Half Marathon Training Week 2 – If I collapse, will the dogs come get me?

Half Marathon Training Week 2

This week, I ran into a big hairy problem on Thursday. It almost got me questioning: Did I really put out to the world that I’m going to finish a half marathon with my best PR ever? Scary to say the least.

That kind of broadcasting is exactly what is called for in my training, though. I need to have an audience holding me accountable on this one. I’ve told several running buddies about this new PR, as well as on social media and this blog.

Accountability partners are so key when reaching new goals.

Here’s what week 2 consisted of in terms of my training plan:

Half Marathon Training Week 2

Monday

Cross-Training (CT) has always been difficult for me.

I think this is a tough thing for many runners. There’s something about strength training that just seems easy to avoid altogether. I’ve trained for entire marathons without strength, which I actually don’t recommend.

The secret that I’ve found, though, is that the strength work is what keeps you going faster and farther. It’s going to be my secret sauce, and I’m taking it seriously this time.

My CT of choice so far has been Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30, for its ease of availability and use. I can come home and know I can have a choice between 3 different levels of workouts that I don’t have to think about.

It’s a tough 30 min workout and it’s relatively cheap, cost-wise. The only complaint with this I would say is that the menu previews on the DVD can not be skipped, so I end up wasting almost 5-10 minutes when I want to just get into the action.

Tuesday

This week, Kristin was on board for yoga with me!

We pulled out both mats and searched Youtube for Beginner Yoga and found Yoga with Adrienne series (check her out here). She has some good videos that are well-produced, but it is a little moderate for a beginner course. I couldn’t keep form for long, and Kristin was pretty sore the next day.

Kristin & Yoga

The time it took me to find an adequate video led me to believe there had to be something better out there. Some Yoga for runners, perhaps…

Enter Christine Felstead’s Yoga for Runners: The Essentials. Looking around for a good DVD on Yoga, this seemed to be well recommended on Amazon. I haven’t tried it yet, but I will be sure to let you know how it goes next week.

Wednesday

20 min pace run went much better than last week’s 15 min. The strength from the previous week’s CT was present. I had about a 7:05 pace, and I keep telling myself that the pace runs get faster, and that I’m not yet fast enough. I’ll have to shave off at least :15 per on this, and I want to cut even more to be safe.

Pace runs are where success is born. I can’t get faster unless I train faster, so these runs will be vital to overcome!

Thursday

Yasso 800s are a true test of preparedness.

I’ve been using them in my training for a long time, and they’ve always been really good indicators of performance capability.

After Thursday’s run, it was obvious I have some tough work cut out for me if I want to achieve this PR.

FYI: The idea behind the Yasso 800 is to run 800m relative to a goal pace finish. I’ve always used them for marathon times, but they can also be calculated for half-marathons.

With Yasso 800s, if you want to finish a marathon in 3hrs 45 min, you run 800m (or about 0.5 miles) in 3 min 45 sec, and then jog for 3min 45 sec, repeating up to 10 times.

 

This week, I started with 2x Y800s, and I had planned to run 0.5mi in 3min 10sec. I was running at a speed of 10.6mph, the fastest I’ve probably ever run. I only ran for 2min instead of 3, and I even slowed down on the second one.

Total running time was less than 10 min. and I was ready to collapse.

Something in me just could not run that fast that long. I thought I was going to fly off the treadmill. It worries me that I’ve set too audacious a goal, but I’m going to hit it again next week and see how it goes.

Saturday

While I had planned some strength training, I switched it up this week to run a 6mi. I waited until very late in the day to do this, and running 6 miles was easier than doing strength and cardio. Sometimes you just gotta switch it up.

Sunday

Did a strength session of Jillian Michaels, and then a brief 20 min run to loosen everything up. A solid end to a solid week of training.

 

I’m really glad I’m making my own schedule. I feel in tune to what I’m doing and I don’t feel bad about adjusting as I go. There is something about taking action and controlling your own success that is so empowering.

Has anyone else ever tried their own running schedule? How has it been going for you? I’d love to get your insights!



 

Half Marathon Training Week 1

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The first week of using my own training plan has been going surprisingly well, but not without its hiccups.

I’m planning for a 1h 30min PR, which will put me at a pace of at least 6:50/per mile, and I should be shooting for a little faster than that in order to ensure that I’m meeting my pace.

On the treadmill, which is where I do most of my training, that means no slower than 8.8 mph. I don’t know about you, but for me, this is fast!

After the first day of speed, I was worried that this goal was too audacious for me. I wasn’t huffing and puffing, but it was still hard to keep up & pain was present. By the end of the week, things have been progressing much better, and I’m already feeling stronger.

Here is what I’ve planned so far:

Training Schedule Week 1

I’m still tweaking the schedule by making sure that there is enough slow and fast-paced days. While I don’t have a heart rate monitor just yet, I’m trying to really key into my heart rate and know when I’m at a low, medium or high heart rate.

I’ve also added Yoga in for the first time, because as I run these very fast speeds, I tend to tighten up much faster, so I’m trying to counteract any issues down the road.

Here’s what I’ve learned from past speed races:

I find structure to be especially important when hitting a new goal. At last year’s half-marathon, I felt like I was guessing all the time with training. Though it did get me a good finishing time last year, I probably could have done much better. This year, I’m vowing to do better.

Here are some things I’m starting to do differently, because it seems they actually work. It also seems to be where I falter in setting awesome times.

1. Knowing the course.

I noticed in my last 5K run that I was doing pretty great, but my downfall was not knowing the course. I faltered in the last few minutes by losing steam with an added turn.

My mind and body were not prepared to do another loop. I was so close to getting in the top 10, but because of my shortcomings, I was not able to get into that top 10 timeframe. That won’t happen this time around.

I’m going to be making a trip or two around the course before race day, to get a feel for what I’m up against. I’ve honestly never done this before, but it seems like a great and important plan.

2. Planning for hills and other tough spots.

Good old-fashioned hill training should do the trick. Have you ever heard the mantra “I eat hills for breakfast”? That will be me. My treadmill goes to a 15% incline, and that is way more than anyone needs!

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3. Analyzing previous race times and training runs

Here’s a breakdown of last year by the numbers. At last year’s half marathon, I was 86th overall out of 1155 registered finishers. I was 13th in my age group. After how much I trained last year (not excellent), I should easily be getting in the top 10 in my age group this year.

Based on last years numbers, when I get my goal of 1:30 finish time, I’ll be in the overall top 20 finishers, in the top 7 runners of my age group, and in the top 2% of total course participants.

4. Visualizing my plan daily.

This means seeing the run I will have, even when its 90+ days away. It means pushing though a tough 20 minute run, even though I feel like calling it done after 15.

This means feeling like I’m running the marathon at every training run. It means not giving up, not waiting until “later”. Just getting it in & getting it done.

In Summary

It’s been a tough but rewarding week. I’ve had some great success, and I’m already starting to see changes. In the next post we’ll go into the diet and meal planning Kristin and I are on, and how it is helping both of us achieve even greater things.



 

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