Training for the Tar Heel 10 Miler

I am not a runner.

Sure, I occasionally go for 3 to 5 mile jogs when the weather is nice and I’m feeling spunky, but over the last few weeks, my workout routine has fallen into a literal pit of despair. (Ok I’m being melodramatic.) I got really sick at the beginning of the month and have barely gotten over the lingering congestion and fatigue that went along with what might have been the most horrific cold I’ve ever had. I hate to even call it a cold because it makes it sound less awful. Let’s just say I had bird flu. That sounds more accurate to me.

Combining that illness with a general sense of exhaustion and near constant grad student “performance anxiety” over the past few months has sent my level of physical fitness into a downward spiral that I’m going to attempt to pull myself out of before I graduate. I will not let my graduate program completely derail my health and fitness, so help me!

Enter the Tarheel 10 Miler.  

I had some friends run this race last year and they had a lot of fun. I’ve never competed participated in a road race, but I’ve been thinking about doing one for a while. Since I’m fairly comfortable running 5 miles, I always thought a 5K would be somewhat boring and a 10K would be a little bit of a challenge, but nothing too serious. That’s why the 10 mile distance is a perfect goal for me to set, and I have 7 weeks to train for it.

My training plan is to run on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, with my longer runs (progressively increasing in distance) happening on Saturday when I have the most time to devote to exercise. Tuesday and Thursday is about 45 minutes of crosstraining, which will be spent in the gym doing various total body strength exercises. I might throw in a day of yoga once a week, since stretching is important and I really enjoy the classes I take at Franklin Street Yoga.

I’ll let you all know how the training is going, and how I end up doing in the “race”. I’m not going to be aiming for any particular time goal, since I’ll just be happy to finish. I’ve never run 10 miles before – the most I’ve ever gotten to was around 8-9 and I was pretty darn sore the next day – so hopefully my training plan will get me in the shape I need to be to finish this 10-miler.

Have you ever competed in a road race? Got any tips for how to train?