An unnatural-born runner, a pretty regular yoga doer and a lover of cookies and other sweet treats, Times digital producer Laura Lane writes about her fitness journey. Questions, training tips or race suggestions? Throw her a line on email or Twitter.

It is time. My weeks of unbelievably strenuous slacking off are coming to a sudden end Monday when I begin my next round of half marathon training.

Conveniently enough, this training program starts with a rest day.

But those rest days after will be few and far between. It'll be one of two rest days I get a week for the next 12 weeks qw I prepare to dominate the Chicago Half Marathon in September. See, I've chosen to step up my game. Instead of following a beginner plan like I did for the last two rounds of training, I've decided to up the ante and will be following an intermediate program.

I meant it when I say, "I'm coming for you, 2:30 finish time."

Bring. It. On.

What's going to be different about this training program is that it'll feature a lot of tempo runs, cross training and speed work. This is the kind of stuff I usually only work on when I'm not training for any particular races — much like what I've been doing somewhat consistently for the last month. But it's what this training plan calls for. And, if I follow it, in theory it should up my speed for race day.

But before my training officially begins, I just want to bid my slack off month adieu. I appreciate all you did for me, slack off month. We had a lot of great times together, not running regularly at all and instead eating potato chips and the like while binge watching "Game of Thrones." I'll miss you terribly, slack off month. But I must get active again. It's time. Until next time, old pal.

Now, off to enjoy one last weekend of slacking off. I'll end it by celebrating with beers, BBQs and a bang, pun intended.

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