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Tuesday can’t get here soon enough.

That morning—opening day, if you will, for my running season—I begin a 10-week training program for my next half-marathon. Although I ran more this summer than ever before, I’ve taken a break in the last few weeks, running some but resting mostly. I’m jonessing, man!

I’ve even penned the start of a ditty to commemorate. (Apologies to baseball’s slightly more popular ballad.) Feel free to sing aloud.

Take me out to the surface streets.
Take me out to the trails.

How do I love opening day? Let me count the ways.

1. (Arizona) Winter Weather

Opening day is more than the start of my running season. It coincides with the long-anticipated break from central Arizona’s brutal triple-digit temperatures. If you have anyone in your social networks from the Phoenix area, you already know this. (“I went for a walk this morning and DIDN’T MELT.” “I turned off the AC and opened my windows last night. It was WONDERFUL.”)

Although early October’s highs are still too high for my liking (low 90s so far), the mornings have been gorgeous. This week’s 5k run was set to 64 degrees.

2. Focus on One Race

Tuesday will mark the first time since I started running three years ago that I’ll dedicate a full training regimen solely to a half-marathon. Each of the last two years I’ve either thrown a half into the middle of marathon training or tacked on a half after a marathon.

The result was I couldn’t get the results I wanted. Because my half-marathon pace (9:00-ish) is quite a bit quicker than my full marathon pace (10:20-ish), it wasn’t realistic to try for a time goal in the half that I hadn’t been training to meet. (Read this post for a quick recap of my halfs.)

3. Lower Mileage

After having scratched my marathon itch with three big races over 13 months in 2012–13, I am looking forward to, you know, taking it easy by “only” training for a half instead of a full. An 8-mile run is going to seem blissfully ho-hum compared with the 16s (and 18s, and 20s) I was running a year ago.

The five-years-ago me is shaking his head right now at the fact that an easy 8 miles is even in the realm of possibility.

Check that. The five-years-ago me is in total disbelief that I’m getting excited about running.

Is it Tuesday yet?

» What About You?
Do you have a running season? When is it?
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