The third week of my progression towards the Angkor Wat Half Marathon went quite well physically. After DNSing an intended race the previous week due to a cold developing, to bounce right back into training without symptoms going full-blown was a sign I’d done the right thing.
One of the things I enjoy about training for endurance sports is that there’s always something new to learn about my body’s capabilities. While I know with consistency I will improve my fitness and my speed, how much I improve is still a mystery until I test myself. Even then, my body is not a machine and there are so many variables that can affect performance on the day. I enjoy this bit of unpredictability and take great pleasure in surprising myself.
I’m still swimming and cycling throughout this run training block. I’m doing indoor trainer rides that last up to two hours just to get my body accustomed to that length of exertion, while the swimming should improve my aerobic capacity. I was never expecting to improve in those two disciplines, but last week I was able to push harder on my pedals and swim faster at the same level of effort. Or maybe also my perception of easy, medium, and hard has moved as I’ve continued to get fitter.
I’ve been doing almost all of my running on treadmills, so getting out onto the road this weekend at the Color Manila Glitter Run was a welcome change. It was an untimed event where everyone was more intent on playing with color and glitter powder than registering a new personal record, so it took the pressure off me to run as fast as I used to during my heyday.
Whenever I do an hour on the treadmill I end up only having run 7 kilometers, but last Sunday’s controlled effort still resulted in a sub-60 minute 10 kilometers. I wasn’t breathing hard and my legs didn’t feel heavy, but every time I got caught up in a mini-race with another runner whose shoulder I ran up to, it was my endurance and steady pace that resulted in the other runner dropping back.
That kind of steady endurance and pace control is what I need to run a good half-marathon, more than regaining brute speed. Looking at my average pace from each kilometer, I actually recorded a negative run split for the first time in my life.
Maybe the one thing that’s annoying me about this period in my training is that my weight just won’t budge, regardless of how I eat. And I don’t really want to step up how much I exercise, since I already do an hour a day five to six days of the week. If each additional pound I carry adds a minute to my race time, then that’s probably the reason I’m 12 minutes off my 10K PR.
At the same time I’m not too bothered by my weight, as this just seems to be the number my body sits at naturally if I don’t do extremes (like training twice a day in addition to group exercise work as my day job). My clothes still fit, my face looks well-rested, and my immune system is the best it’s been in three years. I’m going to count my blessings because at least I can still run and do the sport I love!