Sunday, July 30, 2017

Half Marathon Training - Week 7

If you noticed that I went right from week 5 to week 7, good catch. I mislabeled my blog post last week. I just finished week 7 of half marathon training.

Sunday - 5 miles Treadmill

I tried to run first thing in the morning, but I just wasn't feeling it. Technical malfunctions and just a general lack of motivation made me not run in the morning. But I turned on the air conditioner in my treadmill room in case I was able to get the motivation. Going into a very hot closed up room later in the day wasn't going to encourage me to run.

By 3 PM, I was feeling guilty for skipping my run and not riding either. So I got my running clothes on and went to run on the treadmill. I did my 5 mile workout where I do run/walk and each interval is 10% longer than the previous one. It wasn't some magical good workout, but it was done and I felt accomplished for doing it.

Monday - 3 miles Tempo

Me before the run. This is a pretty weird picture!

I ran this tempo run at River Park again. Basically the same run I did last week. A mile warm up, 3 miles at half marathon pace, and a mile cool down. I paced this run almost identically to last week. Hitting my first 2 splits right on target and running the last mile at 10k pace. It was hotter this week than last and my average HR for each mile showed it, being about 5 bpm higher.

I don't know how many more weeks I'll throw in a faster last mile. I probably should rein it in and run my half marathon pace. That is, after all, the point of the workout. To run half marathon pace and get it ingrained in me. But... we'll see.

Tuesday - 6 miles Trail

After the run. This was as much enthusiasm as I could muster for this run.
Love the trees and the lighting though.

This was a terrible run. Just awful. I went down to Henry Horton park to run first thing. I ate a small non-sausage patty and a banana about 40 minutes before I started my run. That's not unusual. About what I eat before easy runs.

During the first mile, I twisted my right ankle and fell to my hands and knees. Great start. :-( I walked for 3 or 4 minutes. I decided to go ahead and go to the bathroom about 1/2 mile down the trail and if my ankle still hurt a lot, I would just call it and go home. By the time I got to the bathroom, the pain wasn't nearly as bad, so I decided to go ahead with my run.

Not sure if that was a mistake or not. It was a horrible run. I was super tired, even though I'd gotten a decent amount of sleep the night before. And my legs were tired. Maybe I shouldn't have run that last mile of my tempo run at 10k pace after all. My splits were really slow. 3 of them were at the slow end of my easy pace, 2 of them were a full minute slower and the first split (where I twisted my ankle and visited the bathroom) was 3 minutes slower. Not just slow, I just felt like a big slug sliming my way across the trail. I was so tired; I couldn't even be happy it was over! That was too much energy to waste as I still had to drive home, take a shower and work the rest of the day.

I iced my ankle several times through the day. Wondering if I should even bother with my long run on Wednesday.

Wednesday - 10 miles Long Trail Run

But, of course, when push came to shove, I was running the next morning. My ankle felt fine and I was ready to give the long run a try. I was back at Bowie Nature Park for my long run.

Bowie has a Perimeter trail that is about 4.5 miles long and then several shorter trails inside that loop that interconnect with each other and provide access points to the Perimeter trail. So I had mapped out a course that ran the stand alone Horseshoe trail (about 1.25 miles long), then the Perimeter trail and then an inner loop that used short sections of the Perimeter trail to get me to other inner trails. Turned out to run very nicely and I'll likely run that again.

Have to enlarge. How many deer?

The run went much better than my easy run the day before. I eased into the run with a slow mile then was able to settle into a good rhythm.

Just at mile 6, I stopped back at my truck to refill my handheld and grab an extra gel if I needed it. I did not stop my watch while at the truck, but let the fact that the timer was still running motivate me to do my aid stop as fast as possible without dilly-dallying or letting the thought of going home early sink in.

I did slip into the bathroom for one minute 43 seconds, but I did stop my watch for that since it's a concrete building and I didn't want my GPS signal to go whacky on me. But I still minimized the amount of time my watch was stopped.

I was so eager to get back on trail that I went down the wrong trail! I caught myself within 100 meters and turned around to take off in another direction. I'd forgotten that I wanted to run a different inner loop configuration this time.

By mile 7.5, it was getting harder to maintain pace, so I let my HR drift upwards for the last couple of miles to be able to maintain pace. But I was still within my HR limits for a long run. Any more miles at this point and I likely would have had some trouble maintaining pace and keeping my HR down. Good thing I got to stop at 10! :)

It was a hot and humid run at 85° with 80% humidity, but overall much better than my "easy" run on Tuesday. I ate breakfast of a packet of instant grits and a small non-sausage patty (I'm a vegetarian) about 50 minutes before running. I took 3 gels during the run. That might sound like a lot of fuel to faster runners, but when it takes 2 hours 20 minutes to do a 10 mile run, 3 gels is about right for me.

