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Coach Greg, half marathon – A new adventure

The last few months have been messy. In October I was ready to crush my half marathon PB, but I crashed halfway through. Pain in my knee, but my physical therapist later determined that the problem was in my hips/back. Lots of sessions followed, but not much changed. My runs got shorter and slower each week. I went from running 80K in September, to 60K in October, 30K in November and 20K in December.

After a while I didn’t dare to push myself anymore, afraid I’d be in pain for several days again, just because I wanted to run. During these months, work was also extra stressful and that probably didn’t help either. But running is my outlet, my stress-reliever, I feared that without running my stress would only get worse. I finally found a modus that worked for me: short runs, with planned run-walk-run intervals of 3 minutes running and 30 seconds walking. Not what I was used to, not where I wanted to be, but it was better as nothing. I was running and I wasn’t in pain afterwards. I’m calling that improvement.

I’m slowly starting to look forward again. I’ve gone back to running three times a week and even finished my first long run in months (in the snow!). I no longer need planned walkbreaks, but still sometimes walk a bit in between. My running mojo and excitement is back, but I still can’t push it too hard. That’s why I’ve decided not to focus on speed for the next weeks/months and just work to slowly build up my distance. I decided to start a new Garmin Coach plan to keep me going:

Coach: Greg McMillan
Distance: Half marathon
Goal: Completion

I’ve already completed two half marathon plans with Coach Greg and one with Coach Amy, but they’ve all been with a time goal. I was well trained when I started these plans and ready to push myself. That’s not where I am right now. My fitness has declined a lot in the last months and I’m still not ready to go all out. But, I want (need?) the structure of a training plan. It helps me to stay consistent and motivated, it pushes me out the door on days I may not feel like it.

The first step of the Garmin Coach plan is a five minute benchmark run. I’ve done many already and I always like to compare my results. For the most part because I saw improvements each time. This time it’s different, but I’m making the comparison anyway.

January 15th 2019: 7:15 min/km, 0,69 km
May 2nd 2019: 6:37 min/km, 0,76 km
May 31st 2019: 6:38 min/km, 0,75 km
September 25th 2019: 6:31 min/km, 0,77 km
October 28th 2019: 6:17 min/km, 0,80 km
March 15th 2020: 5:59 min/km, 0,84 km
June 14th 2020: 6:01 min/km, 0,83 km
November 5th 2020: 6:09 min/km, 0,81 km

This plan started on February 17th at an average pace of 7:00 min/km.

Almost my slowest benchmark. A soft voice in my head is trying to tell me, my fitness decline might not be as bad as I think. On Sunday I was running at a windchill of -6°C, this benchmark was three days later at 10°C. Maybe I was still adjusting to this sudden appearence of spring? I guess we’ll know in a few days.

For now I’m just really excited to be starting a new training plan. I have a goal, structure and determination!

I’ll be posting regular updates on this blog. But, you can also follow me on Instagram or Facebook to follow my journey. 

9 thoughts on “Coach Greg, half marathon – A new adventure”

  1. Welcome back! Good to see you started running again, I really missed your updates.
    Take it easy on yourself getting back in shape slowly but steady, easy does it. Most important: Try to have fun, spring is in the air, only happy thoughts :-).\
    I finished Amy’s 5K plan in October, started with Greg’s 10K plan in November, had some time constraints in December and January and picked it up again in February. Mixing trails with road runs here in my home village Ermelo.
    My personal bests are now 1K – 5:17, 1M – 9:08, 5K – 30:10, 10K – 1:05:13 and still improving, aiming for a 10K 1:02:00 in April, and then moving on with the half marathon plan.
    I never thought that running, starting at the age of 51, would be so much fun, and rewarding, and your blog contributed to this.
    Kind regards,
    Daan

    1. Thank you Daan, that means a lot!
      I missed running and writing about it! Very happy to be back. Good to see you’re keeping busy and improving yourself!

      Will you be doing races, when those start back up? For now it still feels really far away.

  2. Maybe we will start doing races, but we are both not very fond of massive gatherings, even before Covid-19.
    Normally there are some recreational races in this neighbourhood, first priority is getting both in good shape, being able to do a 10K without stress. My wife is still recovering from a broken foot, having a fragile bone structure, so she has to take it easy anyway.
    We started running to build up endurance for climbing and hiking in Austria and lose some weight, up until now this is going as planned.

    And yourself?

    1. I haven’t done many races yet and do want to cross off a few big ones. Maybe not this year though! I am registered for Eindhoven HM in October, I think the rest of my races just got cancelled, not postponed. Last year I was already looking at local trail races, hopefully that’ll at least start happening again in the coming months.

      Hiking in Austria sounds awesome and it’s definitely on my list of things to do!

  3. I have been struggling with getting back into running. I have been considering saving for a Garmin and was looking for reviews about the Coaching feature. I am so happy I found your site! I can’t wait to look through your site after work today, I am certain to find some good insight. Enjoy your runs!

    1. Yes, I have almost registered for a few trails a few times already on that website 🙂 Very small scale currently it seems.
      I’m not feeling the virtual races at the moment, maybe when I go for my half marathon or shoot for a PR at a shorter distance.

  4. Pingback: Coach Greg, half marathon – The first two weeks - My Runner's Life

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