Today is the last regular training session of this 14 week cycle. Next week is the taper week and final preparation for my first 1/2 marathon, the Winter Warrior. The focus of this cycle was to prepare for a half marathon - that meant going from training for 3 -5 mile runs to increasing speed and endurance to manage 13.1 miles. Thats on top of learning how to run a 5K earlier this year and getting through first-timer training for sprint distance triathlon.
My training plan called for me to run 13.1 mile sessions four times this cycle and I've nailed all four. By "nailed" I mean completed the distance with minimal or no walking. I've also learned a lot about pace and how to pace myself. I've also had a great increase in what I call "running awareness" - that is, how and what I'm thinking about while running. Keeping my thoughts positive and frequently reviewing my mental running checklist to keep things going in the right direction.
The mental game of running has me mentally tough and ready. My form has improved and my endurance is there. I'll often come to the end of a 6 or 8 mile session and feel like I could continue without any trouble at all. I've also run my best 5K during this cycle, indicating that speed is improving, too. And lets not forget that I've been injury-free since July 2013!
Next week (week 14) is the taper. Miles will go down and there will be a bit more rest while cross training in the form of swimming and spinning will fill in some of the void.
I am ready. I will do this...Because I Can.