Half Mary Musings | Week 1

You know you are an English teacher when you write this:

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!

This is how I began my first series of Half Mary Musings, and this is how I will continue the second series. Only this time, I’m training for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival half marathon, Sunday 25 May, 2014.

That’s some pressure!source

Again, I’m following the same programme: the Improver’s Half-Marathon Schedule from the Runner’s World Complete Guide to Women’s Running, a bible for any woman runner. This programme is three days a week, with speed work Tuesdays, hill work Thursdays, and long run Sundays. I’ll also be using Runner’s World Yoga Center’s three routines throughout each week to keep me supple, engage my core and help me remain injury-free. Finally, I’m bringing back ab work! A strong core does so much for your running, and I’m going to continue to work on it.


I should probably recopy this…

The programme consists of four speeds of running, which I will refer to throughout the next twelve weeks. Here are the running terms, explained more in-depth, which will be pasted at the start of each weekly post:

easy run: 60% effort; you can run while easily carrying a conversation, and you’re running significantly slower than normal pace.
steady run: 65% to 75% effort; at least 1 min slower than race pace.
threshold run: 80% effort; comfortably hard, also known as tempo. Conversation is simply a breathless ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’
intervals: 85% to 95%; close to all out effort, leaves you out of breath, and you can’t speak at all. Only week 10 calls for intervals.

Now that I’ve explained how the next twelve weeks of Half Mary Musings will go, time to begin!

Monday:Β power yoga.

Tuesday: 2 x 10-min easy/8-min threshold run -> this looks like running at easy pace for 10 minutes, then at comfortably hard for 8 minutes. Then again easy for 10 minutes to recover, and finally comfortably hard for 8 minutes.

After having just run the Smokies 10 (mile) ladies race the Sunday before, I took this as an opportunity to be smart and just have an easy, almost 3.5 mile recovery run. Training for a 10 mile race and PB-ing in it, then going immediately into half marathon training gave me the luxury of already having a significant base to work from as well as being able to skip this one run.

Wednesday: Core yoga.

Thursday: 10 mins easy, 2 x 5 mins continuous hills at threshold pace (approx 45 secs up/45 secs down), 10 mins easy -> this looks like running at easy pace for 10 minutes, then running uphill at comfortably hard pace for bursts of 45 seconds, followed by easy downhill running for 45 seconds. Repeat this until 5 minutes is up, then easy recovery jog for 3 minutes. Again, another set of 5 minutes, 45 seconds up, 45 seconds down, then finish off with 10 minutes easy running. A cumbersome explanation!

distance: 3.5 miles

It was raining Thursday night, and while all of North America suffered (suffers?) from the Polar Vortex, we in Scotland have been getting strong winds, rain and grey skies for most of January and February. Give this prairie Canadian snow and extreme cold any day! Thursday night was no exception to the typical weather, save for the wind. It did, however, deter a few friends from running club to attend our hill sesh, so I ended up being the Lone Ranger, showing up and running 3.5 miles by myself. Doing hill reps by myself. But I did it, and it felt good.


Friday: rest day.

Saturday: rest day. And afternoon tea at Pat’s aunt and uncle’s house. Indulgent.


Sunday: long run of 60 mins easy/steady pace -> this looks like running at conversation pace for 60 minutes.

distance: 6.23 miles.

This was our first long run of this training cycle, and four of us ladies from running club met up at Wendy’s before running Β along the country roads outside of Laurencekirk. It was warm with a slight wind, actually ideal weather really considering how awful Sunday’s have been this past winter. The run itself was fine; I definitely can tell that I’m meant to run longer distances because it takes me a while to get into my groove during a run. I never got a chance in today’s run!

We then went to view a house close to Edzell, and strolled along the Blue Door walk.



Later in the day, after making some chilli, I did some essential yoga and 2 x 1 minutes plank.

Areas of strength this week:

– Running smart after Sunday’s race and taking it easy Tuesday night.

– Doing yoga three times this week.

Areas for growth:

– start the ab work again, either planks or my ab routine, on a daily basis. I really have no excuse to not take five minutes out of my day to do them.

– I can’t really think of anything else this early into the programme, and after learning so much from my first round of half marathon training. It will happen though πŸ™‚

In non-running news, I’ve been reading my new book all about nutrition and using fat as energy. A real eye-opener, that’s for sure!


The title makes it sound a little drastic, but it’s a very good read

And I realise this is a contradiction based on the photo above of afternoon tea. I’ve been making some changes to what I eat lately, like taking a page from Erin’s book, and drinking my morning coffee with a little coconut milk instead of skim. It’s quite rich and very nice; my next step is to wean myself off of vanilla syrup and switch to honey.


I’ve come to the conclusion, through reading my book and just thinking deeper about food, that I need to cut back on the sugar and starches that get stored as sugar, so I will be taking small steps, little by little.

Hope you’ve all had a great week!

What spring races are you training for?

What’s your sugary habit?

Do you drink any dairy alternatives?


18 thoughts on “Half Mary Musings | Week 1

  1. Your race will be a blast I’m sure! I love reading about people’s training, so keep the musings coming!
    My sugary habit is a bad one: dinosaurs! I cannot get enough of them and crave them often! Of course, I give in to the cravings, too πŸ™‚

  2. I have also just finished that same book. Her website is great. Have lost 11 lbs in 3 1/2 weeks. My running feels great. I don’t need as much recovery time as I was needing. Was a big sugar lover. Keep the post coming. Love to see what others do for training. πŸ™‚

    • I’m in the middle, I like how it’s so FULL of information, but I find it difficult to figure out what I can eat, instead of what I can’t eat. Please tell me it gets easier? Did you do a consultation with Maria? I know I’m a sugar burner, 100%!

      • No I didn’t do a consult. Look at her website. Tons of information and recipes !! They are so good. Maria mind body health. Hope that’s some help. πŸ˜„

      • I’ve made some of her recipes already, they are good. I follow the blog too. Just not sure how to make my entire day keto-adapted, plus I haven’t finished the book yet. What do your meals look like? Did you just make the switch? Or was it little by little?

  3. My sugary habit is gummy sweets – fruit gums, wine gums, Haribo, etc. I’ve not been too bad in this training cycle, but I used to swear by my “go faster” Haribo the night before a long run!

  4. I just made the switch all at once. I always have eggs and bacon in AM. If I’m hunger for lunch I have a piece of her chicken lasagna. ( not sure what it’s really called) I lone the corned beef cabbage rolls for dinner. I’m not always hunger for three meals. I’ll have cheese or even her lemon curd as a snack if I’m not up for a whole meal. Not sure if I’m doing it 100% right but it works for me. Have fun at your race. πŸ™‚

  5. Pingback: 2014: Average Enroute Wowzers! | Eat Primal, Run Hard

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