Martini Fridays: Socks and Training Plans

The socks in question.
The socks in question.

Here's Adrienne Martini, of the popular Martini Fridays, last column until July 7, when she starts in on her 13.FUN journey, and then she's back to add an olive to our Fridays on a weekly basis. (You can join her—and us—in 13.FUN by registering here.)

Before I delve into what’s currently on my running mind, I have to take a moment to thank all y’all for the kind thoughts about my family’s loss. It means a lot to me. We’re muddling through, as one does.

Back to my running mind. Socks are the first thing spinning around in there. Specifically the socks above.

I bought these beauties—they were prettier fresh—during a trip to Disney last January. When I got home, I tore them out of the packaging, washed them, then ran in them. It was bliss. These are my Platonic ideal running sock. But after so many miles, they are starting to look a little sad. Now, I only wear them for extra long runs so that I can make them last.

I want to replace them with many, many more pairs of their siblings but can’t figure out what they are actually called. I’ve searched websites, including Mizuno’s. I’ve trolled running shops both big, small, and online. I suspect they are an older model that has slipped out of production. What I’ve found are socks that almost look like these, but not quite. Can anyone help me out?

And then the dog decided to “help” me take a picture.
And then the dog decided to “help” me take a picture.

Socks aside, after so many months of not training for anything at all, other than, you know, life, I’m ready to think about 13.FUN and the half-marathon I’ll be running in Syracuse  in October. More specifically, I’m thinking about which training plan to follow. There are three options:  run/walk, run, and race.

Given that I have one half under my running skirt, which sounds naughtier than intended, the run/walk isn’t the right plan for me. By eliminating one possibility, I’m left with just two. It should be easy to choose between just two things. It should also be easy to get the kids to unload the dishwasher because it’s a chore they do every dang day. And, yet, as I type this, the dishwasher remains unemptied.

To run or to race; that is the question. The run plan is more or less the one I trained with for the Pittsburgh Half. It is a fine, fine plan and it got me where I wanted to go. I have zero issues with taking it on again.

The race plan keeps winking at me, though. It ups the speedwork and intensity, which is appealing since I’d like to run just a smidge faster this time around. On the plus side, there are no Tuesday 7-milers, which were a bear to fit into my schedule. On the minus, the long runs are really, really long, like 14 and 15 miles toward the end.

And the Boy had to get involved, too. Ah, summer vacation.
And the Boy had to get involved, too. Ah, summer vacation.

I know, I know. As many have said, by the time I get there I’ll be ready for them. But I think those many are out of their minds. My longest run ever was 13.1 miles -- and that was a huge push. Now, 6 weeks removed from running that personal best, I don’t even know how I did it. Lately, after six miles I’m ready to pack it in and have a nice, refreshing beverage with a little paper umbrella in it. Those six mile runs have ranged from “meh” to “ugh.” How on Earth could I run 15?

And, yet, there’s still a part of me that wants to move beyond just getting the 13.1 done. I would like to go just a smidge faster. Disbelief aside— I once didn’t think I could ever run 10 miles—the race plan might be my best hope.

But there’s comfort in the familiar. I could just push myself to run the shorter distances faster on the run plan, right? I already have a decent idea about what those 15 weeks will mean, both in terms of physical and temporal commitment.

So that’s where I’m stuck. Should I go with the scary race plan, even though I have zero intention of actually racing-racing but would like to move faster? Or should I stick with the familiar run plan, even though I’m not sure I will have the gumption to push myself where needed? (Just to further muddy the waters : the race plan will be more fun for me to write about, even if ends as a cautionary tale rather than a song of victory.)

So what do you think, mother runners? Anyone care to weigh in? And socks? Can anybody help me find my version of Sock Utopia?


34 responses to “Martini Fridays: Socks and Training Plans

  1. I actually started using the run/walk method around my 5th half marathon and I PR’d! I’m much more consistent in my pace, and have an easier time motivating to push myself with the run/walk. Just a thought!

  2. I was at the same place you are in deciding which plan to take on…but the way my mind navigated through this decision was that I like to spice things up a bit. Keep things interesting and challenging. So I chose the race it plan. And if the worst happens and I hit a wall and my body rejects those REALLY REALLY long runs…well then I can always fall back on the run it plan!!! This time around I am planning on really pushing my mind and body to its limits…not staying in my comfortzone…pushing until it really hurts…but hopefully accomplishing a great PR! I hope that you choose to Race it as well…then I can read your journey along the way…and I am sure it is going to be inspiring!

    And as for the socks…I bought a pair of smartwools about a year ago…LOVE THEM!!!! Give them a try!

  3. I say go for the race plan! The great thing about a fall race is that when you are getting into your longer runs, there are still daylight hours, there is no snow on the ground, and there are a lot less layers of clothes to put on.

