Sunday, August 28, 2016

Week 8 Half Marathon Training - Vacation Style

This week was a 4-run week. Normally I just do a steady pace run, a couple easy treadmill runs and my hill run. But this week ended up being a bit different.

Wednesday we left to do the Iron Mountain Jubilee 50 Mile Endurance Ride, so my runs were a bit different than normal.

Monday - 5 mi @ 12:27

Very happy with that run.

This was my normal steady pace run at my normal place, River Park in Brentwood. But this week, I got to bump it up to 5 miles. This run scared me a good bit, but I kept reminding myself that the bump from 3 to 4 miles was scary and I got through that.

I got a good break on the weather and it was about 81° and only 45% humidity during my run! I started out by eating 2 clif shot bloks during my warm-up. I ran under Moores Lane and up the small hill and past the restrooms. Then down the other side of the small hill. Fortunately, my Garmin Forerunner 630 told me to turn around at the base of the next hill. Whew! I did have to run back up the hill I'd just run down, but I was ok with that.

I managed to keep running for the entire 5 miles. I went slower on the uphills, but kept going. On the small downhill just north of Moores Lane, I had a ball running down that. A great song came on my Google radio station and I flew (for me) through that section until I finally reined it in, reminding myself I still had another 1.5 miles to go.

I hit my splits pretty well. Target was 12:36. Splits were 12:32, 12:36, 12:48 (some minor hills in here), 12:08 and 12:15. My 4th mile had the downhill in it. I tried to dial it back for the 5th mile, but apparently I didn't do as well as I'd hoped. I need to remember this is about control, not speed, but it was definitely a fun run.

The cooler weather made it much easier. I may want to bump my pace goals a smidge as it gets cooler, we'll see.

Tuesday - 5 mi @ 13:51

I had planned to do my hill workout this day since I would be on vacation on Friday, but my left glute was giving me a little trouble, so I decided to roll it and opt for an easy treadmill workout instead. I followed my run up with some really good stretching and a hot bath and that seemed to fix it up.

Wednesday - 2.5 mi @ 13:13

Me and my girl Sasha on our run

We traveled to Ivanhoe, VA, for an endurance ride. After we got parked, I headed on on the New River trail for an easy run. I took my endurance mare, Sasha, with me.

Sasha followed me very well. It took her awhile to figure out what I was doing, but I tried hard to maintain as even a pace as I could. Sasha jogged along behind, then would walk for several steps until she got almost to the end of the lead rope, then would jog some more. I did not have to tug on her or otherwise keep her going. She adjusted to me quite well.

We turned around after a mile and a quarter and headed back the way we came. Sasha came up by my shoulder now that we were headed back to camp and she was more sure of what we were doing. She still adjusted to my pace and didn't tug on me to get back to camp faster. But I did play a bit with matching steps with her and we would run (no longer jogging) together. It was great fun. I can see how it would be beneficial to run with her for my speed work.

Thursday - 12.5 mi @ 14:21

Ready to run

Thursday morning, my husband took me down to Fries, VA, and left me to run the New River Trail back to the Ivanhoe Horse Show Grounds where we were camped.

I ate a couple of fake sausage links (I'm a vegetarian) before we left. Then during my warm-up I ate a gel. Then every 48 minutes, I ate either another gel or 2-3 clif shot bloks. That seemed to work quite well.

It was cool and overcast at the start. About 64° and very humid. It warmed up over the course of the run and the sun came out, but most of the trail was in the shade and I had a great run.

I was supposed to do an 8 miler this week, but due to the opportunity to run this section of the New River trail, I waived that minor detail and I'm glad I did. I was aiming for a 13:29/mi pace, but ended up with 14:21/mi pace due to a couple of stops along the way and taking lots of pics, but since it was longer than I was planning and used to, I'm happy with the pace.

For a more complete wrap of my run with plenty of pictures, check out my blog post on the New River Trail - Fries to Ivanhoe.

