Half Mary Musings | Week 3

I’m currently training for my first half marathon in Aviemore, October 13th, 2013. Half Mary Musings is my weekly reflection of how training went, what I’m doing well and what I need to work on. 

Week 3, and post-long run hear rate monitor chafe, I bid you adieu!

This hasn’t happened for a while

Keep in mind these different speeds as you read:
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.

Monday: just blogging. Last week’s post took me a lot longer to write than expected. If some posts didn’t take so long to write (correction: if I didn’t write so much), I would blog more often.

Tuesday: 3 x 7-min easy run / 7-min threshold pace

This looked like 7 minutes easy running, followed by 7 minutes at comfortably hard, then 7 minutes easy running, followed by another 7 minutes comfortably hard. Easy run all the way back.

distance: 4.47 miles

After a most frustrating, in tears end to my work day, I had a very rewarding, get-my-mind-out-of-the-funk run. I took my frustrations out on the pavement instead, and boy, did I see some results! It was the first time I’ve ever hit sub-8:00 miles!!!! I started out really fast for easy run pace (8:59), although it never felt difficult; I also took advantage of a downhill start. Then it was time for the first threshold interval, and about a minute in, I glanced down at my Garmin and saw that I was running at about a 7:15 pace! I seriously thought there was something wrong with my watch because there was no way I could possibly be that fast, even downhill. This pace lasted for about the remainder of the first threshold interval. Mile 2: 8:37!

My pace dropped significantly at this point, partly because it was easy run time again, but also because I had heavy legs. I found the last threshold interval especially difficult: what felt like threshold pace was actually easy pace instead. Clearly, I over did it in the first half of the run; I really need to work on starting slow and finishing fast instead. It was the first time I was so happy to finish an interval. My mantra at the end, running uphill at threshold pace, was ‘This will make you a stronger runner!!!!’

Shout it out over Facebook!
Wednesday: more blogging, no abs, no yoga, but instead, one delicious, French-inspired cake.

Thursday: 10-min easy run / 3 x 5 mins of continuous hills at threshold / 10-min easy run with Amy and Wendy
This looked like 10 minutes easy run to warm-up, 5 minutes running at comfortably hard uphill, 2:30 min cool down running down hill, 5 minutes running at comfortably hard uphill, 2:30 min cool down running down hill, 5 minutes running at comfortably hard uphill.

We ran up Garvock Hill, a large hill just outside Laurencekirk, and were almost at the top when the last interval finished, so we had a short walk break, then jogged to the top of the hill. We took in the views, then ran at an easy pace all the way down, back into town. 

distance: 5.14  miles in 55:30

Elevation gain of 589 feet up Garvock Hill, just outside Laurencekirk.

We had ideal running weather: sunny with a slight cool breeze. I’m no gonna lie, I was a bit scared of today’s run because it was new and out of our comfort zone, but actually the run wasn’t as exhausting as I expected. I’ve run all the way up Garvock Hill in one go plenty of times, so I knew I could do it, it was the running at threshold pace that got me. During all the downhill running, whether it was a rest jog or post-threshold run, I always made sure to maintain my form and keep it solid, rather than get sloppy and letting arms and legs go all over the place. Easier said than done when you’re body’s tired, but I managed just fine. Once we started our descent, we ran at a nice steady pace all the way back. My legs were jello after the run from all the downhill running, and I had some DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) Friday into Saturday.
Amy, Wendy and I also started talking about game plans for this Sunday’s Forfar 10km. I’ve heard the first half, away from town, is downhill, then you run back into town uphill. My plan is to gun it downhill and maintain a very fast pace for the first half, which could result in a sub- 26 minute 5km? And for the second half, I’ll use it as time to recover and then maintain a steady pace, for a sub-30 minute uphill second half. Hopefully that strategy will get me a new, official 10km PR?

Saturday was spent in Edinburgh, not taking in the Fringe Festival, but instead helping the Swedish economy by purchasing many things for our home from Ikea. The purpose of the shopping excursion was for new bedding:

But we obviously bought more than just that, because that’s what one does at Ikea. Among other purchases, we bought a very-much-needed massive fruit bowl to contain all our smoothie fruit for the week:

We then headed to Edinburgh Zoo to check out the penguins, and all I’ll say about the zoo is that it’s a very different place to go when you’re an adult. I was both amazed at the how fantastic the animal enclosures were, but also felt like we were totally exploiting the animals and that it felt wrong to look at them. Apart from a pacing tiger and leopard, all the other animals we saw were playing with each other and running about, so that was comforting, but there were times I felt like I was in a circus. And to make matters worse, the entire zoo is built on a steep hill, so you’re either walking uphill or hard downhill the entire time you’re there!

