TORW Half-Marathon Training: Week One

We’re now just under three months until race day, so the core 12-week training plan has begun!

It’s hard to believe it’s almost spring. Well ok, the last few days have been very spring-like. They’re calling for it to be 16C this afternoon (that’s PLUS 16, not minus, or 60F for the Americans reading). But even so… it feels like just yesterday I was planning out my lead-up to Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend training and it was very much still winter.

Wearing my Team Awesome shirt at the gym last week.

The best-laid plans…

So in my last update, I said I was heading into doing three runs a week in preparation for my official training plan. I think I should know by now not to say anything about my plans since that seems to mean something goes sideways!

Ok, I’m half kidding here, but something has indeed gone sideways.

The short version is that I had one week of three runs that went really well, but then life stress hit. Work has been really frustrating lately. I’ve been trying to find a part-time job in the non-profit sector, which has been like looking for a needle in a haystack. My cats have been fighting, which might not seem like a huge stress, but when you have a small house and need to lock one cat up overnight it means a lot of lost sleep due to meowing and generally upset cats*. And I’m working with my therapist on some difficult stuff relating to my mental health, which is helpful and needed, but exhausting and adds to the overall stress I’m feeling.

So the second week of ‘3 runs per week’ ended up being a bit of a mess, and by long run day, I’d tweaked my knee. Going up and down the stairs was painful again, and the left patella felt ‘out of alignment’ a bit again.

Seeing my physio the next day, we determined things were going to be fine. We did acupuncture and manual therapy, but otherwise, it just needed a few days of rest and for me to work on the stress factor. Stress is stress, after all – mental, physical, emotional, it all can result in injuries. We discussed my training load and it didn’t look like I’d made any sort of overtraining error at all. I’d been extremely careful about increasing distance and time very slowly, more slowly than most coaches would tell you to do. So the most likely cause of my knee flaring up was the mental stress that was weighing on me.

To be frank with you all, I’m a bit tired of having to constantly change my plans due to my knee issues, but that’s where I’m at in this journey. That’s reality. Maybe others reading are going through injuries or setbacks of their own. If so, you aren’t alone, that’s for sure!

On a much brighter note, I’ve returned to doing just two runs per week, with more walking, cycling and strength training on other days. I did a 3k run and a 6k run last week, and that went mostly fine, with just some discomfort/irritation feeling but no true pain. My knee feels like it’s back where it was before the flare-up, which is great.

Heading into week two of training – that’s this week – I’ll continue on with the two runs plan and see how it goes. Since my goal for this half marathon is to cross the finish line healthy, that seems like a fine plan to me. I’m not chasing a PR here, we’re just trying to have fun and not have any more flareups.

Onward to week two!

PS: Still looking for a spring race? Want to add another to your calendar even though you’ve already got a goal one set? Come join me, the rest of Team Awesome, and thousands of other people at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend! I’ve even got a code for you: EFTA15CANDICE saves you 15% on registration for any distance, including the multi-race challenges! This race weekend is very friendly towards first-timers or anyone who is more of a ‘back-of-the-pack’ runner. All runners of all shapes and sizes welcome.

* I’ll note for my fellow cat lovers that we’ve already been implementing everything they tell you to do in this situation. It’s redirected aggression due to a neighbourhood stray cat. Things are improving day-by-day but we also will contact our vet if we can’t get it resolved within the next week.