Garmin Coach Half Marathon – Week 1

This week marks the end of my holiday and the beginning of my half marathon training! Running on vacation was really nice, but also a bit of a challenge, read my experiences with running in the Florida heat and humidity

I am using the Garmin Coach functionality to setup my half marathon training plan and these are my settings: 

    • current weekly distance: 17 – 24 kilometers
    • current average running pace: 8:30 min/km
    • goal: 2:30:00 
    • coach: Greg McMillan
    • available days: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday
    • long run day: Sunday
    • race: Half Marathon Eindhoven, October 13

I wasn’t able to select the correct race day yet as Coach Greg’s plan is between 12-16 weeks long and my race was a little over 19 weeks away at the time of setting this up. I will solve this problem in the next weeks by simply changing the race date at a later time. 

This week is also the week I decided to spoil myself with a new Garmin watch. My new Garmin Forerunner 645 Music arrived this week and is replacing my Vivoactive 3. I will be writing a review on the new watch when I’ve had a bit more experience with it (there is so much data!) and I’m also preparing an article about the thought process that led me to buy this particular watch. 

And, this week I’ve registered for two races. In April I ran my first 5K race and in October I will be running my first half marathon. Via one of the Facebook running groups I am a member of I discovered a run in my home town: Freedom run/Liberty Loop. They have several distances, but since it’ll take place 4 weeks before my half marathon I decided to sign up for the 10 miles as a training run for the half marathon. Hopefully Coach Greg agrees with this plan! 

Training 1 – Benchmark run + easy run

Last Friday I finally started with the training plan and did the benchmark run required for the start and calculation of the training plan. The benchmark run starts with a 2 minute warm-up, followed by a 5 minute run and a 2 minute cooling down. I ran the 5 minutes at an average pace of 6:38 min/km, which is faster as my goal pace. Coach Greg and me were satisfied. 

For the second part of today’s run I needed to complete the benchmark and sync it to my phone. So, while I was catching my breath from the benchmark run I started the Garmin Connect app and let it calculate the coming workouts. The next workout was planned for Sunday, but I was able to select it already and continue my run. 

I’m not sure why, but the plan starts out fairly easy with a 5 minute warm-up, 10 minute easy run, 10 minute optional easy run and a 5 minute cooling down. The run felt really hard and slow, but looking at my pace now I actually didn’t do as bad as I expected. I ran the first 10 minutes at an average pace of 8:29 km/min and the second 10 minutes at 7:52 min/km. My heart rate averaged at 181 and 185 though, so that does confirm how I felt. Since I’ve been feeling tired and sluggish for the last days, I decided to blame this on the jetlag. 

Training 2 – Easy run

So far, nothing about these runs has been easy, but let’s not blame Coach Greg for that. Today’s plan is a 5 minute warm-up, 30 minute easy run, 10 minute optional easy run and a 5 minute cooling down. I should probably mention today’s weather forecast says it will be 32°C and many running events in the country have been cancelled due to the heat. When I start my run it’s 8:45 in the morning and already 22°C, but the sun is so hot it feels a lot warmer. Luckily the woods near my house will provide me with lots of shade. 

I ran the first part at an average pace of 9:09 min/km. Not good, but I was so energyless and I had to stop and drink so often that this really was the best possible. The second part I cut short and the GPS messed up a bit, so I have no idea about the average pace, but I’m guessing it’s similar or slower as the first 30 minutes. 

The heat definitely didn’t help me here, but it surprised me how bad I felt given the fact that my last runs in Florida were done in similar conditions and weren’t this hard. I think the jetlag is impacting me harder as expected since I’m also feeling low on energy during the day. Hopefully this feeling passes soon! 


So, on paper the first week of my half marathon training was easy, but the jetlag combined with the heat made it a lot more difficult. So far Coach Greg still believes in my goal, yeah! Let’s see what the coming weeks bring.

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