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Garmin Coach Half Marathon – Week 8

Week 8 out of 20 on my half marathon plan with Garmin Coach was an eventful one. The week started really good, but it ended with a dent in my confidence in completing this plan. I’m (temporarily) leaving Coach Greg and continuing my training plan with the lovely Coach Amy, had my first real scare during one of my early morning runs and I had what was supposed to be my longest run to date. 

Training 24 – Progression run

This was the last run with Coach Greg for now, but we’re going out strong! An 85 minute progression run: 5 minute warm-up, 60 minutes easy pace, 10 minutes goal pace, 5 minutes fast and a 5 minute cooling down. Since it’s a weekday and my normal weekday (morning!) runs are maximum 60 minutes, I needed an earlier alarm for this run. I was out the door by 5:45 and had planned a nice 10K route which I often run on weekends, but never this early. For the most part I was completely alone in open fields with just the birds, rabbits and lots of deer running around! 

I managed 8:34, 7:25 and 7:03 min/km, exactly as planned, but the last 20 minutes at the faster paces I was not feeling very happy. I’ve determined my foot pain increases quickly when running at faster paces. After discussing this with my physical therapist he basically said I shouldn’t be running fast for a while to let my foot heal. That’s disappointing. 

I feel like I should mention that my injury was not caused by the Garmin Coach plan or by Coach Greg (aka speed-devil). The pain started shortly after my first 5K race in April and has been lingering and slowly getting worse for months now. I first blamed my running shoes, but after 1,5 month and 140 kilometers in my new shoes plus regular visits to my physical therapist, the pain is not going away so far. Maybe I didn’t allow for enough recovery time after the 5K race?

Look carefully, zoom in. One of the many deer I saw during this run is right in the middle, trying to decide what to do about my presence. Spoiler, it ran off.

Training 25 – Easy run

Since I need to limit my speed work for a while the tempo run that Coach Greg wanted me to do has been cancelled. Actually, the entire plan with Coach Greg has been abandoned (for now… hopefully). I’ve decided to switch from my half marathon plan with time goal and with Coach Greg to a completion plan with Coach Amy. Less speed work and no more buzzing on my wrist that I should be running faster should help me in my plan to slow down. I don’t want to lose too much progress, so I will not be cutting down on number of workouts or distances. 
 
Coach Amy has an easy run planned for me of 6,44 km, I ran 5,34 km at an average pace of 8:57 km/min. It felt way harder as the data suggest and I’m blaming Coach Greg’s 85 minute progression run on Tuesday, right after a 120 minute easy run on Sunday. It seems that me constantly rescheduling runs has accidentally led to two long runs in a row. Oops. Some recovery time might be expected. 

Training 26 – Easy run

Coach Amy wanted me to do hill repeats, but I politely declined that offer. I figured that’s probably not gonna help with the foot pain. So I took an easy run from next week and rescheduled it to today. Another 6,44 km easy run. I’m running mostly on softer tracks in the woods to minimize the impact on my foot and that’s what I did today as well. I’ve seen pretty much every track in this mini-forest, but there’s one part I haven’t fully explored yet so that’s my goal for the day. I’m not sure I’m going back there anytime soon. 

It’s 6:45 in the morning, I’m about 25 minutes into my run and I haven’t seen a single person for 5-10 minutes. As it’s light out this usually doesn’t bother me at all. I spotted something wrapped in white about 30 meters on my left. My first thought: dead body. My second thought is that I’ve probably been watching too many crime shows and it’s just a homeless guy sleeping. Wrapped in white? Third thought: drug waste dumping. Not uncommon here, but how? You can’t reach this spot by car! I suddenly felt completely aware of my vulnerability and how alone I was out there in the middle of nowhere. My next thought was probably the wisest: run, fast and away from here. And that’s how my easy run had a 30 second interval at 6:30 min/km that felt like 5 minutes and a sudden heart rate spike from 155 to 175. I reached a more open space and even found a fellow runner with his dog. Safety. 

I still have no clue what I stumbled upon and while I briefly thought about contacting the police I figured I really had no clue what I saw. It could literally be anything. The next runner, dog walker or mountainbiker might not be alone and can have a closer look. Sorry. 

So, about my run, I managed 6,35 km at an average pace of 9:00 min/km. It still felt hard, but I’ve decided to still blame the two long runs and today I can add high humidity and warm temperatures to the list. 

Training 27 – Negative splits

This appears to be Amy’s version of a progression run. The plan says: start easy, then run progressively harder. The easy part lasts for 7,24 km, then 4,02 km faster and 3,22 fast. The helpful comment for the last part: “Run even harder. You can talk but are breathless.” Sure, Coach Amy. I’ve been practicing starting my long run slow and then slowly increasing my speed with each 1 km split as I go along. The progression run I did on Tuesday was perfect with the only exception of the bridges I had to cross. 

My goal was to run each 1 km a little faster as the last, but it didn’t go as planned. In reality, almost each 1 km was a little slower as the one before. The heat was bothering me even though my route was mostly within the shade of the woods. My first 1 km split was 8:44 and the last 11:07. I was taking more and more walk breaks and when I approached a possible shortcut, I didn’t hesitate and went straight back home. While I’ve been saying for weeks that my foot mostly hurts when I run fast, today was an exception as the pain became impossible to ignore. I think this was related to the tape I had to take off my foot before the run. The tape had caused a small, but very painful blister on the top of my foot. This run hurt and was no fun at all.

Summary

I really hope this foot is going to stop bothering me very soon as it’s really affecting my training. I still have 12 weeks until my half marathon, but I don’t like how this is going so far. There have been multiple skipped runs and runs that have been cut short due to the pain and that doesn’t help with the mental part of getting ready for this race. I have another appointment with my physical therapist tomorrow, hopefully he has some new ideas. 

Since I’ve changed my goal from a time goal to a completion goal, Garmin Coach is no longer providing me with a confidence level. Oh well, I don’t know either right now! 

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