Public Humiliation: The Great Motivator

Ever since I posted about our lofty goals a few weeks ago, I have received dozens of requests (read: 1 request) for an update on how our training is going, for any advice that we might have on running and maybe a weekly series about how we’re getting ready for our races. I’m still working on getting Justin to agree to posting weekly updates on his workouts, but in the meantime, I’ll start posting mine!

Let me start off by saying that I am not a pro runner by any stretch of the imagination. I probably wouldn’t even go as far as to say that I’m “a runner” in general, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. Running is something that I enjoy and that I have done as a hobby on and off since high school, but my running history is spotty at best. The typical pattern is as follows: run diligently for a few months, usually to train for a race or to help get into shape for an event (like our wedding), stop for a few months immediately after said race or event, allow my endurance will dwindle and then start from scratch to get ready for the next race or event. I’m always really annoyed with myself when I end up in that situation so I decided to make a New Years resolution this year to run more road races. I find that once I’ve signed up for a race, the threat of public humiliation is a great motivator that pushes me to train.

So far, I’ve got 3 road races under my belt:

  • March 2009 – Relay Marathon, Hyannis MA: This was a full 26.2 miles broken up between 4 runners – 2 runners ran 7.3 miles and the other 2 ran 5.8 miles. I ran one of the shorter legs and, if I’m being honest, I don’t remember this as being a particularly comfortable race. It was the longest distance I had ever run and I remember struggling through it. My goal was to run the whole thing without stopping, which I did, but I certainly wasn’t moving very quickly! It might not have been a great run for me but the race itself was so fun; the participants were so enthusiastic and a ton of people came out to watch the race and cheer on the runners despite the fact that it was the middle of the winter. I started to think that running road races might be something that I would enjoy (assuming I trained better going forward)…it’s hard to have a bad time when you’re surrounded by such positive people.
  • August 2009 – The Falmouth Road Race, Falmouth MA: I ran this 7.2 mile race with a good friend of mine. This is a really fun race that is pretty evenly split between elite runners who are there to bang it out in half an hour (seriously. The winner of the 2011 race was from Kenya and he ran it in 31 minutes – ridiculous) and families who are 100% running for fun. It’s also a very popular race; folks have to enter a lottery, usually in April or May, and you find out a few weeks later if you have secured a bib to run in the race. You can also sign up with a charity and do some fundraising to run on behalf of a cause, which is what my friend and I did. It’s a beautiful course with amazing crowd support and it was a great experience. Again, our goal (aside from supporting a great cause) was to run the whole thing, not seriously embarrass ourselves and have a great time. Done, done and done!
  • August 2011 – The Falmouth Road Race part II: I entered the lottery this time around and got a bib. I’ll probably do a separate post on the race itself since it was part of a nice week-long Cape vacation, but I focused more on preparing for this race than I had for my past ones and it went a lot better. My goal for this one was to beat my time from the 2009 Falmouth race, and I’m happy to say that I did!

And that brings us to today! As I mentioned before, I signed up for a half marathon that will take place over Memorial Day weekend of this year and I’ve been training for a few weeks now. I had googled around a little and found a training schedule that looked like it would work for me; this site has training plans for races of all different lengths and for most levels of runners, from beginner to advanced. Here is the one that I’m loosely following:


This 12-week schedule is broken down with instructions for each day. The general plan is to do a few shorter runs during the week, set aside 2 days to rest, do one longer run on the weekend and a day of cross training on the day after your long run (like biking, swimming, yoga, walking, etc…pretty much any form of exercise other than running that gets different muscle groups working). The distances increase gradually from week to week to help you get ready for your race. Having the rest days in the schedule is helpful because, aside from taking days off to avoid injury, it allows for some flexibility; if you have plans on the same day that you’re supposed to run 4 miles, you can switch the days to make it work for your schedule. I also plan on adding in some weight training to the plan; I don’t necessarily enjoy weight training (and that’s putting it nicely) but the ol’ experts say it really helps increase endurance and decrease the likelihood of injuries so I guess I’ll toss it in there.

So that’s the plan! There are a couple of running blogs out there that I follow and I find it so helpful to read about the experiences (good and bad) that other people have with running. I figured I would start keeping track of my runs, how I feel during them, what seems to be working/not working for me and post weekly about how they’re going.  You know, be sort of be a guinea pig for other aspiring runners out there. If nothing else, you can hold me accountable for my training so that I don’t completely embarrass myself in May. Fingers crossed!

And because this post didn’t have any pictures, here’s one of B showing us how much fun running can be:

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5 thoughts on “Public Humiliation: The Great Motivator

  1. I’m with bearrunner!

    I’m using Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 marathon training plan and my race is in 3 weeks. I’s a little nervous, but I think the training plan was awesome! I feel as ready as I’ll ever be!

    You’ll be great!

    • Oh how exciting! Hal Higdon’s plans are great, I’m glad to hear that it’s working for you. Good luck with the marathon, what an accomplishment that will be! (And thank you for the kind words!)

  2. Pingback: Half Marathon Training: Week 1 | The Wily Hound

  3. Pingback: Half Marathon Training: Week 8.5? 9? | The Wily Hound

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