A testament to ongoing training

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Tuesday April 15, 2014.

I ran my first half marathon1 on Sunday. It was right here in Reno along the awesome Truckee River. I decided that I would do the race last Tuesday. It was one that Christy signed up for a few months ago, only to find herself injured soon after and unable to properly train. I saw on Facebook that the race was coming up and asked her if it was the one she had signed up for and would they be willing to transfer it to me. Luckily, and gratefully, they were (thanks to Reno 5000).

I’m writing this because I think speaks to the training regimen I’m using as part of my overall training plan for the big goal. I didn’t train for this race, as most people do. I run regularly. Actually, I run almost obsessively at this point. It’s not a ton—I get in between 20 and 23 miles per week. I run three times each week. Couple that with one or two days of swimming and the occasional (at this point) bike ride and you have the lot of it.

I really don’t think that’s a lot. But it’s really consistent. I’ve run in that range since before the beginning of the year. As a rule, I’ve made sure I didn’t miss a workout in the morning and I make sure I run every single Sunday to get over that 20 mile mark each week. It has paid massive dividends, along with a focus on calorie intake early on. The weight loss coupled with the increase in fitness has made me capable of things I never thought I’d even want to be capable of.

I finished the half in just under two hours. Even at my peak the past two years, that was never going to happen. But this commitment the past several months made it possible to decide less than a week beforehand to do a race of this distance and nail my goal. Prior to the new year, I wouldn’t have broken a 10 minute mile average. Instead, I didn’t even run a single mile in over ten minutes—and that includes the slow downs and stops for Gatorade and gummy bears (don’t try to eat those while running—you’ll almost choke and die then wind up swallowing them whole). It also included the ability to look at my watch after mile 12 and decide I had to pick it up to make that goal.

Ultimately, what I want to get across is that ongoing training is an advantage to training for something specific. Although event-specific training can work, it doesn’t prepare you for the unseen. I see it as a mindset. I plan on doing something difficult and potentially dangerous. If I set out to get ready for that the same year, I don’t know that I’d be capable of adjusting to changing conditions. By always being in a mental state that allows for change to the conditions in front of me, I am preparing myself for anything the task presents.

It also sets me up to change my regimen without losing any of the benefits of the training. If I had a set pan, and I then had to change to learn a new skill, I’d throw myself off of that plan and potentially be set back. At my age, I can’t let that happen.

1 I have done two half marathons in the past as part of half Ironman distance races, but they were not something I’d count in this scenario. There was frequent walking and they were in no way a gauge of how I could straight run one.

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."