement over comparison with others can be applied anywhere. So many negative effects can occur from comparison. Injury is likely from pushing beyond the personal ability. Discouragement is likely, which is detrimental to the goals that we want to be pushing for. Resentment towards the people who can accomplish more is likely. We should be looking up to people who are doing better and looking to what they are doing. We should ask ourselves how to adapt our training to be more effective to grow to that place without forgetting where we currently are and starting there.

So, I am going to head out for a run today. My current goal is to get a consistent 13 minute per mile pace. I could reach my 10 minute per mile goal by increasing my speed by 1 minute every 5 weeks.

The Pace Plan:

Now (January 28th) through March 2nd: Work towards a 12 minute per mile pace. This is actually almost 2 minute goal, but I would expect a larger improvement in the beginning.

March 2nd through April 7th: Work towards an 11 minute per mile pace.

April 7th through May 12th: Work towards a 10 minute per mile pace. This is push for me. The fastest I have maintained a 10 minute per mile pace for is a 5k. But with focus and a clear plan, I believe I can do it.

Overall, the important thing is to know where you start and set a realistic plan to make it to where you want to be.