Half Mary Musings | Week 7 – easy week

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 things I need to improve upon.

The Indian summer, and week 7, is alive and well in Scotland!

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
85% to 95%, close to all out effort, leaves you out of breath.  

Monday: rest day, blog post of week 6 and abs

Tuesday: 45 minutes: 15-min easy / 15-min steady run / 15-min threshold run

This looked like: 15 minutes at easy, conversation pace; 15 minutes a bit faster; 15 minutes at comfortably hard (and half of it was up hill!)

distance: 4.85 miles in 45 minutes, average pace 9:16.

I was very satisfied with this run: it’s designed to teach you to pace yourself by starting out slow and finishing fast. Myself, as well as the running club ladies, all did it, and Pat did this workout Thursday as part of his half marathon training for Aviemore.

Laurencekirk is in the middle of one massive hill. If you head eastward-ish, it’s uphill; westward-ish, downhill. Our run took us towards the east, then looping back around to run west all the way down a hill, and then finish uphill. I would’ve had another progression run in the bag had it not been for that uphill finish; nonetheless, I held a sub- 9:20 to 9:10 pace all the way up. A sign of improved fitness!

It was also very hard to restrain myself and run at easy pace in the first mile, all downhill, but I did it, and I think this restraint is what I need to run smarter races. Speaking of races, did I mention I entered the Arbroath 10km at the end of September? I’m going to show some restraint in this race and run smart by starting slow and finishing fast.

Wednesday: my Ode to Peanut post and abs. And conquering my fear of needles with a precautionary Tetanus shot as a result of my dog bite from last week.

I also spent a lot of time this past week listening to the Searching for Sugar Man soundtrack, as I’m doing a study of Rodriguez’s life, as well as his music and lyrics with my students.


If you’ve not heard of Rodriguez or seen the documentary, I highly suggest you check out his albums and get yourself the documentary. Both are brilliant.

 Back to the running….
 Thursday: 40 mins. hilly run. Attack the hills, relax rest of run. Easy-to-threshold pace.

This looked like: Running to the top of Garvock Hill, the large hill on the other side of the highway from Laurencekirk, then back down into town.

distance: 3.81 miles in 39:40, average pace 10:25

We didn’t really follow the plan for this run; instead, Amy and I decided to do Garvock Hill because it’s been over a month since we last ran it. And with the day light hours slowly dwindling, it’s only fitting we take advantage of the sunlight while we still have it. We started slow up the hill, as the climb is almost 600 feet, and for about the last 5 minutes, when we realised we could easily carry a conversation, we increased the intensity and ran the rest of the way up at threshold pace. We then ran easy all the way down (which was unfortunately really fast and hard on the quads…. so maybe not that easy), then carried on at easy pace once we got back into town. Once the end was near, we increased our pace again and finished with a sprint.

My legs were jello from this run, and as a result, I had a serious case of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) Saturday from it.

Friday: rest day and Warm Bodies.

I quite liked this film, and considering it’s based on a book and was along the theme of Romeo and Juliet, I might just use it for teaching! Have you seen it?

Saturday: rest day and a whole shed load of school work. Six hours of learning intentions, curriculum for excellence and new qualifications for Scottish secondary school. This is what my non-running weekend day will be like for the foreseeable future, complete with the biggest spreadsheet I’ve ever seen, (it’s taller than me).

My workstation every weekend until November…. hopefully?

How did I get myself into this mess? Oh that’s right, I wanted to be a secondary English teacher at the exact same time the Scottish education system was changing their secondary qualifications. So I’m learning the new, very broad, very general curriculum while also creating units for my students to do. Don’t get me wrong, it IS interesting and something I love, it’s just my mind becomes total mush after about 15 minutes of reading curriculum documents. I wish things were more standardised.

I am learning to create numerous learning intentions

Sunday: 60-min easy/steady run

This looked like: an hour of running at conversation pace to a little bit faster.

distance: 6 miles in 1:00:28, average pace 10:04, with Amy and Wendy

Although this run was only 6 miles, it did feel a little bit tough. Maybe it’s because my brain was tired from all the work, but I’m also wondering if we started out too quick: mile 2 and 3 were sub-10:00 miles, then we went back up to around the 10:00 mark from then on.I would’ve liked a progression run, but I need to put a more conscious effort into getting it done rather than expecting it to happen.

And, because it was an easy week and we ran only 6 miles, we did a 20 minute kettlebell (include abs) workout afterwards. Why not? Shall I say bring on the DOMS????? Hopefully not, definitely.

Areas of Strength:
– I did abs 3 times this week, finally! As I mentioned last week, I totally love my programme and find it no bother at all to do.

I’m continuing to see gains in fitness, especially in uphill running. I don’t need to recover at the top of a hill, and can run at threshold pace uphill and still maintain quick paces.

– Continuing to use the small steps technique for uphill running. It’s so incredibly effective.

– Lots of sleep. I don’t know if it’s because of the increase in work load, or because the days are getting shorter, but I’m now sleeping until my alarm goes off in the morning. This is a big contrast to what it was like from about June to a few weeks ago, when I was waking up well before my 6:30 am alarm, and tossing and turning until the alarm went off. I feel better with more sleep.

I’m also in bed early enough that I can read some of my hilarious book before I go to sleep:

Areas of Growth:
– making a conscious effort to take it easy at the start of a run. I’ve only just been able to achieved the negative split, progression runs recently, so I can’t expect that it’s just going to happen. Next week’s long run is another ‘finish fast’ one, so I should see some progress there.

– ironically, don’t be so obsessed with the progression run. I’ve done two now, and it feels like such an accomplishment, but I can’t pressure myself to do it constantly.

– I can’t really think of anything else…..

Hope you’ve had a fantastic first weekend of September… I can’t believe it’s September already!

Have you seen Searching for Sugar Man?
Have you heard any Rodriguez songs?
What’s your largest hill climb to date? 

Do you have your own training obsession?


2 thoughts on “Half Mary Musings | Week 7 – easy week

  1. Crumbs, that's a LOT of work to fit in on your rest day! Are you back to school yet?

    How are you feeling as the race gets closer? Everything seems to be falling into place really nicely with your training.

    My biggest hill session(s) to date were the week before last when I spent 5 days out of 7 chasing my father in law up and down mountains in Italy. It was pretty hard but I think put in pretty good stead for the Run to the Beat on Sunday – especially when face with the hill at mile 12 – erp!

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

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