Half Mary Musings | Week 4

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. 

 Another week in the bag, complete with a bag full of race swag!

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: a night of blogging, again these posts are taking too long to write! I blame photo transferring and uploading.

Tuesday: 36 mins: 6 x 3 mins, with 3 mins easy pace in between. Reps 1, 3, 5 at steady pace; reps 2, 4, 6 at threshold pace.
This looked like: 3 mins 70-75% effort (faster than easy pace), 3 mins easy pace, 3 mins 80-85% (comfortably hard), 3 mins easy pace, 3 mins faster, 3 mins easy pace, 3 mins comfortably hard, 3 mins easy pace, 3 mins faster, 3 mins easy pace, 3 mins comfortably hard, 3 mins easy pace.

We also added on about a 10-minute easy pace warm up, and, upon completion of the last easy pace interval, we continued at this pace all the way home.

distance: 5:25 miles in 50:36, average pace 9:38 (9:03, 9:16, 9:55, 9:59, 9:54)

This workout was pretty confusing to read and make sense of; I had to read it several times to figure out precisely what we needed to do, then convey this to Amy and Wendy. I’m a teacher and have to word things in such a way, but even this was tough! We managed though, and I thought this was a very successful run because, looking at the mile per mile break down, it shows progress in terms of not running a single mile over 10 minutes. Rather than using my Garmin as a guide for pace, I followed my pace article found last week, and went with effort and how things felt. At times, I would glance down to see that easy pace tonight felt like 9:15 pace, instead of maybe 9:45 pace. I’m also really happy with basing the different speeds on effort rather than a watch because, for the first time in this programme, no mile has hit the 10-minute mark, even the recovery miles. As said in the film Muriel’s Wedding, ‘You can’t stop progress!’


The only thing I wasn’t able to improve on during this run was my chaffing from Sunday’s long run: it actually got worse tonight, and after my run, when I went to readjust my heart rate monitor, it kinda felt wedged in my skin. Yikes! And stinging, and yet I put on a brave face for you all.

Most attractive
Wednesday: I’m 90% certain I did abs and yoga today. And it felt good, from what I can remember.
Thursday: 40-min. hilly run. Attack the hills, relax on rest of run. Easy to threshold pace.

This looked like an easy pace going on effort, not my watch, and running hard down a few hills and running hard up all the hills, at what would be comfortably hard (or threshold pace). No added miles, and the most normal looking run of the programme so far.
distance: 4.17 miles in 40:05 minutes, average pace 9:36
A nice easy run, although it was weird to run up the hills without the anticipation of the alert on my watch going off. Just as the run was finishing, it started raining, which was a perfect end to a humid run. In my cool down walk, I passed an older woman walking her dog, holding her umbrella above her head. She commented that the weather wasn’t so nice, and I replied that it was actually ideal! Post-run, I went to rest my leg on a wooden fence post I always use for stretching, but due to the recent rain fall, it was slippery, thus causing my heel to slide over the fence post, sending my leg over the post to hang on the wire that connected each post. Awkward, a pain and now, a large bruise. Again, most attractive, especially with clothing crease marks.
Friday: Absolutely no physical activity, but a whole lot of takeout Indian food from the Alma in Laurencekirk.
Saturday: an all day BBQ at Pat’s cousin’s house left me quite tired. At least we got to host these guys for a sleepover that night.
My most favourite dogs. Ever.
Sunday: 60-min.easy/steady run or 10km race.
This looked like the Forfar 10km I entered a few months ago, without even knowing my training plan. Excellent timing! Click here for a full race recap.
I forgot to add to yesterday’s recap that the inner negative talk was a bit minimised, and I was going with the mantra of ‘Trust the training’ to help me through the run. The wind was a big blow to the race (pardon the pun!), but also took the pressure off. I’m almost relieved for it because it let me just enjoy the race instead.
I’ve looked to the weeks ahead in my programme and there’s another Sunday that gives a 10km race as an option. It just so happens that the Arbroath 10km is that weekend, so I may enter. Anyone up for it?
Areas of Strenght:
– still using wee mantras, but because my mind’s been preoccupied with switching teaching subjects and being totally bogged down with TONS of work, my focus wasn’t always the run this week but just trying to figure things out.
– tons of support and encouragement from my running friends Amy and Wendy, but also my mother- and father-in-law for their well wishes, and Scottish aunts and uncles who came to the finish at yesterday’s race.
– no mile splits in training over 10 minutes, hills included! A definite improvement in what easy pace feels like and translates into.
Areas for Growth:
– abs and yoga, one day a week isn’t enough. I’ll aim for three days this week, again.
– being in bed for 10:15 pm, rather than 10:40pm, again.
STILL pacing and starting slow and progressing to finishing fast. Tomorrow’s run is steady, so I’ll try for progression run, where each mile gets progressively faster. If I continue to work on this, I’ll be able to run smarter races. I know that I should start slow, but when you see the lower numbers on your watch, you somehow think you’re invincible and can hold an 8:40 pace for an entire race. I’m continuously learning that I’m always wrong about this.
– finding some balance in life in general. I’ve got so.much.work to do for all the new secondary qualifications in Scotland, on top of the work of switching subjects and getting to know my curriculums. This stress makes me wake up before my alarm, meaning I’m tired. This tiredness makes me more sensitive, but rather than a tearfest, it seems EVERYTHING is getting to me, even things that have absolutely nothing to do with me! And unfortunately, running isn’t helping me unwind. It’s times like this I’m happy my programme is only three days a week. I’m on holiday next week, where I can get some serious work done, hopefully some more blogging done, but most importantly, some serious down time. I have ideas and plans for a balance series, so stay tuned.
Did you race this weekend?
Any tips for ab workouts and sticking to them?!?!??!
What do you do to unwind?

6 thoughts on “Half Mary Musings | Week 4

  1. Good luck finding that balance! I'm impressed that your training doesn't seem to be suffering from how busy you are.

    I like doing the “plank a day” challenge and then just using that time to tack on some additional ab work.

  2. Thanks Hyedi, will be posting your stuff very soon!!!! I've made my training a priority, it's now so engrained in me to run Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday that it's subconscious. I also purposely chose my 3-day/wk programme to suit me and my schedule: it's realistic and therefore achieveable 🙂

  3. Thank you for the advice Erin!

    Regarding the HRM chaffing, I've used vaseline over the sensitive spot when I'm out for a run and it's helped tremendously. Will keep your suggestions in my pocket, should I need them 🙂

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

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