Applying ‘the 60-day challenge’ to running…in 6 months.

*First of all, thank you all for your words of encouragement on my ‘the thing about blogging’ post yesterday. I was actually completely taken aback (in a good way) by your support and range of suggestions and perspectives on the topic. And to think, I just slapped that post up because it had been swirling in my mind a lot lately, not thinking it would elicit a ton of feedback. Sometimes it’s those posts that truly get the best feedback, somehow (the ones you think won’t for whatever reason). So, thank you. I’m still figuring out my ‘approach’ on my blog and what I may or may not change in terms of frequency, topics, and focus, but for now, I’ll just post whatever comes to me, whenever that may be.**

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I am going to keep some sort of running training regime into my weekly workouts through the cold winter months.

I want to maintain some mileage. As in years past, I tend to run 3-4 days a week 3-5 miles (read: just enough not to want to gouge my eyeballs out on the dreadmill)…I don’t want my mileage to meander too low, so once spring comes and I want to run longer, I am not starting from scratch.

I would love to increase my pace (notice I didn’t say speed…because I firmly believe I will never be a 8 minute mile runner…and I am completely okay with that!). I’m probably a 10 minute miler, maybe a little under. So I know some sort of intervals (maybe these borderline-crazy-ass ones…or any others this crazy-ass-but-awesome guy has in mind!)

I want to use the dreadmill to my advantage and finally get my breathing under control. So far, it is really helping. The intervals I attempted (from aforementioned borderline-crazy-ass ones…) this week and last week were scary as hell for me, but with a few modifications, I was able to hold an uncomfortable pace for 1/4 – 1/2 mile increments. And ya know what? The breathing wasn’t half bad. My true test will be running in chilly temps outside, which I have shied away from of late, but plan to get out there this Saturday (don’t let me chicken out, Steph!).

And finally…I want to run another half marathon. Yep. I know. I said I never would. But things change.  I want that do-over experience that I almost had during the time I just ran, and Dori’s post today really motivated me and inspired me to just go for it (no, not a full marathon like my lovely but crazy-ass sister hehe)…whenever I feel comfortable doing that. Maybe it’ll be one of the half marathons Jess does in prep for her full marathon, or maybe it will be a completely different one. I don’t know yet. And I don’t even know if I will talk about what race I decide on so I don’t build up this sense of expectation and anticipation that I think partially did me in, mentally, for the last one (in addition to lots of other race day snafus!).

Why am I saying all of this? Because it dawned on me. I need to apply the 60-day challenge mentality to running. See where I am in six months. If I could get the results I got from barre n9ne in six months, can you imagine what I can potentially accomplish with a six month ‘challenge’ for running?! The possibilities honestly excite me.

What’s my plan? Well, it’s a work-in-progress in my mind. I’d love your input, friends, and suggestions on how I can accomplish the goals I mentioned here, in a good chunk of time. Six months. Six months is totally doable for just about anything I would like to accomplish, right?

Initial thoughts on my plan of attack:

  • A base of 3 solid runs per week
  • One interval run, alternating between straight up speed and (eek, gasp, noooo), incline intervals. I NEED to conquer hills. This is the way to do it.
  • One ‘longer’ run each week. Right now, my longest dreadmill run is 5.5 miles this fall. Not bad but not very far, either. I’d like to gradually increase that by 1/2 mile each week (maybe more, depending how I feel).
  • One ‘maintenance run’ per week – 4-6 miles.
  • And finally, I’ll spin once a week for some cross-training activity and to keep my legs strong.
What do you think? Suggestions? What else do you think would help me achieve the goals I am setting forth in my 6 month running challenge? 



40 thoughts on “Applying ‘the 60-day challenge’ to running…in 6 months.