  4. I have only ran 3 half marathons and never got into speeding up my pace. I still have to figure out why I get so sick. It’s like I get race day anxiety…my long runs always went perfect…12 miles no problem, but then race day comes and I get sick. Have fun, and yeah, the right socks are everything. 🙂

  5. Are they Mizuno’s Tajima socks? I have several pairs, and they are without a doubt my favorite. When I run out, I know it’s time to do laundry!

  6. Lori makes a good point about not pushing SO hard to risk injury, as does Carrie re: considering the realities of family schedules and personal/professional commitments. That said, I’d go for the Race Plan and modify it if necessary. Move on up (and listen to your body while you’re doin’ it) Sorry I’m no help with the socks; I have yet to have such a “love affair” with any.

  7. Scouring the web for you! I will let you know if I find anything.I personally love Belaga socks. Though a little expensive, they have left me blister free!
    As far as running v. racing. My thoughts may be a little conservative but I would aim for a just little better PR and have another 1/2 under your belt for you really try to knock off time. Someone once told me that you don’t want to increase speed and mileage at the same time. That equals injury….totally guilty! I would enjoy the training and know that you’ve done it before and you are just fine-tuning your running. Good Luck and looking forward to reading more of your posts. I thoroughly enjoy them.

  8. Go with the race plan as best you can, but don’t stress if you can’t follow it exactly.

    The ‘Cuse half is a great race! Mostly flat, and much of it is along the water. I am disappointed to have to miss it this year, but I am doing a different half w/ my sister that same weekend.

    Swiftwick compression sox are my new go to. No blisters, even when wet. And they are made in America by a small company in TN.

  9. I love the race plan. For my first half, my trainer had me go to 15 miles. It was hard but I have never been more amazed at my physical and mental strength. Plus when I was running my actual half, I kept thinking, “You got this, you’ve run 15.”

  10. Look at your schedule and assess how much of a ruckus the racing plan will cause. And then sign up for the racing plan anyway. Your hesitation reminds me so much of those who ask if they should register for a marathon: if you’re thinking about it, then you’re ready for it.


  11. Don’t forget to consider what your personal and work schedules will be like later on in the training cycle. Will you be on vacation? Will work committments be picking up? Will there be activities for the kids that may get in the way of speedwork sessions or weekend long runs? Much as I hate to admit it, these things factor into my training plan decisions. That way I’m not setting myself up for failure (or perceived failure) down the road when I cut back on training and/or switch training plans.

    Whatever you decide, good luck! I bet the weather in Syracuse in October will be perfect for 13.1!!

  12. I also ran my first half in May. I used the TLAM ‘Own It’ plan. Before this training plan, the longest I had run was 10 miles. I was definitely scared of the 12, 13, 14, and (gulp) 15 milers, but I found that if I chose a nice route, great music, and was very patient with myself, the distance eventually became less intimidating. Good luck!

  13. I know you are trying to find that specific Mizuno sock, but I just have to give a shout out for Balega socks. GAME. CHANGERS. Seriously. They aren’t cheap ($10/pr), but oh so worth it. I bought mine on Amazon. I’m in love.

  14. I only run in smartwool. My feet always feel great, they keep their shape. I’ve had some pairs for 5 years.
    I ran a rainy cold October half marathon in them where I had to run thru standing water in flooded streets and my feet were fine 🙂

  15. I had the same decision to make so I signed up for both groups on Strava but now I know if I don’t go with Race It I will mentally beat myself up about it over the next 15 weeks.

  16. I loved your Friday posts and look forward to new weekly reads. I say go for the race plan! You know you can do the run plan, because you’ve done it. Push for the next level, but don’t beat yourself up when it comes to the runs longer than 13.1! I have confidence that you’ll make it, though! Good luck and happy running.

  17. Push yourself. If, and I am not sure you will, you find it too much, you can alter/change midway.

    As for socks, I love SmartWool and Belaga socks.

  18. I bought the identical socks at a tent sale and have also been trying to find them again. They’re perfect for Florida running (it was 97 degrees yesterday!) If you can identify them, please please let me know!

  19. I’m doing the Race plan for several reasons – well, a lot, but several that might resonate with you:

    1. Long midweek runs are an issue for me too. (I didn’t even compare it to the Run plan, but now that I look at it, I would have a hard time cranking out 7 miles before my kids wake up.)

    2. I don’t want to *race* my next half to the point that I won’t enjoy it, but I do want to run it faster than I did my first, which is more likely to happen if I challenge myself in training.

    3. I figure if it becomes overwhelming, I can back off and work with the Run plan, but if I start with the Run plan, I don’t really have a plan B.

    But I think either plan is challenging enough to keep you on track and help you run a faster half this fall. I think I would probably improve on my spring half time either way, if only because fall is usually perfect racing weather and I won’t be coming off this last miserable winter.

