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A faster half marathon – First speedwork and Friday Fun Run returns

This week’s blog update was a little more complicated to write up as usual. Normally I’m typing this out on my laptop with Garmin Connect open, either on my phone or in a webbrowser on the laptop. Given Garmin’s current issues, that’s not possible at the moment. So, I finally caved and manually uploaded my data to Strava. The good news, by the time I’m uploading this article Garmin seems to be mostly up and running again!

Speed repeats

After all those time trials, it’s finally time for my first speed repeats with Coach Amy. She planned six repeats of 1 minute and 30 seconds at a pace between 6:52 – 7:10 min/km. The pace and length of the repeats surprised me a little bit. I’m supposed to run hard, but the pace indicated is my 5K race pace. If I can hold that pace for 35 minutes, what are these short repeats going to do for me? I’m sure the Coach has a decent plan, but I still went out a little faster as intended.

1. 7:08 min/km
2. 6:32 min/km
3. 6:16 min/km
4. 5:57 min/km
5. 5:52 min/km
6. 5:41 min/km

My watch glitched on me a little bit during the first repeat. At the beginning it told me I was running at 9:30 min/km, surely I was going faster. I still wanted a good time though, so I made sure the lap was within the pace target. All other sets were slightly faster as the previous, very satisfied with that.

Next week the intervals increase: 7 repeats of 2 minutes at the same pace. Coach Amy is probably just taking it easy on me for now, I’m sure she’ll have me pushing my limits soon enough.

Easy run

The plan said to run 6,5K(ish) at easy pace. I was lazy and wanted a smooth run so I picked the asphalt cycling lane in the forest and figured I’d simply run out and back. The first part went faster as usual at around 8:15 min/km. Then I got bored. I decided to head into the other side of the forest and explore the trails there a little further. I tried to keep the route as long as possible, but I arrived back home after 6K. The second part of the run was a little slower so on average I ran 8:36 min/km.

Easy run

Today I am reintroducing my Friday fun run. I’ve been losing a bit of motivation lately. I’m having trouble getting myself out of bed on time for my runs. I’m debating cutting my runs short, sometimes before I even leave the house. And I’m skipping runs. A clear signal that something needs to change.

So, I figured today would be a good day to just do what I want. I am ignoring the training plan, ignoring my pace and focusing on the joy of running. In the past, my Friday fun run meant going extra slow and explore the trails in the forest. Today I decided I’ve done enough slow runs and I went a little faster on those trails. I’m sprinting up the short, steep hills and trying not to fall on my way down. I succeeded, and I had a lot of fun. Some parts were fast, some parts were slow and that’s okay. I ran 4,5K at an average pace of 8:16 min/km.

Long easy run

Today is the day. Today I will finally run the course I created for my first long run of Coach Amy’s HM plan. After many skipped, postponed and shortened runs, today I will make it happen. This is what I told myself before I left for this run. The course is about 13K long and, as I’ve discovered over the last few weeks, has a few shortcut possibilities. But, I’m ignoring those today.

I have my Camelbak with me, filled with 1L water and as soon as I head out the door I decide that today I’m not listening to music, but I want to be distracted by someone babbling at me. A podcast. I walk a bit as I try to find something suitable, play and go!

I quickly find a comfortable pace at around 8:30 – 8:40 min/km, which is a lot faster as I managed last week. Off to a good start. The lady babbling at me is annoying me and I can’t seem to skip to the next episode through my headphones or my watch. I’m finally annoyed enough to get out my phone and fix it directly in the Spotify app. Next up is a lady who prides herself in coming in last in races, that’s more like it.

After 4K I pass the shortcut route that fooled me many times already. I smile as I pass by, not today. It’s warm at 20°C, but the sun often hides behind some clouds making it feel a lot less hot as it was last week. When I make it back to the forest, I’m about 2,5K away from home and I know I need to turn right to make sure my run is long enough. I turn right, but am a little clueless after that. I don’t want to do the entire run around the forest, but I don’t really want to head onto the trails after running almost 10K either. I pick the trails anyway, it’s hard on my tired legs, but it’s okay.

I make it home at 12,6K, which I ran at an average pace of 8:40 min/km. Not too bad.

I’m not seeing much adaptiveness in the Garmin Coach plan at the moment. After running 12,6K today instead of the planned 16K, the plan decided to schedule a 17,7K run for next week. Nope. Maybe it’s just due to issues Garmin’s been having this week, let’s see what happens after I cut next week’s run short as well.

Summary

It’s still 11 weeks until race day, so I’m not worried at all about being able to reach the distance in time, though Coach Amy seems to have different ideas. I’m happy with this week’s results and excited about reintroducing my Friday Fun Run. Let’s make that a regular thing again!

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