Friday - Hill Friday - 2.5 miles

Beautiful view on the endurance ride; my buddy and his horse

So Hill Friday was bumped for a 50 mile endurance ride. I rode my mare Sasha all day. During the 2nd loop, I hand walked her up a 1.5 mile gravel road over 1250 feet. Then on the 3rd loop, I walked up another mile and 350 feet. So I'm going to add that 2.5 miles and 1600 feet of elevation to my weekly totals.

For a recap of the entire endurance ride, please head on over to read my endurance blog post, Iron Mountain Jubilee 2016.

Weekly Totals

Training mileage: 27.61 miles
Training time: 7 hours

Total Mileage*: 30 miles
Total Time*: 7 hours 55 minutes
Elevation Gain: 2,267 ft

* includes warm-up and cool-down

Coming Up

This week coming up is a normal 5-run week. Due to my success with my 12.5 mile long run, I'm going to keep my long run at 10 miles this week and see how that goes.

New River Trail - Fries to Ivanhoe, VA

Last week, I was pleased to be able to attend the Iron Mountain Jubilee Endurance Ride. We arrived on Wednesday for the Friday 50 miler with my horse, Sasha. For a recap of that ride, please visit my endurance blog post Iron Mountain Jubilee 2016.

But I had some time Thursday morning, so I decided to go for a run along the New River Trail.

Originally, I had planned on running from the horse camp at Ivanhoe, VA. I just planned to run south for 5 or so miles and turn around and head back. But my husband pointed out it was only about 12 or 13 miles if I ran from the trailhead in Fries, VA. So Thursday morning, he drove me out to Fries and dropped me off for my long run for the week.

The trail is well maintained rails to trails project. The trail I have done is easy with very little elevation change and a wide even path of crushed gravel. It's a beautiful run with lots of shade and some nice views.

I started my run at the trailhead in Fries, VA. Plenty of parking and a large porta potty. No running water on this trail that I've seen, other than the horse camp at Ivanhoe, so be sure to bring enough water for your excursion or bring along a pocket water filter to refill from the river. I personally use a Sawyer Mini, but I didn't do that on this trip. I just carried 3 water bottles.

The porta potty at the Fries trail head.

This is a fee area.
Map at Fries.
Me all ready for my run!
This is a multi-use trail. It's a great trail for that. Wide with good line of sight most places.

Lots of geese at the Fries trail head!

Beautiful views of the river.
Double Shoals Campground about 4.5 miles north of Fries.
Porta potty and trash can at the campground. Again, no running water.
Campground fees

A few more campsites a little north of the porta potty and fee station.
Mile marker 46 on the left.

Fries Junction. The right trail leads to Fries (~5.5 mi); the left to Galax (~12 mi).
At Fries Junction, I ran into a couple of cyclists that were enjoying the trail and were taking a break. We had a great chat about multi-use trails. With me being a runner and a horseback rider, it was a fun chat. I shared with them the importance of cyclists talking to horseback riders so the horses get a sense that the scary 2 wheeled creature is actually a weird type of human. It was a very pleasant exchange and we parted ways after about 10 minutes.

Calm waters.
A rest stop with a bike rack and a horse hitching post.

Road crossings are marked by these barriers that keep unauthorized cars off the trail.

Another rest stop. Most of the rest stops and some of the trestles have these Emergency Number signs with the location printed on them. Very handy to have if you need some help.

4.5 miles north of Fries Junction, there is a trail that leads to a campground.
The trail back to this spot was in dis-repair. But a quiet place if that's what you're looking for. Would be difficult to get a bike back here.

Buck Dam
Buck Dam
Rest area just north of Buck Dam

Big Branch Trestle. There are several of these over roads or creeks. Horseback riders should dismount. If your horse freaks out, you have nowhere to go but over.

Just past Big Branch, the VA Highlands trail is accessible.
The Ivanhoe Horse Show Grounds were not much further on and I stopped there where we were camped. A very nice run. I highly recommend it for a nice easy run. Not technical, not difficult and I was able to get a nice long run in.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Half Marathon Training - Week 7 - Technical difficulties!

