Our journey begins
Week 1 of 16: Starting off with 3 miles + some inspiration from John Bingham
Good morning/afternoon, friends! ☀️
So, are you ready to get started with our training together for the Richmond Half Marathon? I’ve put together a 16-week plan that takes us from where we’ll start this week all the way through to our race day, on Saturday, November 11 — it’s all listed out in the schedule below, with the miles for each day we run.
(We’ll start tomorrow, by the way, with a 3-mile run.)
For me, this moment in preparing for a race always feels like the beginning of a long journey — that I’m starting out on a kind of quest, where I’ll feel different, maybe even be different, at the end of it than I am at the beginning. That I’ll learn something, or maybe many things, about myself and what I’m capable of — including whether I can really do this!
It’s been quite a few years since I’ve run 13.1 miles all at once; my longest recent long run is 10 miles, and while I think I’ll be able to cross the finish line at Richmond this November healthy and feeling strong, I still need to run that extra 3.1 miles to prove it to myself. I’ll need to take care of my Achilles tendon, which seems to flare up more lately. I’ll need to watch my diet and plan out what I’m eating. And I’ll need to make sure the rest of my life is both taken care of, and allows for the training I need to do.
As I was thinking of this over the weekend, I picked up John Bingham’s The Courage to Start and happened to open it up at this passage from chapter 9 (“The Starting Line”), which struck me as perfect for where we are right now:
“In most of our lives there are very few times when we are required to be completely honest with ourselves and with those around us. We spend thousands of dollars to make ourselves look better or seem smarter or richer than we really are. Someone once told me that for most of his life he had worked a job that he didn’t like so that he could buy things he didn’t need to impress people he would never meet.
Standing at the starting line, the illusions we use to create ourselves are useless. No amount of money or status, real or perceived, means a thing once the race starts. For better or for worse, the starting line is the true source of equality…
More than that, standing at the starting line is the time when we can see ourselves most clearly. The starting line is where we experience the enigma of life — that we are each alone and yet part of a larger group. Standing at the starting line we see those around us as both competitors and companions. We see them, as we can see ourselves, as people with an inescapable need to be part of something outside ourselves, while still maintaining the integrity of who they are.
It is a strange sensation to know that we are both the same as, and distinct from, those around us. We look alike, we’re dressed alike, and yet we are completely unique. It is also unsettling to realize that what you are feeling is shared by almost exactly the person next to you…”
How do you feel? Nervous? A little scared? I am too. But I’m also excited to get started — it’s interesting how those two emotions mingle together, isn’t it? — and especially I’m looking forward to meeting up with you all in Richmond this fall.
Below, you’ll see our complete schedule, with the miles we run listed for each date on the calendar between now and Nov. 11. And I’ve included a downloadable PDF, if you’d prefer everything in one doc.
As always, keep in touch and let me know how your running/life is going — in the comments, or in reply back.
Our training schedule
Tuesday, July 25 — 3 miles
Thursday, July 27 — 3 miles
Saturday, July 29 — 4 miles
Sunday, July 30 — 3 miles
Tuesday, Aug. 1 — 3 miles
Thursday, Aug. 3 — 3 miles
Saturday, Aug. 5 — 5 miles
Sunday, Aug. 6 — 3 miles