Half Mary Musings | Week 5

I’m currently training for my second half marathon in Edinburgh, May 25th, 2014. Half Mary Musings is my weekly reflection of how training went, what I’m doing well and things I need to improve upon.

I know you’ve all been anxiously waiting for week 5’s post to arrive. Rest assured, it’s here now 😉

First, have a little chuckle to yourself.


Keep in mind this information as you read:

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.

Monday: rest day, and no yoga or abs. Work has been so busy and brain draining, and in retrospect, I know yoga and abs would’ve helped tremendously.

Tuesday: rest day. We had planned to go for dinner with friends in Stonehaven Wednesday night, but switched it last-minute to this night. A very delicious meal at the Marine Hotel pub by the harbour.

Wednesday: make up for missing Tuesday’s 45-min steady run -> this looked like running at a pace between easy and comfortably hard, for 45 minutes.

I did this run on the roads and trails close to my house, by myself. I haven’t run around my house, by myself, in months! It was a nice change to the usual group runs in Laurencekirk. My Garmin was acting up most of this run, despite giving it plenty of time to locate and find satellites. I knew something was up with it after mile 1, when I was running up a long hill at 6:47/mile pace, according to my Garmin. My pace stayed between 6:47 – 7:30, allegedly, to the top of the hill, running over a flat section then down another steeper hill onto farm tracks. Once the farm tracks were finished, my pace then dramatically dropped, again according to the watch, to 14:30/miles! At first I thought it was set to km/hr but then just realised something was up.

This run felt really good. My overall effort was a comfortable but at a still decent pace, and I felt very good about this run. When the run was complete, my Garmin stats actually somehow got their act together to tell me I’d run 4.9 miles in 45 minutes, average pace: 9:12.

I also made these incredible Peanut bButter Dark Chocolate Blondies, which are sugar-free, grain-free and gluten-free, but not free of moisture or taste.


Thursday: 10-min easy run, 2 x 10 mins of continuous hills at threshold (approx 45 secs up/45 secs down), 10-min easy run -> this looked like an easy pace warm up for 10 minutes, followed by hill repeats of 45 seconds up, then 45 seconds down, continuously until 10 minutes were up. We did a 3 minute recovery jog, then did another set of hill repeats of 45 seconds up, then 45 seconds down, continuously until 10 minutes were up. We culminated the run with an easy pace 10 minute cool down.

I did this run with Amy and Joanne from running group, in Auchenblae rather than Laurencekirk. Auchenblae is a lovely little village where Pat and I hope some day to buy a house, the only downside to it is that it’s situated where three hills meet, at the bottom. All the hills are pretty steep, so any hill repeats around Auchenblae are guaranteed to be tougher. Which they were.

During the first set, I felt like I wasn’t making any progress up the hill whatsoever, and my mind was elsewhere, thinking about school stuff. The second set, however, was much better despite the steeper incline. My mind was actually focused on the hills and my mantras were active again. I was pushing each time for a new landmark, and succeeded regularly.

Joanne also shared her very ambiguous, but effective hill mantra: It’s a hill, get over it!

5.59 miles in 59:35, average pace: 10:40/mile

Friday: rest day and no abs/yoga as we headed straight for the Cairngorms National Park once we got home from work.

We also drove over a very picturesque bridge on our way to the mountains.


Saturday: 80-mins easy/steady run -> this looked like running at easy to just-a-bit-faster pace for 80 minutes.

You may have already my post about our lovely jaunt in the woods, where we ran through a deer farm, along forest trails and tiny part of the Aviemore half marathon course. I felt very good throughout this run, despite the changes underfoot and many hills. We did a lot of stopping to either consult a map, take photos or open and close cow gates. Although this was over the scheduled 80 minutes, it didn’t feel like it. I really like running new routes and different runs in general, they always seem to go by faster.

20140405_104005 20140405_104418


8.25 miles in 1:29:39, average pace: 10:52

Sunday: mountain biking at the Glenlivet Estate and driving home.



Areas of strength:

– like last week, adhering to the programme – School has been especially tough lately with exams quickly (too quickly) approaching, and my work day just jam-packed from the moment I walk in the building to the moment I leave. There’s many lessons I’ve learned in this last week alone that I will consider next year at this time. And thank you Allison for all your help! Seems there’s a few of us running English teachers 😉

– like last week, eating – I could’ve easily caved and reached for a sugary treat but I haven’t. I don’t actually get sugar cravings at all.

– slowing down the long runs – Saturday’s run was right at the pace I needed it to be, and as a result, I felt strong throughout.

– sleep – I didn’t wake up nearly as early as I had been the week before, and actually only woke once my alarm went off.

Areas for growth:

– bring my cross training back – yoga and abs are a must! The yoga especially will help me during stressful times at work, rather than sitting on my butt, gazing at my laptop (reading your blogs) once my day is over. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the sessions aren’t for more than 30 minutes, what’s my excuse?

– Bring back cross training.

– Yoga.

– Abs.

– There is no excuse.

Enough said.

By the way, a big congratulations to Allison for her PB in the Paris Marathon this past weekend, and to Rachel for her efforts in the Milan Marathon. Also, good luck to my colleague, good friend and stellar runner Amie, who is looking to break 3 hours in this weekend’s London Marathon! Posi no negi!

Who else is racing this weekend?

What’s your favourite restaurant?

What’s your food weakness?


16 thoughts on “Half Mary Musings | Week 5

  1. Hmm, my food weakness is probably tortilla chips or sushi — I can eat A LOT of both.

    And way to get your long run pace where you want it. That was really hard for me to adjust but I noticed a huge improvement overall by making that tweak!

    • Thanks Hyedi! It’s struggle because it goes against every competitive inkling in your body.

      Tortilla chips, especially with guacamole, are delicious! Sushi too, although I barely eat now that I live in Scotland (just not enough good sushi places, especially close by).

  2. Thank you!
    My food weakness is savoury so usually crisps.
    I have a few favourite restaurants, but on Monday when we got back from Paris we went for a big Italian meal to replace the lost carbs. We often go to the same place after a half marathon and it’s brilliant!
    No race this weekend, but I will be trying to squeeze a run in around watching VLM on tv!

  3. Keep it up! Sounds like your training is going well.

    I have a 10 mile race this weekend! I feel ready for it, but of course the pre-race nerves are still there.

    Hard to say what my food weakness is. I think I have too many, but popcorn is a front runner. I love popcorn! 🙂

  4. Sounds like training is going well… awesome! Where you run… absolutely gorgeous 🙂

    My food weakness: coconut macaroons. Can’t stop eating them.

    • We are very fortunate to have be surrounded by beautiful scenery everywhere. While I miss city living in some ways, I love the fact that you can see so much more out in the countryside. Plus, we make it a point to see a bit of Scotland at least once a year.

      Coconut macaroons:do you buy them or make them?

  5. Looks like a great time on the trails! Did you have fun mountain biking?
    Your runs all look so picturesque. One day when you’re running easy, you should snap some photos for a ‘tour’!
    My sweet weakness: chocolate. My real food weakness: pizza or perogies!

    • I LOVED the mountain biking! It was such a thrill, totally like skiing.

      I’ll snap photos for a tour, I’m thinking of doing a post themed around that actually.

      Oooooh, pizza and perogies, YUM!

  6. It’s always great to get to run in unfamiliar surroundings once in a while! 🙂 And to try out something different, like mountain biking, for a change. As far as food weaknesses go? Prosciutto crudo and fresh, crusty bread. I’m already drooling.

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