After some not so good runs last week, I had a great week this week. This was a 3-day week.

Monday - 4 miles @ 12:33

After my run

My steady pace run day. Target 12:36. Back to River Park this week for my run to Moores Lane and back. I forgot to bring any specific running fuel with me again, but I ate a good lunch of falafels, pita bread, hummus and salad and apparently that was enough.

It was warm at around 92° and 60% humidity. I carried a plastic water bottle, having forgot my handheld also. At least I had my heart rate monitor. I leave my shoes in the car and if push came to shove, I could run in my work shoes since my work shoes are the same brand and model as my favorite running shoes.

This was not an easy run, but it was a good run. I know I ran 4 miles, at least. I think I ran an extra tenth due to where I started and where I ended up when my watch beeped for the 4th mile. My Garmin Forerunner 630 messed up on me, as evidenced by no trackpoints when I got home and looked at the uploaded data.

My supposed splits were 12:37, 12:34, 12:28 and 12:33. Which is really good for me. It's entirely possible that those are my splits. I felt pretty good about the run and overall, I know I did at least 4 miles and I know how long I was running. So it's entirely possible that is real. But since my watch messed up, I don't entirely trust that data.

Because of starting my cool down later than I usually would, I didn't walk enough before stopping to stretch and ended up with a little bit of an upset stomach. The water left in my water bottle was also warm, which is enough to gag me anyway.

But no real issues from this run. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't completely out of reach either. A good run overall. Just the geek in me wanted the DATA!

Wednesday - 6.75 miles @ 13:09

Before the run. Love my inknburn rose shirt!!

Tuesday was an off day and I worked all day. Didn't even get a chance to ride a horse.

But Wednesday was my long run day. Due to my struggles with my 7.5 mile run last week, I decided to keep at the 7 mile distance this week.

Long runs are run at 12:30/mi for 4 minutes, 15 seconds. Walk for 1 minute. This should give me about a 13:29/mi average pace.

The weather was great. High 70s. Of course it was humid, but it's always humid.

Due to my Forerunner 630 going nuts on Monday, I began running with my Forerunner 620 again. 630 on my left wrist, 620 on my right.

Very little elevation on this run. Last week, I was at River Park for my long run and had more elevation to contend with.

I use my Forerunner 630 to give me pace alerts to try to keep me close to my pace. Since I was doing run/walk, I just set a fast pace alert of 12:15/mi so I wouldn't go too fast and burn myself out. Usually this works well, but this time, I was getting alerts of going faster than 10:00/mi (I wish) when I was cruising along around 12:40/mi. It got ridiculous and I finally shut off the pace alarm and ignored my 630 for pace purposes.

The 620 has a much longer smoothing algorithm, so it takes it a bit to catch up when changing pace from walking to running and back, but it was good enough to keep me paced by glancing at it when I felt I had sped up or slowed down.

I already said I was scheduled for a 7 mile run. Somehow I got confused when my watch beeped the 6th mile, I thought it was the 7th mile and was too far from my truck to just walk in. So I kept running another 3/4 of a mile. I thought that meant I was at 7.75 miles for this run, but in reality, I stopped a 1/4 mile too early.

Besides the equipment malfunction and stopping short, it was a very good run. I think the weather helped quite a bit. I could have easily done another mile and a quarter. I fueled for this run by eating 80 calories of mostly protein 45 minutes before starting, a gel during my warm up and another gel at the turn around point. I also drank about 30 oz of water during this run.

Mile 4 was too fast at 13:06 and Mile 6 again, too fast at 12:17 and the last 3/4 mile at 12:21/mi. These speedy segments made me a little too fast overall at 13:09, but I'm not too concerned, especially since the 12:17 and 12:21 were the last 2 splits and I was running ok through them without pegging my HR too high.

Overall, very pleased with this run and ready to bump up my mileage for the long run.

Thursday - 2 miles @ 13:03 - Bonus Workout

Due to cutting short my run on Wednesday, I decided to throw in an easy treadmill workout. This was a steady pace run at 13:03/mi for 2 miles.

