Saturday, August 12, 2017

Half Marathon Training - Week 9

Picture of the Week

On Monday, my boss took several of the team out for lunch to the Villalba Italian Restaurant in Nashville. We had the best waiter and he brought me this heavenly puff for my appetizer. It was SO good! Remember, kids, always eat dessert first! You might not have enough room after the meal.

Sunday & Monday - Rest Days

I take Sabbath (Saturday) as my normal rest day. I also took Sunday and Monday this week off from running. Sunday we were out of town, so it was easier not to run, but I was getting bogged down in the running and needed a break mentally more than physically.

I know that the Hansons Method is supposed to break me down a little and help me push through, so maybe I "broke" that somehow. But I'd been reading a lot of people's training recaps and got bogged down in how long it takes me to do my runs. My long runs have been 10 mile runs. I take about 2 hours 20 minutes to run that. Seeing other runners post that they do their runs in much less time got me frustrated about how long it takes me to do the same run. Because it takes SO much time out of my day. So so much.

I am a slow runner. I know that. I'm getting better at running and I'm getting faster slowly. I've been running for 9 years, but only the last 2 have I gotten serious about my running and my training and if we want to get completely honest, only after my first marathon. Kinda what marathon running did to me. Made me sit up and pay attention. In order to take my running to the next level, whatever level I want that to be, I had to run more and be more intentional about running. But I'm still slow.

So I decided to take a 3-day break from running and from eating "correctly." I allowed myself to not run and to basically eat whatever I wanted. Since we were out of town part of the time, I actually didn't take full advantage of the eating thing like I thought I would, but never mind, it was nice not to have to track everything that went into my mouth.

I decided to skip my 5 mile easy run and my 4 mile tempo run for this week and just pick back up on Tuesday with my easy run.

Tuesday - 6 miles - 13:23

My first run was on the treadmill. We have a lot going on right now and I decided I didn't have time to drive to a trail for my easy run. So I hopped on my trusty treadmill. I did my run/walk workout where I run at 12:30/mi for about 1/3 of a mile and then walk for a minute or so and then go again. Each run/walk interval remains the same run/walk ratio, but gets longer by 10% each time. That's a 5 mile workout that I have set up on iFit, so I just tacked on an extra mile at the end of that to get 6 miles. Again, easy mode. I bumped up the incline to 0.5% just to get a little rise in my HR.

Wednesday - 10 mile long run - 14:03

One of my favorite stretches of trail. Doesn't hurt that it's about 3/4 mile before the finish of my long run!

Back out to Bowie Nature Park. I really enjoy running at this park. There is some elevation and it's a trail, but I somehow feel like it's an easier run than Henry Horton that is actually flatter and more groomed trail. I think it actually is the elevation at Bowie that makes me happy. I am a decent downhill runner so I can make up time on the gentle downhills without losing too much time on the uphills.

I took the morning off from work, so I got to the trail later than I normally would. It was still only 76 degrees and 70% humidity when I got done with my run. So so crazy to have these cool temps in August. I'm not quite used to it!

I break my long run up into segments for effort. This time I was able to run 6 miles at an easy effort, keeping my HR under 148. By the end of the 6th mile I was having trouble maintaining pace at that HR, so I bumped my allowed HR up to 157. I was able to maintain that through the 9th mile, and only had to bump up to 166 (estimated lactate threshold) for the final mile. My long runs bump up to 12 miles next week, so this sets me up perfectly to be able to run the first half next week at an easy effort, then the next 25% at a moderate effort and only 25% at or just under my lactate threshold.

For fuel, I had my normal packet of instant grits and a "sausage" patty before I left the house. I had a Gu at mile 4, a SaltStick capsule with caffeine at mile 6 and another Gu at 8.5 miles. I carried my larger Nathan handheld and refilled it at mile 6. I had a boiled egg and apple on the way home and ate a normal lunch at home.

I did a strength workout in the evening. My only one for the week.

Thursday - 6 miles - 13:23

This was just a boring repeat of my treadmill workout from Tuesday. I had planned to take my horse out to ride, but I had errands to do in the afternoon, so I ran early, then worked for 1/2 a day before taking the rest of the day off to take care of things. I did have some twinges on the outside of both legs just above the ankle. I think that had to do with the strength workout I did the evening before. It wasn't bad, just a little soreness that I wasn't used to feeling there.

Friday - 8 miles - 4x1200

This was my final speed workout of this training cycle. 1 mile warm up at an easy jog, then 4 intervals of running 3/4 mile at 5k pace (10:50/mi) with a 1/4 mile recovery jog, followed by 3 easy miles for a cool down. I headed to the Murfreesboro Greenway. It's flat, paved and a pretty place for a speed run.

My first 2 intervals were 15 seconds/mile too fast at 10:36/mi. My third interval, I thought I'd settle down a little, but then ended that one with a 10:24/mi average pace. My left shoe came untied near the end of the 3rd interval, so I ran carefully and as soon as the interval was over, stopped to retie it. Of course, I over-compensated and tied it too tight, so a few steps later, I was retying my shoe.

My last interval I decided to do the same thing I did for the previous two speed sessions. I decided to just run and see how well I could do. This was not only my last hard effort for the week, it was my last speed interval for the training cycle. Strength runs start next week at 1 mile intervals with half mile recoveries. Those are longer, but I slow down to an 11:40/mi pace for those.

I ran for awhile and then it got harder about half-way through. I thought about just dialing it back and jogging the rest of the interval, but decided, nah, just go. So I did a quick body scan from head to toe. Everything was fine. No unusual pain. I released some tension in my shoulders and hips as I scanned and then began to count every other left foot fall to focus on my running. I did have music in my ear, but I don't remember what was playing. Very near the end of the interval, I was quite ready for it to stop.

As soon as my GPS dinged, I slowed down and began to jog. A voice in my ear said I'd done that 3/4 mile in 6 minutes 57 seconds. I, of course, had no idea what pace that translated to, but it was a full minute faster than my first two intervals. I checked my watch and was happy to see 9:16 pace. I was actually expecting closer to a 9 minute pace, but it was fine. That was probably the fastest I've ever run a 3/4 mile stretch without some downhill help.

My recovery jog was very slow, waiting for my heart rate to drop. My breathing was ok, just my HR took a little time. After the 1/4 mile recovery was over, I picked the pace up a little and did an easy jog for another mile. That was enough recovery time and I was able to quicken the pace a little for my last 2 miles, but still in the easy range.

I'm not sure if I'm happy or sad the speed workouts are over! They weren't nearly as scary as I thought they'd be and I surprised myself with how fast I could run on the final intervals for the last 3 weeks. I do wonder if I am being too conservative in my pace target, but I think I'd rather be a bit conservative, avoid injury and get some confidence in my abilities rather than be too aggressive, maybe get injured and maybe depress myself when/if I couldn't hit the target.

Weekly Stats

Number of Runs: 4
Number of Trail Runs: 1

Training Miles: 30 miles
Training Hours: 6 hours 39 minutes
Average Training Pace: 13:18/mi
Total Elevation:  814 feet

What's Next?

More running, my dear Watson. I am hoping to spend some time with my mare. Sasha is getting pretty sassy without some structured exercise. If I do ride, it will probably have to take the place of an easy run or two in my running schedule. I know easy runs are important, but so is riding! :-)

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