Half Mary Musings | Week 1

The definition of musing is to be absorbed in thought. A synonym of musing is reflection. Half Mary Musings are a series of weekly posts where I will be absorbed in thought and reflect upon my current training for the Aviemore half marathon in October. There will be lessons, plans, thoughts, questions, maybe a recipe, and most of all, there will be running!

New shoes! New shoes!

 The week started off with a delivery of new shoes! The pair on the right are the new ones to replace my current orange pair of Nike Zoom Structure +’s. I love how my new shoes, to be integrated by mid-August, are the exact opposite of my old ones.

It also started with a delicious rib eye steak for dinner Monday night:

 My 12-week training programme is called the Improver’s Half Marathon Schedule, from the Runner’s World Complete Guide to Women’s Running, (aka my bible, really!), which is designed to help runners who are looking to improve upon their best time. I don’t have a best half marathon time yet, but I’m hoping this programme of interval running, hills and long runs will help me towards a decent first half marathon effort. It has me running only three days a week, which I’m totally in love with as it doesn’t deviate from my normal routine I’ve followed for about a year now, and has no other forms of exercise added in, which my legs are grateful for.

The programme consists of four speeds of running:
easy run: 60% effort, you can run and easily carry a conversation.
long/steady run: 65% to 75% effort, at least 1 min slower than race pace.
threshold run: 80% effort, comfortably hard, also known as tempo
intervals: 85% to 95%, close to all out effort, leaves you out of breath.

Tuesday: 2 x 10 min easy run/8 min threshold

distance: 4.5 miles broken down to 9:17 (too fast), 8:29 (way too fast!), 10:23 (recovering from too fast); 10:17 (felt a lot faster….)

It was such a muggy day with 100% humidity. I started out thinking I was running at about a 10 min. mile, only to glance down at my Garmin and see that my pace was in fact 9 min miles instead. This was too fast, I’m not there yet! The first threshold interval was mostly downhill, hence the fast time. The recovery easy run was much slower, and I had to finish second threshold interval going uphill, which was a little hard.

The sweat was pouring down my face and into my eyes and my top was completely drenched because in case you didn’t know, Scotland is also getting this heat! One thing I’ve been dealing with during runs lately is flies, they’re so incredibly annoying! This run though, had no flies at all due to a small breeze. It was a no-fly zone…. get it? 😉

Thursday: 10 mins easy, 2 x 5 mins continuous hills at threshold (approx. 45 secs up/45 secs down), 10 mins easy
distance: 4.05 miles altogether.
I was a bit reluctant to do this run because of what seemed like hill sprints (totally wasn’t), but surprisingly found myself using positive self-talk and rationalisation to get me motivated to complete the run. I’m happy about this.

I was a bit confused about how this run should go because the 45 secs up then down didn’t equate to 10 min. altogether. I also don’t understand why it’s written as two sets of 5 minutes of running up and down hills, rather than 10 minutes of continuous running up and down hills. Maybe because that might seem intimidating and daunting? And two 5-minute sets seems more achievable instead? Who knows. I also got confused after the first set of hills, and had a brain fart thinking that I was to run 10 minutes easy between each set of hills, which I did, and half way through realised I shouldn’t have done. Oh well. Y felt indifferent towards this because of the confusion, but at least I had cows to keep me company as I ran up and down the hills.

In gear news, I received my running hat I had ordered, perfect to keep fly-away hairs in check and those pesky flies away from my head!

Sunday: 60-min easy/steady run, with my friends Amy and Wendy from running group.
distance: 6.48 miles in 1:05:51
Average pace of 10:01, which I’m hoping I can maintain during this training cycle?
A beautiful run in the soaking rain!!!!!!!! Never have I been so saturated, but I’m grateful for a run in non-blazing heat. We were a tiny bit reluctant to start out yesterday morning because of the run, and hung back at Amy’s place a bit, chatting and procrastinating. We bit the bullet and headed out, all wearing hats to keep the water off our faces, (really useful actually). It was a good run, but again, we started out too quickly. The three of us hadn’t seen each other and had a proper chat for about three weeks, so it was nice to catch up and have some girl talk.

In the last mile, we had to run up a large hill, which was difficult. I tried to think of some kind of mantra to push through, because if I was going to run an entire half marathon, I could easily run up this hill. I told myself that Hills make me a better runner, and chanted this in my head with each breath in and out. I made it to the top without stopping and without a shred of self-doubt.

It rained the entire run, and when we got back to Amy’s, I grabbed my jacket from her house and immediately headed home, drenched from head to toe, clothes sticking to me and shoes squishing with moisture.

Trying to capture the drench, but unfortunately this photo doesn’t even begin to show how wet I truly was

My shoes were so wet, I had to squeeze the water from my insoles.

My shoes have been stuffed with paper and are currently sitting in our hot cupboard, on top of our boiler.

Areas of Strength:
Overall, I’m happy with how this week went, and especially happy with the positive thoughts and self-talk I used. I’m surprised about how positive and mentally strong I felt during the runs, and hope this becomes a trend.

Areas for Growth:
 – Understanding the programme a bit more, as there are some runs that leave me confused when reading them.

– Integrating some core strengthening into my routine. Nothing major, and definitely doable, but something I need to actually follow. I’ve found this simple core-strengthening for runners programme which I plan to begin this week, again three times a week.

– I want to start yoga-ing again because my hip is starting to bother me, again. The yoga helps to relieve my tight hips, and will hopefully prolong a visit to the physio therapist. Again, something I’ll do twice a week?

In non-running news, I’m an aunt for the 6th time: my sister-in-law Annabel and her husband Rob welcomed sweet little Quinn into the world Tuesday. Pat and I went to visit our precious new niece Saturday, and we’ll see them again this Saturday for a visit of cuddles, chatting, yogurt cake (recipe to come!), and pulled pork.

We also had two art cards from our recent Hebridean holiday (posts to come!) framed; I’m especially happy with how the larger one turned out.

Hope you have a fantastic week and that your running is also going well!

Have you ever followed a half marathon training programme?

What’s your favourite summer running gear?
p.s. You can like my blog on Facebook, simply click Like on the right tool bar below my photo.

4 thoughts on “Half Mary Musings | Week 1

  1. Sounds like training is off to a great start, Danielle!

    At the moment I cannot live without my Nike Tempo 2-in-1 shorts. Previously I've been a die-hard capri wearer but this weather has driven me to the arms of a pair of shorts. Roll on September…

  2. Thanks Nikki!

    Unfortunately, my inner thighs seem to always eat the legs of my shorts, which makes for uncomfortable and annoying walking, let alone running. I so wish I could wear running shorts like you!

  3. Pingback: 2013: The Year that Was | I Eat Therefore I Run

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