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Garmin Coach Half Marathon – Week 6

Week 6 of my half marathon training is done and it was another difficult week for me. It started with physical therapy and a skipped run due to foot pain and it ended with a slow and painful long run of 2 hours! 

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve been having pain in my foot at the bottom of my heel for a few months now, which was slowly getting worse. Monday I visited my physical therapist who determined the tendon underneath my foot was irritated. It’s seems to be related to my weak ankle. Tape should relieve the tension, so he applied this. While doing that I asked about water resistance, no it’s not. Ok, what about my aqua bootcamp session I have tonight? He applied some different tape as well and said go for it and hope it stays on. Don’t run Tuesday, but go on Wednesday.

The tape lasted about 5 minutes in the pool. I had mainly pain in my ankle during the rest of the evening and decided not to run on Tuesday. Wednesday came and I figured, this pain has been there for months, what’s one more run gonna do? I did a 20 min goal pace run, an easy run would probably have been smarter, but Coach Greg didn’t put that on the schedule for the next week. No real pain during the run, the run felt good even. But I definitely suffered during the day. I’ve not been able to put any weight on my heel and I’ve been stumbling around all day. I went back to the physical therapist on Thursday, got some new tape and reassuring words that I couldn’t really damage anything so I should just train as usual. Well, okay then! 

Training 16 – Goal pace run

As mentioned above, this was probably not my smartest idea, but today I’m doing a goal pace run. Coach Greg says a 15 minute warm-up, 20 minutes at goal pace, 10 optional minutes at goal pace (7:17 – 7:29 min/km) and a 15 minute cooling down. I really wanted to run a bit at my goal pace to see where I’m at and the answer was not really satisfying. I couldn’t find my goal pace. I ran the first part at an average pace of 6:59 min/km (too fast) and was so done I immediately skipped the optional part and slowed down for my cooling down. Still some work to do here. Last week I said that I wanted to use the goal pace run to beat my best time on the 5K, but given the foot pain I decided to let that thought go. Interestingly enough I did ran my second fastest 5K ever. More goal pace runs please. 

Training 17 – Speed repeats

Fun stuff! 8 times 800 meters at 30 seconds faster as goal pace, followed by 400 meters recovery. A short calculation based on distance and pace told me this was going to be a long training. Usually the trainings during the week are maximum 60 minutes, but when including the 15 minute warm-up and 15 minute cooling down, this run would be way longer. I understand this is part of training for longer distances, but I guess I needed to mentally prepare myself for setting a 5:00/5:15 alarm. Since I needed to skip one run anyway, this run didn’t make the cut. 

Training 18 – Easy run

An easy run to test out the new tape on my foot while running, 20 + 15 minutes easy pace. The tape felt a little uncomfortable, the pain was also not really gone so I was doubting if this was going to work. I managed to keep my pace though, I ran the first part at 8:23 min/km and the second part at 8:16 min/km. Luckily the pain after the run was much less as before so clearly the tape is doing something good. 

Training 19 – Long easy run

Today Coach Greg planned the longest run I ever ran. A 5 minute warm-up, 1 hour and 35 minutes easy run, 15 minutes optional easy run and a 5 minute cooling down. That totals to a 2 hour run, all at a pace between 8:00 and 8:38 min/km. I planned a new route through Garmin Courses and send it to my watch for navigation. This way I didn’t need to check my phone every time I wasn’t sure about a turn I should take. It’s a really convenient functionality! Each time there is a turn coming it warns me 30 meters ahead and shows a small arrow on the display to show which direction I’m going. I turned wrong once, because I wasn’t paying attention and it gave me the message “Off course” almost immediately. 

This run was hard and it hurt. I was too slow, but I appreciate that Coach Greg accepts this fairly quickly. After a few messages about my slow pace he accepted that it wasn’t going to go any faster (or he gave up… I prefer he accepted) and stopped warning me. The first part of the training I ran at an average pace of 9:04 min/km and the second part at 9:27 min/km. 

Even though it was early it was more sunny as I expected and therefore a bit too warm for my taste. This really slows me down a lot. My legs felt really heavy after 1 hour of running and I kept calculating how long I still had to go. Clearly I wasn’t enjoying this run. The last 30 minutes were pure pain. Every step hurt, mainly in my foot. I kept hearing my physical therapist in my head that I couldn’t damage anything or delay the healing process and that kept me going. The closer I got to home the more I needed to really focusing on keeping a good form as it surely wasn’t looking like running at all anymore and I was just trying to find less painful steps. 

Reading this back now, it sounds like I was in pure agony and I should have stopped or just quit running all together. That feeling when the watch hit the 2 hour mark and I realized I had just ran for 2 hours straight for the first time in my life gives me pure motivation to keep going. 

So, I learned three things during today’s long run: 

    1. I should really be doing some strength training. Okay, I already knew this, but today was a good reminder and I figured, if I write it down here it might help. Anyone who’s reading this may ask me how my strength training is going in the next days and weeks. 
    2. I really need to work hard if I want to run my half marathon, an extra 8 kilometers, in 14 weeks in just 36 minutes longer. Motivation!
    3. I need new/different socks. Auch, those blisters! 
Summary
There is still 14 weeks to go, but there is lots for me to improve on. I hope 14 weeks is enough. Coach Greg’s confidence level went down just a little bit, most likely related to the skipped workout. Glad he’s not taking that too bad. I am motivated to stick to the plan and give it my all. On to week 7! 

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