Half Mary Musings | Week 10 -> Taper!

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.

Peak week, aka week 9, is finished and now the taper is on! Just in time for beautiful spring weather in Scotland.


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 after another long day at work.

Tuesday: 10-min easy run, 5 x 2 mins interval run / 2-min easy run, 10-min easy run -> this looked like running easy for 10 minutes to warm-up, followed by five sets of two minutes each at 85% – 95% effort (close to all out); run easy for two minutes between each set to recover. Finish the run with 10 minutes at easy pace to cool down.

The only run of the programme with actual intervals! While it was naturally going to be a tough run – going all out is never easy –  I did really enjoy it. I ran from my house instead, and made the mistake bad choice of choosing a route that has a long uphill section. This meant that some of my intervals were more at threshold pace than close to all out.

I had four-legged company for this run: this cute little boy, Gille (pronounced Gilly) was  staying with us. He is my in-law’s dog, and is a working Cocker Spaniel. He’s also a fantastic running partner as he loves to go for a run and always stays close by.

3.98 miles in 40:33, average pace – 10:12/mile.


Wednesday: rest day

Thursday: 45-min steady hilly run or 40-min easy if racing Sunday -> this looked like running at slightly faster than conversation pace, but still comfortable, for 45 minutes.

Unlike last training cycle, I haven’t coincidentally scheduled any 10km to fall on weekends where the programme calls for a training run OR a race, so we had to run the longer option. And we did this as a forest trail run from Drumtochty Glen, close to Auchenblae. It’s a hilly, intimidating course that has many step uphill sections and some quad-killing down hill sections. It also has beautiful scenery all around, (on a clear day). Pat cycles this route often, and I’ve tried to run it about two years ago, but wasn’t able to run all the way up the massive hills. Until this night.

I would definitely say I’ve redeemed myself from Balmoral with this run. And this is the reason why: check out the elevation chart for Balmoral, where you gain over 300 feet altogether.

Balmoral elevation

Then check out the Drumtochty elevation chart, where you gain 800 feet!!!!!!!

Drumtochty elevation

I nailed this hill and the run, and loved every minute of it! Take that Balmoral!


A great run was topped off with a great omelet. Oh, and Gille joined us on the run as well 🙂


4.12 miles in 45:07, average pace – 10:57 –> I attribute this to all the hills.

Friday: rest day.

Saturday: rest day and lots of shopping in Aberdeen. Plus some low-carb, high-fat ‘fat bomb’ chocolate mousse!


Sunday: 75-min easy / steady or 10km race -> this looked like running at a quicker-than-easy pace for 1:15:00.

We did an out and back route from Auchenblae, past Drumtochty, due to wind and some rain. The start of the run was tough, but given I take about 5 miles to warm up, and the course is undulating uphill, it’s understandable my pace was around 10:30/mile. Once we turned back, I felt so much better and my pace quickened to 9:30-9:45/mile. A good sign for the race!

The day culminated with a truly divine steak au poivre, minus the brandy. God I love Scottish beef! (and for #lchf peeps, it’s grass-fed!).


7.34 miles in 1:15:00, average pace – 10:14/mile.


I’m not going to go on about what I did well and where I need to improve. These last few weeks at work have been total overload and it’s not going to end until May 30th. I think the fact that I’m continuing to run, adhering to my new way of eating, and running with rested legs is all I can ask for at this stage in training.  I’m also really happy that my average pace on my long runs has decreased by about 15 seconds since the last training cycle: a good sign of things to come May 25th! The taper has begun and now it’s just about getting my runs in, staying healthy, hydrating, and getting a good night’s sleep.

I’m not going to lie, I’m also looking forward to writing about something other than training. I can only give one day a week to blogging right now, and I would much prefer to be writing about how I went sugar-free, the screwed-up history of where our current nutrition recommendations come from, some #trustthetraining posts, and what life is like living in another country, as my five-year anniversary of living in Scotland is approaching. These will have to wait until June, when all the stress, training and work overload will be a distant memory.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’m off to get a good night’s sleep 🙂

What are some posts you’ve got brewing but haven’t written yet?

What’s your biggest hill feat?

What’s your favourite dessert?



10 thoughts on “Half Mary Musings | Week 10 -> Taper!

  1. Exciting that it’s taper time! You’ve had a really strong training cycle- I’m sure you’ll do awesome in your race.
    Gille is adorable, and it’s nice he can run with you!
    Wow- five year anniversary for living in scotland! That’s awesome- I’d love to hear/read about it!

    • Thanks Abby, despite missing a week due to illness then having a really difficult week leading up to Balmoral, I do feel it’s been a good cycle overall.

      Trust me, I really want to write about living in another country and how I ended up here, just need the time! Hopefully by summer it will happen.

      And yes, Gille is such a sweet and obedient dog, he’s an ideal running partner.

  2. Enjoy the taper, it will all be over so quickly 🙂 Which pen are you in for the start? I think the Half and Full races start together. I’m in the pink pen on Regent Road.

  3. Well done – that’s quite a hill! Looks like you’re in great shape for next weekend.

    I’m falling a bit behind with posts too. I want to write a race report for the Great Women’s 10k, a book review and some updates on my preparations for Edinburgh next weekend. Not sure how I’ll fit it all round my current workload!

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