  1. My one and only piece of advice? Stop talking yourself out of being a runner. The second you start with the backhanded phrases like “I’ll never be a fast runner and I’m ok with that” – you’re already casting doubt in your mind in your abilities. Why not free yourself from that boundary you place around your running ability? Why not say the sky’s the limit? I’m planning to run a frikkin’ MARATHON over here – I have no idea what I’m in for but I’m going for it. I’m not doubting myself. I’m not turning back. I’m not talking myself out of it. I’m just gonna go for it. Same should hold true for you. There is nothing you can’t accomplish if you set your mind to it – nothing. So set your mind to goals without boundaries. My two cents. ❤

    1. I actually don’t think I was trying to talk myself out of being a runner…but I always appreciate your perspective, sis. And while speed is just not something I completely care about, yeah, I’d like to incrementally get a little bit faster. But my goal is just solid, good, happy runs, and some distance. I am setting my mind to this and hey, if I end up a speed demon, I won’t be complaining 😉

  2. I respectfully disagree with Jess; I’m a slow runner and proud of it. Just because I acknowledge that I’m slow and won’t ever beat a world record doesn’t mean I don’t get my butt out there every morning! Some people have different goals; mine is distance. Some people may focus on speed but I just want to complete it.

    I think it’s a great idea to set this block aside for improving your running! It’s much easier to contemplate spending six months getting better than years. Best of luck!

    I’ve started a blog recently about running and I’m looking for feedback. Hoping to inspire or just make fellow runners laugh. Check it out if you’ve got a minute:

    1. Hi there! thanks for the visit – I will check out your blog! That is awesome. As for your comment, I agree with you…speed doesn’t have to be every runner’s main goal. It’s not necessarily mine, and my focus is distance, like you said, and honestly, just having good, solid runs. Gaining back the rest of the confidence I am still looking for. Hope you stick around, I am going to check your blog out now!

  3. I have a hard time maintaining my running endurance during the winter. Your plan sounds good. I think I should adopt it for myself. I’d like to get faster too. We’re pretty much the same speed.

    1. I think we should do this challenge together, Lee! Virtually! And hey…maybe even find a race somewhere this spring or early summer that we can run together. How’s THAT for motivation?! at least the 6 month challenge part…I think it would be awesome! (and I love that you are the same speed as me!)

  4. I would consider investing in some great winter running clothes and accessories. I run outside year-round (in Minnesota), and it is soooo much better than a treadmill. Then again, I am crazy. But it’s definitely possible to stay warm outside with the right gear!

    1. Sigh – Emma, you are right, I really should try to do more outdoor runs even when it is cold. I am SUCH a wuss and if you can do it in Minnesota, I sure as hell should be able to here. I promise to try and get some in this winter, but I can’t guarantee all will be 🙂 suggestions on good running gear?

      1. 🙂 My #1 gear recommendation is a good neck gaiter. I hate having my face get cold, and I love being able to pull the gaiter up over my nose if need be. So top 3: gaiter, good hat, wind-proof running mittens. Also, wear layers to protect the spots that tend to get cold first on your body. For me, that’s my belly and my thighs. When I buy running gear, I hit up, REI, and sometimes even Target for cheap layering pieces.

  5. i wish i had more insight as to what your plan should be. but i do have all certainty that, once you and the people who know stuff about running figure one out, you will see it through. you’ve been a total rock-star with these challenges; what would be different about this one?

  6. Jolene, youre plan is awesome. Perfect. 3 solid runs through the winter and some spin, yes! A good mix of run styles, yes! I might suggest trying your longer run outside on the weekend when weather permits, just to get a break from the dreaded dreadmill. Honestly its not bad often times through the winter. A day at 30 thats sunny and calm is great and feels so good to get fresh air. And we get plenty days like that through winter.

    Im glad to see you’ve done intervals twice already, I still believe youre gonna surprise yourself. Make the 3 days count, work them hard. Remember HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) does heaps of good (look it up on google), including speeding up your metabolism for 36 hours after, raising your lactic threshold, improving your overall aerobic condition, lowering your resting heart rate, I could go on and on…

    Follow your plan all winter and youre gonna kick some serious ass come 5K season in the spring. Stay positive too, stop saying ‘Im not.. or I will never be… BAH. Youre not confident in your own ability, yet, we’re all like that to some degree, but it will come, the ability AND the confidence with perseverance. Stick to your plan and youre gonna blow your own mind with what you accomplish. Honestly.