Thursday - 6 miles Trail

hydration vest with full water bottles

Wednesday evening, I got a Camelbak Circuit hydration vest. I've written an initial review on it and put it in its own post, so you can go there for more information about that.

I returned to Henry Horton to rerun the same 6 miles I did on Tuesday. I was hoping to have a better run as noted in the hopeful grin in my picture above. Taken before my run.

And yet. Somehow. this run was worse! Same general weather, same fuel. This time I made it 1.6 miles before twisting my left ankle! I twisted the right one on Tuesday. At least I managed to stay on my feet and not end up sprawled out on the trail. I whimpered and limped down the trail until I could walk normally. Then I took up a slow jog. I felt the pain on every single step. It wasn't excruciating, but it was there. Keeping me company.

Me. After the run. Not thrilled.

My run was slower even than on Tuesday. I did feel a bit better overall, not quite as tired, but I still couldn't get any speed up to even hit the slow end of my pacing zone. I did enjoy having extra water, although I did have to make an unscheduled pit stop during my cool down.

Me before the run (note the hopeful smile) without
the vest so you can see the pretty inknburn shirt!

I did get a new inknburn t-shirt and got to wear it for the first time on this run. I love their shirts. I'm addicted to them. So there you have it. New gear was the best thing about this run and likely the only reason I did it.

Again, I spent the day icing my ankle. This time the left one.

Friday - 7 miles Speed Workout 6x800

5 miles into my run. Hoping to beat the rain!

This was my second speed workout on the Hansons program. The first 3 speed workouts on the Hansons program are 12 x 400 meters, 8 x 600 meters and 6 x 800 meters. All with 400 meter jog recoveries. I missed my first workout, so I did the 12x400 last week. Because I did well on the 12x400, I decided to skip the 8x600 workout and do the 6x800 which would put me squarely back on track with my workouts.

Because of the jump from 400 to 800 meters, I was a little apprehensive about this workout. I was prepared to back off from 5k pace to 10k pace if I needed to. I was also a little worried about my ankle.

The forecast the night before called for rain all day on Friday, but when I got up, there was a clear spot in the radar, so I ate a non-sausage patty, grabbed an apple and headed to the paved Murfreesboro Greenway for my run.

My ankle didn't bother me at all during the run. The weather was 75° with 100% humidity, but no sun and a light breeze which felt heavenly after I got sweated up, which was pretty quick. I carried my small Nathan hand-held and left the vest at home. I don't think I'll use the vest during speed workouts.

I did a nice easy jog for the first mile, speeding up near the end to prep for the first half mile interval. I took off like a shot and had to dial back my speed for the first 3 intervals. My jog recoveries, that seemed too long during my 12x400 workout, went by pretty quickly. But I was jogging slowly, just concentrating on keeping jogging instead of walking. I did stop to take a couple of pictures or slowed to a walk to adjust my gear a little, but managed to jog for the most part.

By the 4th interval, I was still taking off too fast, but it was getting easier to get back into my target pace and a little harder to stay there for the entire half mile. My 5th interval was about the same.

My 6th interval, I took off too fast again, but this time, I decided to see how long I could hold a faster pace, so I didn't make myself slow down. This was my last hard effort of the week. Tomorrow was a rest day. I figured I'd be able to hold it for a quarter mile and then wouldn't even be able to hold to my 5k pace for the rest, but I was wrong. I managed to run that half mile in 4 minutes 47 seconds, a 9:34/mi average. Which is huge for me. Now I'm sure I couldn't have run the entire workout like that, but I was surprised I could run that for the last half mile of a tough week.

While running my cool down mile, I tried to do math in my head, trying to figure out how many miles I had for the week. I thought I would be at 39.5 when I finished this mile, so I decided to tack on an extra half mile to hit 40 for the week. I ran the last full mile too fast. Just 20 seconds slower than half marathon pace. So I really dialed it back for my final half mile to actually get a cool down.

Come to find out, my extra half mile got me to 39 miles for the week, not 40. Oh, well!

I did not take any gels during this run. I had a SaltStick capsule and an extra-strength tums along with a bottle of water when I got done. I used to use a Hammer Fizz tablet in my water bottle, but I still had headaches after a hard and/or hot workout. The past 2 weeks, I've been doing the SaltStick capsule and tums and the headaches have all but disappeared.

Weekly Stats

Number of Runs: 6
Number of Trail Runs: 3

Training Miles: 39 miles
Training Hours: 8 hours 59 minutes
Average Training Pace: 13:49/mi
Total Elevation: 1,535 feet

What's Next?

Well, more running. Week 8 is up on deck. Not many changes, though. An extra tempo mile and a new fun speed workout.

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