Monday, January 31, 2011

Half marathon training: Check-in #4 and Help a Reader.

Welcome to check-in #4!


(More information on the Happy Runner Half Marathon Challenge can be found HERE)


This happy runner feels good about the way training went last week! I pretty much hit all the right paces and I rocked my long run so, yay! Training is going well.


The worst part of my training so far is that I am TIRED. This whole breastfeeding-a-baby-while-training-for-a-half-marathon thing is a bit tough. Niall is still waking up at night -- some nights more (much more) than others and while I'm mostly used to it at this point, it does take a bit of a toll on me. So, I'm trying to rest whenever the opportunity arises but that doesn't seem to be as often as I would like.

Anyway, as I said I'm mostly used to the lack of sleep so no real complaints. It could be a lot worse!



Here's what I had planned to run / what I ran

Mon: rest / yup
Tues: 5 miles easy / Done! Ran 5.3 miles on the 'mill at my easy pace and felt good.
Wed: 5 miles w/3 @ tempo / Sorta:  I was all sorts of annoyed at the world on Wed and after my warm-up and 1 mile at tempo, I just seriously felt the need to do something different so I alternated 30 seconds at mile pace with 90 seconds at 10min/mi. That workout did wonders for my outlook!
Thurs: rest /yup
Fri: 4 miles easy / Done! Ran 4.5.
Sat: 10 mile long run / Done! Ran 10.03 hilly miles on the roads near my house, at 9:24 pace. Was pleased that I was able to keep my pace slower for this long run -- my last outdoor long run was too fast.
Sun: rest / Oh, yeah. Done!

Total mileage: 24 / 24.8


I was worried about running my 10 miler on Saturday morning, just about 12 hours after running on Friday. But, my thinking in putting together my schedule was that I would stress my system in a different way with the back-to-back runs. I'm not going to do it with every long run but some of my research shows that taxing your muscles in that way helps with late race fatigue. That tends to be my downfall so I'm hoping that workouts like the Fri/Sat runs will help me get beyond that on race day.



And it seems that the workout agreed with me, at least in the short term. I felt GREAT while I was out running the 10 miles. I carried Gatorade with me in my handheld and that was enough fuel for the run. Here are my splits (you can see by the vast differences in pace among the miles that my route is super hilly!)


mile 1: 9:56 
mile 2: 8:55 
mile 3: 8:56 
mile 4: 9:53 
mile 5: 9:44
mile 6: 9:20
mile 7: 9:37
mile 8: 9:46
mile 9: 8:41
mile 10: 9:15
total: 1:34:18, 9:24/mi


Yay! And, friends? That run was my LONGEST run in about two years. Two years! Wow. I'm glad to be up in double-digits.


I'm equally as glad to have a cut-back week this week. My body will do well with some extra rest.

Here's this week's plan:

Mon: 4.5 easy
Tues: rest
Wed: 6 miles w/4 @ tempo
Thurs: rest
Fri: 4 easy
Sat: rest
Sun: 6.5 miles @ long run pace
Total: 21



Now, throughout the Happy Runner Half-Marathon Challenge, I've invited you all to submit questions and for everyone to give feedback/advice/answers to those questions. This week I have a bunch for you. I'll start with some questions from Julie/Nobel4Lit today. She asks:

1) Is it really true that you can do a long run (much) slower than your race pace?
(Because that's what I do.. about 1-2 off pace per mile, in fact!)
2) How do you train at race pace without getting injured? I'm always getting injured the minute I think about pushing my pace any significant amount. =(
3) What is your opinion on number of days per week that you run? I'm currently subsisting on 3/4 days, as 5 was too many for me...
4) What is your pacing stretegy for a half? 
I'll give my thoughts and I hope you guys will jump in and leave some answers for her, too.


1. YES! By most accounts, your long run should be anywhere from 45-120 seconds per mile slower than your race pace. So, you'd be right on with 1-2 minutes/mile slower.


2. That's tricky. If you push your pace and you get injured, that pace might not be the right one for you. But, if you want to go for a certain faster pace, consider doing your faster runs on softer ground or running hills. Hills are great for building speed and strength and tend to be less punishing on your legs, as long as you take care on the downhill.


3. I like to run 5 times per week but for this half marathon I am trying to stick to 4 days. For me, right now, the extra days of rest are important. First, I'm coming off a year of pregnancy running so I need to rebuild. Second, I'm not getting as much sleep as I would like so my body would probably break down if I tried to run 5-6 times per week. If you are running 3-4 times a week and you are doing consistent, quality workouts, you should be able to see progress.


4. Good question! I've generally focused on shorter races ranging from the 5k to the 15k, with only one marathon. This half will be my first so I'm hoping to learn about my pacing during this training cycle. I hope others can jump in with some good advice here!


Thanks in advance for any answers you can share!


Hope everyone had a great weekend -- thanks for checking in!


~ Felice


And PS: A yogurt giveaway is over HERE

10 comments:

Lisa said...

Love the Q&A! I'm so impressed that you're training for a half with such a little one. I hope you're able to find some time to rest!

Tricia said...

Happy your training is going well. I missed most of last week because of the flu, but was back today with an easy 4 miles. (to test the lungs)

Candice @ I Have Run said...

What a great post. And a great week of running. Congrats on the double digits!!

Kate said...

Congrats to being back in the double digits!!

Very exciting!!!

13point1miles said...

What an accomplishment! Double digits is SO exciting! :) Keep up the hard work!

Party of Nine said...

Hi Felice! Great pace with your long run...awesome! Checking in: ran 16 miles last week and 4 miles yesterday...resting today. As for the q & a, I have no idea (still a beginner). Also, just found out Friday we are expecting (#8), but I am going to continue to run until I feel like I should slow down. Luckily I've been running since June so I feel as though I can continue.

The Happy Runner said...

Wow, congratulations on #8!
Definitely keep on running but take walk breaks when you need them. They help so much when you are preggo.

Party of Nine said...

Thank you! And I intend to peruse your pregnancy category to pick up any more tips :)

Marlene said...

You are a rockstar for putting in the miles for half marathon training while being a full time breast-feeding Mom! Congrats on some great runs, especially the double digits! Woot!!!

lindsay said...

great week felice! good luck tackling this week's workouts :)

as for your friend --
1) yes! my theory is also that most long runs should be done 1-2 mins slower than goal pace. however you can change it up with a progression run or fast-finish run if you want. you still do a good portion of the run at "long run" pace but you can also buid a little extra strength. nothing wrong with long-run pace though.

2) i don't train at race pace. i do tempo runs which are in between my half-mar and mara pace. speedwork (intervals) is faster than race pace BUT it's for a couple minutes at a time, so it doesn't strain the body in the same way. i would suggest using one of the running pace calculators to see what kind of paces you should aim for on a workout run. or, if you don't like formal interval workouts, just go out for a fartlek run where you run by feel.

3) my opinion is however many days your body/schedule can handle. everyone is different! i would love to run 7 days/week, but my body needs 1-2 days off so i typically run 5-6 days.

4) start out strong and steady, but conservative. choose a mile marker in advance and plan to start pushing a little harder once you get there. really push the last 5k, as if it was a real 5k (without the 10-mile warm up)

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