My Forerunner 630 usually tracks my treadmill workouts really well (recording 1.01 or 1.02 for a 1 mile split), but it updated to software version 5.4 immediately before my run and was wildly inaccurate, recording 1.44 and 1.47 for my splits.

One of the updates that came in 5.4 was to fix issues with instant pace (which I saw on Wednesday) and consequently, that wiped out the memory my 630 had of my pace habits so could not longer accurately predict my indoor running pace. It'll relearn that as I run outside over the next several runs.

Hill Friday - 4 miles

Me ready for my run. UA shorts and very visible Franklin Classic shirt. FlipBelt under my shirt to hold my phone.

What a great workout! Did that spoil the suspense?? I don't care, it was the best hill workout I've had this training cycle.

I got up, did a couple chores and then out the door for my run. I grabbed a half ounce of dark chocolate covered dried cherries and my handheld water bottle and off I went.

The weather was perfect. 75° and cloudy, about to rain, so super high humidity. I thought I might get rained on, but only a few sprinkles.

I love getting these shots.

This week, I decided to extend my uphill jog interval to 30 seconds and my walking interval to 90 seconds. Still the same ratio of jog to walk, but twice as long. I started that immediately with the first hill and did it on all 3 hill climbs. I didn't monitor my pace at all, simply ran where I felt comfortable controlling my breathing.

The downhill jogs I ran at a very comfortable pace, about 11:00/mi with my heart rate running in the 130s. Amazing!

This workout ended up being the easiest and the fastest hill workout I've done for this training cycle. Super stoked about my running and it's great to see some fitness gains.

Weekly Totals

Training mileage: 16.75 miles
Training time: 3 hours 42 minutes

Total Mileage*: 18.75 miles
Total Time*: 4 hours 24 minutes
Elevation Gain: 861 ft

* includes warm-up and cool-down

Coming up

This week is a 4-run week, which usually means a couple easy treadmill workouts, a steady pace run and a hill run. But due to some vacation time coming up, I'm going to still run 4 runs, but they'll be a little different in composition and timing. Totally looking forward to this week's runs!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Training Plan Checkpoint

I've been running for 6 weeks and have not missed a single run so far. However, I think it's time for some small adjustments. This is a training plan for the Iron Horse Half Marathon in October. It's also serving as a base to my marathon training plan which will start just after the IHHM.

My training plan currently consists of 3 week cycles. Paces for each run type remain the same, but the distances get longer.

Week 1 is a 3 day run week - Steady Pace, Long, Hills.
Week 2 is a 4 day run week - Steady Pace, Easy A Run (slowest pace), Easy B Run, Hills.
Week 3 is a 5 day run week - Steady Pace, Easy A, Long, Easy B, Hills.

For my last marathon training plan, I only ran 3 days a week, so this plan is designed to help me run more days per week without overdoing my brain or body.

I really like this plan so far and it's working out well. My 5 day run weeks are tough, but followed by lots of rest and a controlled build up to another 5 day run week.

First concern and tweak. My Easy A runs have become too easy. These are run/walk runs at an overall 14:51 target pace. My Easy B runs are also run/walk, but at an overall target pace of 13:49. I'm going to swap out my remaining Easy A runs for Easy B runs and no longer have a run at a 14:51 target pace.

Second concern. My long run this week was pretty hard. I had a really rough time with my long runs during my marathon training cycle. My training plan calls for increasing my long mileage by a mile every time I do a long run. I don't think increasing my mileage when I'm struggling at 7 miles is a good idea. So I'm going to do another 7 mile long run next week and see how that goes.

I would like to add a long run day to every week. Right now I only have a long run in Week 1 and Week 3 of a cycle. This would allow me to practice my long run more often as well as let me bump up the mileage more often based on performance.

But if I do that, I will have to do something different for Week 2 as simply adding the long run to that week turns it into a 5 day run week and defeats the benefits of the controlled build up which is really working for me right now.