  20. Since this is called 13.FUN, I would opt for the shorter, less intense training plan and just have fun with it. You will be faster the second time, i’m sure, because you will have honed your race strategy, fueling, and pit stops better.

  21. For Pittsburgh, it was your first time training for a half marathon, period, and you had the challenges of winter to contend with. This will be your first time training for a half through the summer, which is arguably tougher (okay, for me it is). I don’t think the “run” plan would be a terrible idea. But I tend to take the long view on running goals and ramp up slowly.

    On the other hand, starting with the “race” plan and knowing you have a Plan B in your back skirt pocket (??) might be the happy compromise. Then you can just see how it goes!

  22. This is the exact dilemma that I’m in. I ran the Pgh half LAST year and my next half is (hopefully) also in October. I, too, did the Finish It! plan and, well, I finished it (and in decent time, too – 2:15). I would also like to PR but, dang, 15 miles? I dunno. The one thing pushing me towards the Own It! plan is that I’ll be running with my college roommate (who I haven’t seen in 20 years and who will likely show me up – she’s more of a badass than I am…). I can’t wait to hear what you decide and why!

  23. Go for the RACE plan! I want to hear your exciting tales (and I think you can do it)!

    I wish I knew what those socks are to help you out. My favorite socks are CEP compression socks. They are great on the calves and I don’t ache after the race!

  24. I also found some socks I LOVE, and now can’t find them anywhere, so I feel your pain there. Good luck!!

    Now, about the plans. I ran my first half with the Finish It plan and wanted to go faster. So for my next one I jumped to the Own It plan. It was just too much too soon for this old body. I ended up going back to the Finish It plan and added no more than a mile to the long runs. That is just what worked for me. I have since done the finish it plan 2 more times and each time I have gotten faster. I knocked 8 minutes off my last Half! For me, that is what worked. I made sure I did strides or fartleks at least once a week. I also added some core strength workouts here and there.

    Follow your gut.

  25. I would stick with the run plan if you’re questioning anything. You can always push yourself when you WANT to, and not feel like you HAVE to.

    Balega socks are my sock utopia, any of them. (When I trained for my first full me feet were so blistered, torn up and bloody I used them as threats against my kids.) LOVE Balega.

  26. R A C E !
    You know you want to!
    There is nothing to regret when it’s said and done.
    With the Run plan, you may have regrets.
    Go for it!

  27. Two things for you here 1. about the socks… email Mizuno. Send them the same pictures and where you bought them at and how they work for you. I’m sure they will be able to tell you exactly what they are called and if they still make them any more. They should be able to tell you if they are no longer making them and what, if anything, has replaced them. Heck they might even send you a free coupon or discount off the new pair. 2. I say do the race plan. You know you can do the run it plan. Test yourself and your inner strength. No one says you have to race-race the actual half, but if you actually want to try to PR I think it’s the way to go. Going above and beyond 13.1,distance wise, was the key to a 9 minute half PR success for me. I wasn’t scared to tackle the new distances in training. I actually looked forward to it. I knew I would be out of my comfort zone and that’s what I needed. I’m always telling my kids to try new things. Even if things seem scary or too hard you will never really know unless you try. (Sorry just went all mom on you.) If all else fails and it is too much to handle you can always cut those long runs and the plan back. It’s not set in stone and your life doesn’t depend on it. Personally, I would challenge myself. I say race it.

  28. Race plan! If it gets rid of one run that you struggled to fit in AND gives you some speed work that you’re intrigued by, I call that a win-win. And if 15 sounds too far, there is nothing wrong with turning those 14 and 15 milers into 11, 12 or 13s. But I have a feeling that once you get to that point in the training, you’ll want to cover that distance. Your body will know that it can! It will bring you an extra boost of confidence on race day when you know you can cover the distance plus some.
    Good luck with your decision making. I so enjoy reading your running thoughts. Thank you!

  29. Hi Adrienne! My favorite socks are the ones I got from a AMR party–the sof soles. I had 3 pairs–but one has mysteriously disappeared. As far as the half training goes, I have never (gasp) followed a plan–just ran my normal runs and added long runs on once/week. My longest run training for a half is 12 miles. But I do a lot of cross training–including yoga and weight lifting. I think that helps me more than adding more miles. But some people need those long runs to build their confidence as well.

  30. My absolute favorite are Balega “Lady Enduro 4 No Show” hidden comfort socks. They are thicker than a lot of the running socks out there, but are so wicking (and crazy soft), I don’t thick I’ll ever go back to a thinner sock again.

  31. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with repeating the run plan. It sounds like it was challenging the first time and it will probably still provide a challenge the second. I’ve repeated plans for races of the same length and I felt like my running was still improving, still building my base for running. Good luck!

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