The day was culminated by an early dinner at Scotland’s, Gordon Ramsay’s and coincidentally, our favourite Chinese restaurant: Chop Chop. Pat and I were both craving their pork and coriander (cilantro) dumplings, and enjoyed some cold tofu and garlic aubergines (eggplant) with them.

yum Yum YUM!!!!!

 Sunday: 75-min easy/steady run with Amy and Wendy

This looked like running slow for 78 minutes

distance: 7.63 miles, average pace 10:15

Too fast, too fast!!!!!! As you know, I’m still trying to figure out paces, but I know that this long run was run too fast, which is actually counterproductive to my training. How do I know that a 10:15 pace is too fast? After reading this article, a good long run pace should be slow enough to be able to speak without sounding out of breath. Today, I sounded out of breath. But, as the article says, you should just go with what feels easy on the day; unfortunately for me though, when you’ve trekked up and down the hills of Edinburgh Zoo, this can feel arduous. I also learned this was too fast when I compared this week’s long run to last week’s long run of just over 7 miles, run in 76 minutes at 10:45 pace. This clearly demonstrates I need to make my long runs slower so that they are more beneficial to my fitness and my training. Both Amy and Wendy are faster than me (hello, 50-minute 10km’s!), but when I mentioned this to Amy, and she said, ‘Well, let’s adjust to yours then instead, we’re easy like that.’ Thanks friends 🙂

Post-run, I had a very tight right hip, and felt totally imbalanced after lying on the couch for a few hours. I also iced my hip, but it was still painful! I’m in need of physio and yoga desperately, but know that I’ll have to take three days off of running to recover from physio manipulation. I will need to figure this out.

I also tried a new turkey burger recipe Sunday night, but I’m undecided about the result and whether I should put them on the blog.

Not as tasty as they look, yet

 Areas of Strength:

– perseverance up those hills!!!! Especially Thursday night, I’m very happy with that workout.

– using my mantras to help power through difficult intervals of the run.

– support from my friends and Pat with my running programme, always better when people understand.

– recognizing the need to slow things down rather than speed things up, which is so easily done when you let competitive feelings take over smart training.

– I did a bit of yoga! I found this quick routine from Runner’s World US which I’ve done twice now, along with some more pigeon poses and downward facing dog poses post-run. I also heard some bones cracking while shifting into a pose, hopefully this is a good thing.

– I’m  understanding the programme a lot more, and also read ahead into the next week’s due to trying to organise runs around other upcoming commitments. I’ve also noticed that week 4’s workouts are slightly easier and that Sunday’s long run is only 60 minutes OR a 10km race, perfect timing for Forfar!

Areas of Growth:

– still need to work on pacing and starting slow, but I just get so excited at the start of a run!

– no abs this week, whoops! I really need to just do it Monday, Wednesday and Fridays; I have no legitimate reasons why I didn’t do abs last week, other than I’m lazy.

–  more yoga. In the past, I’ve done a 25-minute yoga for runners  routine and a 10 minute hip-opening routine, both from YouTube. I need to do the runners one once a week, and the hip-opening one twice a week. Again, no legitimate reasons for not doing any yoga this past week.

– go to bed earlier. I’m in bed with the lights out by 10:50 at the latest, but with work-related stress, especially now that I’ve begun a new position teaching English at school, I tend to wake up before my alarm goes off at 6:30 am. It also doesn’t help that I’m loving the book I’m reading right now.

I will endeavour to do what’s best for my body, in running, keeping it healthy and giving it energy. It’ll only benefit me, right?


Do you start your runs too quickly then fade by the end? Any advice on how to combat this?

What’s your favourite YouTube videos for keeping fit?
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5 thoughts on “Half Mary Musings | Week 3

  1. I've somehow almost mastered the negative split over the past couple of years but I have no idea how!

    NICE sub-8:00 pace! And good luck at your 10K race 🙂

  2. It is so, so, so easy to 'forget' to do the things you really should do (yoga, stretching) after you've finished a long run and all you want to do is shower and eat! I always stop my run about a 5 minute walk from my apartment in an alley where I force myself to before walking home as a 'cool down'.

    Your training is so structured! One day I'll train for something with an actual plan, but for all the years I've run, it's just for getting outside and sweating, so even having a mileage goal in mind seems slightly constricting. 😛

  3. This is to true! And then sleep.

    My training needs to be structured otherwise I wouldn't push myself to run further and harder on my own. My programme doesn't focus on mileage at all, I just add it in to give readers an idea of what it all looks like. The emphasis is on effort and time on my feet, not miles run. I actually don't even know how many miles a week I'm running.

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

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