For the next 3 week training cycle, I'll adjust my Easy A runs to Easy B runs and do at least one more 7 mile long run. I may be in for a bit of a hurt doing the half marathon without having more longer runs, but I think in the long run, building up a better base is the way to go.

Half Marathon Training - Week 6

What a week! This was my 5 days of running week in my training cycle.

Monday - 4 miles @ 12:27

Map of the trail system at one of the trail heads.

Mondays are steady pace days. No walking scheduled. The first 5 weeks of my training, I did these at River Park, but due to a bit of a schedule change at work, I took the opportunity to go to Stones River Greenway (SRG) in Murfreesboro.

During my marathon training, I did a lot of my long runs at SRG, but haven't run there since. It was a bit weird to only be doing 4 miles!

I parked at the General Bragg trail head. There are bathrooms with real toilets and running water, a playground and a nice pavilion at this trail head. There are LOTS of places to access this trail, but not all of them have all the amenities.

I messed up my fueling for this run. I've started fueling my runs of substance (steady pace, long and hill runs). I planned to take a gel right before I started, but after a mile, I realized I hadn't taken the gel and I didn't have one with me. Not much to do but just keep going. I was prepared to fade pretty quickly in the last half of my run. I did the entire run on 70 (mostly protein) calories I'd eaten about 45 minutes before the run.

Temp was about 81° with 89% humidity.

These steady pace runs are targeted at 12:36/mile. Last week, I struggled with this pace/distance at River Park, so was prepared to struggle on this run. But I managed to hit 12:25, 12:35, 12:26 and 12:20 splits! When I did the first mile so fast, I dialed it back for the 2nd mile and was pretty happy with that split. When I hit 12:26 for the 3rd mile, I was sure my last mile would be too slow, but I managed to make my last mile the fastest split.

My HR stayed under control the entire time and my breathing was pretty good as well. While I was a little annoyed with myself for going too fast, I was happy that I was able to turn in such a good run and feel so good afterwards.

Near my turn-around spot, I passed a mother pushing a stroller and her young son on a bike. I passed them, then shortly turned around and headed back toward them. The young boy asked me why I would turn around?? I paused and had a fun little exchange with him before continuing on.

1st run of 5 down with a great performance!

Tuesday - Easy 4 miles

I hit the treadmill again for 4 miles of easy run/walk intervals while watching Hulu. This workout felt too easy. My average HR for each split was never over 125 and my max HR for each split never made it over 136. Soooo, I started thinking easy is one thing, but THIS easy? I think my HR should at least be in the 140s when I'm jogging. This is my easiest workout of the entire training cycle.

Wednesday - 7.5 miles @ 13:59

A family of turkeys that ran across the path in front of me.

First bad run of the week. I've had several good runs in a row, so I guess it was time for one that wasn't as good. I shouldn't say it was bad, but I had high hopes for this run given my Monday and Tuesday runs.

This was an afternoon run. 90° and 64% humidity. I went to River Park and probably 50% of the run was in sun. Running further put me into the hills south of Moore's lane. Not really a lot of elevation when it's all said and done, but still enough to make my run harder.

This training cycle, I do a run/walk of 4 minutes 15 seconds @ 12:30 and 1 minute walk for my long runs.

My first two miles were too fast at 13:17 and 13:12. During the 3rd mile I paused to refill my water bottle and had a little issue with that. 13:57 for that mile. I kept getting slower and slower and didn't turn in a split faster than 14:00 for the rest of the run. My slowest split was 14:33, so it could have been worse.

Completely out of water.

I did fuel for this run. I ate a decent meal about 3 hours before I started. I took a gel during my warm-up and another about half way. I drank about 30 oz during the run. I could have drank more, but that's all I had available.

I had a lot of trouble controlling my pace, my breathing and my HR. I got it done, but it just wasn't a good run. I likely overreached my distance and my pace, not to mention doing the first 2 miles faster than scheduled.

I was only scheduled for a 7 mile run, but because of all the HR alerts I was getting, I didn't see my Garmin watch tell me when to turn around, so I ran 1/4 mile past where I should have turned around.