    Run like the police are chasing you. Cheers.

    1. I totally agree, obviously. Jo – a year ago the longest I had run was 5 miles. Now look. Fast 5ks, 5 half marathons, 2 marathons, 100+ miles months continuously.

      You can do this. Be confident (I’m still learning this one too), work hard, and you will see results that you never thought you’d see. Trust me.

      And TOTALLY get out there on Saturday or Sunday and run that long run outside when you can, it’s refreshing, and the cool air will help with lung conditioning.

      You’re gonna be great hun, I know it!

    2. Aww! thank you Jim!! I really appreciate you weighing in and giving me some good guidance and suggestions. I will try to do some runs outside…as hard as it is for me, I know it will be good for me. Sorta like intervals 😉 I would LOVE to blow my own mind with what I can accomplish. Cheers to that 🙂

  7. I think this is a great plan. Also, you don’t always have to start with the half distance. You could focus on 5/10K’s for a while to build up strength, speed and race practice? Just a thought…

    1. You’re right…I don’t. I actually just want to get to that distance so I can prove to myself that I can. I honestly don’t really want to run other races…because I still think racing isn’t my ‘thing’ – it’s the distance I am trying to accomplish.

  8. Your twitter check-ins seemed like a great idea for specific runs… any chance you can apply these over the winter? You know… have someone you very publicly report to?

    (BTW I will always and forever write “pubilically” until the lil squiggly red lines remind me I’ve spelled yet another word wrong).

    I mean… I could use some help right freakin’ now. I have SUCH a hard time keeping up my yoga practice while I am away from my studio. I’ve been good for the past couple mornings, but I have two more weeks here, then a month over the holidays! As my teacher told me before I left, I’m really progressing but I *need* to keep a string of practice going so i can come back faster.

    Can we figure this out? Even if I’m reporting on yoga and you’re running? 😀

    1. Yes!! Let’s do it!! We can tweet to each other the morning we are trying to run or do yoga (or the night prior!) and them report back on our progress in the morning! 🙂

      1. Oooh, oooh… can I get on board this one? I don’t run, but I’m just starting out a regular walking routine (wow that sounds lame next to running and yoga). I could reeeeeally use help staying motivated. Because I suck at sticking to things 🙂

        1. Walking is NOT lame. Just saying. Would love you to join us!! We’ll do some twitter accountability stuff…we should email on this more I am thinking 🙂

  9. This sounds like a great plan! It’s reasonable and attainable! Though, don’t sell yourself short – if you keep it up you’ll eventually get faster. Slow and steady wins the race (the #CLE half marathon race?)!

  10. I love the idea. I have nothing planned after my marathon in two weeks. I was commenting on Lee’s blog that I need something to work towards during the winter. I always let running just meander to a few runs here and there with no direction. This is a great idea and I want to try it! Starting a few weeks from now.
    And I’m a very slow runner (talking like 2:30-3:00 for a trail climb half and hope to run/walk this full in under 6) but I think I appreciate what my body can do with it’s limitations just as much as the faster girls.

    1. That is so awesome! I hope you join us!! I am so glad that you like it and want to do it as motivation too. I think it’s a great idea and the comranderie will help us all stay motivated! Good luck on your marathon, that’s crazy awesome!

  11. I can officially be IN on this I am getting cleared to start running again after my injury. YAY! I’m signed up for a half marathon in January (craziness) so I am going to need that little extra push to keep me going through these cold long training runs.

  12. I think it’s great that you’re setting new goals for yourself. There are always challenges that can inspire, motivate and change us for the better! I’m not the best in the fitness arena, but know that I’ll be cheering you on from afar. xoxo

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