Thursday - Easy 4 miles

This treadmill workout was NOT easy. I was still fatigued from my long run not 24 hours before. I also was scheduled for 3 miles, but my iFit workout was for 4 miles, so I did 4 instead.

iFit has an annoying way of doing workouts that you can't copy and alter a workout, you have to start all over from scratch if you want a new workout. Very annoying and time consuming, so it was faster and "easier" just to do the extra mile than spend the time to create a 3 mile workout.

My run intervals for this workout are 4.5 minutes at 13:03 pace with a 1 minute walk. My breathing was not pretty. Not very under control. But my HR did ok, placing me in the early 140s during my run intervals.

My legs were rather heavy during this run, so I spent 15 minutes after the run doing some extra body weight exercises and then another 5 doing PT on my left ankle. I broke that ankle several years ago and it tends to lock up after most of my runs.

I also ended up doing a 3/4 mile bonus workout because I started my run and then realized I had an appointment, so had to stop and come back later. Of course, instead of just continuing, I started the entire run over.

Hill Friday - 4 miles

View from the top of the hill.

I seriously didn't want to do my hill workout. I considered skipping it, but I don't have a target pace for this workout, so I promised myself I could walk all the uphills and even some of the downhills if that's what I wanted.

So I laid out my running clothes before I went to sleep. When my alarm rang, I immediately put on my running clothes and was out the door in 15 minutes, munching on some dried pineapple during my warm up. I usually don't run that early, preferring warmer weather and sun and to be conscious for my run (I don't wake up fast), but I was afraid if I put it off, I wouldn't do it at all.

I walked up the first hill, but ran too fast down the other side. It was really fun! I was lucky I didn't trip and fall on my face, but I didn't. It was great to run an 8:00/mile pace for a few minutes! I did 15 second jog and 45 second walk intervals up the next 2 hills and jogged nicely down them. I ended up with a decent run. My breathing for the uphill jog intervals wasn't as good as it could be. Hard to get into a good rhythm for 15 seconds though.

I was very happy to be done with my runs for the week! My right hip flexor began aching, likely due to the fast downhill running and my neglect of a decent cool down and stretching after the hill run. So I soaked in a really hot tub and that helped.

Weekly Totals

Training mileage: 24.5 miles
Training time: 5 hours 37 minutes

Total Mileage*: 26.8 miles
Total Time*: 6 hours 35 minutes
Elevation Gain: 999 ft

* includes warm-up and cool-down

Coming Up

I have 3 days of running scheduled next week.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Gear Review - Nathan Quick Shot Plus

Lately, I have had several runs that I wanted to have a little water with me, but not so much as to use my hydration belt. On some runs, out of desperation, I've used a 16 oz plastic water bottle and while that got the job done, I ended up with cramps in my hands from holding the bottle, so I asked for some recommendations from my running friends. One of the recommendations was a Nathan handheld.

Nathan has an entire line of handheld water bottles. I paid Amazon $16 to send me a gray/black/yellow Quick Shot Plus.

I used it on my 4 miles hill run last week. So these are first impressions and don't include any longevity points.

The Good

  • It's small enough to fit my hands and is adjustable for the tightness along the back of my hand.
  • There is an indentation vertically along the back of the bottle that the heel of my hand fits nicely into. This makes for a comfortable fit without gripping as well as gives a bit of leverage to squirt the water into my mouth on the run.
  • I can get a squirt of water into my mouth on the run without stopping, walking or otherwise thinking about it. No opening valves or biting down. Just upend it and give it a little squeeze.
  • When I say a squirt, I mean a squirt. A mouthful of water that's easy to swallow without choking me. But if you squeeze longer, you can get a larger amount of water. As soon as you stop squeezing the water stops coming.

The Bad

  • While the back strap can be adjusted, it doesn't adjust a lot. So if you've got large hands, skip this and find something else. My husband couldn't even get it on.
  • When the bottle is full, a small amount of water squirts out with every step. After a couple of oz are pulled out of it, that seems to stop, but it makes the bottle effectively 8 oz instead of 10 oz. To be fair, I had this trouble with my Amphipod bottles that go on my hydration belt until I replaced their Jett-Squeeze caps with Push-Pull caps.
  • The pouch increases the bulk between my hand and my body. My arm swing is fairly close to my body and the pouch annoyed me by brushing my hip, sometimes catching on it and interrupting my arm swing. I didn't even have the pouch full. It just had my house key in it. If I start trying to fill it up with gels and tissue and whatnot all, it'll just get worse.

The Verdict - Not for me

I think the bulk of the pouch will do me in. I'll keep it around as a spare, but I'm on the hunt for something better for me. Suggestions are welcome! I have a couple other options I'm going to try out and I'll review those later on.

What's your favorite handheld water bottle solution?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Training Continues - Week 5

I'm well into my training program after 5 weeks. My workouts are still challenging as I extend the distance each week.

A bonus of my consistent running. This week I was able to slide into a pair of jeans I haven't been able to wear since before my marathon and might have been quite a bit before that. I haven't really lost much weight (only a couple pounds), but I'm definitely toning up. I have been monitoring my food intake to a certain degree. Running gives me less time to sit around and eat and a good reason to make better food choices to make my running less of a chore.

Monday - 4 miles @ 12:44

After my run. Sweaty, tired and proud of myself.

Dare I say it? Yes, I went to River Park again. But this time, I bumped my distance up. I do an out and back, so I extended my run to the tunnel under Moore's lane before turning around.

This added a bit of incline to my 2nd and 3rd miles that I previously did not have on my 3 mile runs. Not a lot mind you, but enough to make me work harder, get my heart rate higher and my breathing less controlled.

My goal pace was 12:36 as it always is on these Monday runs. I actually hit my first 3 splits at 12:38, 12:35 and 12:39. I was super happy about the 3rd mile split because it had a hill right at the beginning that I had so much trouble with I wasn't able to enjoy the gentle down incline because I had to get my breathing and HR back under control.

I wasn't able to fully recover and the 4th mile was slow at 13:02. Probably means I went too fast up the incline and I might have been better off to slow down even more on the incline to control my heart rate. On the other hand, I also did extend my run by a mile and that in itself is a challenge.

I did manage to run the entire time without having to break to a walk. I had my doubts near the end of the 4th mile, but I was able to eek it out.

It was another hot and humid day and since I was running a bit longer, I took a 16 oz water bottle with me. It's annoying to carry something, but having the water was worth it. Time to look for a handheld water bottle solution better than a plastic bottle.

Tuesday - Easy Miles - 4 @ 14:51
Thursday - Easy Miles - 4 @ 13:49

Tuesday and Thursday were easy miles. Since I was at home and not out and about, I hopped on the treadmill and used my iFit workouts to glide through these. They're still work and honestly, easy miles are not always "easy" for me, but it was nice to be able to catch up on a Hulu show or two and have an AC blowing on my legs during the runs.

Hill Friday - 4 miles @ 14:21

Hill Friday!! Same hill. What I do for the 3.3 miles is run up one hill, run down the other side, turn around and run up hill, but instead of running back down the other side right away, I turn around and run half way down the hill before turning around and finishing the run.

This time I did the back side of the hill fully twice instead of only 1.5 times and that got me to 4 miles.

Not only did I extend the distance, I made the entire thing a little harder. I did 15 second jogs and 45 second walk intervals up the hills and jogged all the down hills. That gave me 27 uphill jog intervals. The last 4-5 intervals were a bit tough and I was slower on the downhills as I let the downhills be more recovery than increasing my average pace. Overall happy with this effort. I believe I'm getting stronger and training this hill on a regular basis is excellent training for my fall half.

Weekly Totals

Training mileage: 16 miles
Training time: 3 hours 44 minutes

Total Mileage*: 17.75 miles
Total Time*: 4 hours 23 minutes
Elevation Gain: 811 ft

* includes warm-up and cool-down

Coming up

My longest week of my mini cycles. 5 runs on the schedule.