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A faster half marathon – Speed repeats and sunrise runs

Another update from my training plan with Garmin Coach Amy guiding me towards a faster half marathon. My second half marathon that I will run on October 11. No race, just me. This summary brings lots of sunrise runs, two speed repeats workouts and my longest run of the plan so far.

Tired run

Yesterday I ran a long trail run of 14,7K and today Coach Amy wants me to run half that distance without a pace goal, as slow as I need to. It’s Monday morning, I don’t have time for this! So, usually I’ll just try to loosen up my legs with a short recovery run. It’s not what the Coach intended, but better as not going out at all, I suppose.

My legs are definitely still recovering from yesterday’s run. They feel heavy and a little unhappy, but somehow it also feels good to be moving. I run a slow 3K at an average pace of 9:17 min/km.

Speed repeats

It’s time for a new speed repeat session. The training plan says to run two minutes fast with a two minute recovery and repeat this seven times. The fast pace should be between 6:52 and 7:10 min/km. For some reason these paces are not set fast enough for me. Maybe I misunderstand the goal of the training, but I feel like I should be pushing myself hard. That’s also what the explanation of today’s training says “Run hard!”. So, I decide to run hard.

I run the intervals at 6:50, 6:17, 5:56, 5:53, 5:48, 6:06 and 5:38 min/km. That definitely felt hard, but really satisfying. 

Easy run

It’s raining and I’ve planned an out and back route on a straight road. I usually use this road for speed work or when I just want to turn my brain off and go. It’s a cycling lane through the forest with a very even asphalt path. I usually just pass a few commuters on bikes and some people walking their dogs. I know who wants to be greeted and who just wants to get to work/back home in quiet. The rain makes the route even more quiet today.

I run an easy 5,4K at an average pace of 8:33 min/km.

Long easy run

I’m away for the weekend with other obligations, so I decided to skip this week’s long run. I still have five weeks until my half marathon and I’m confident I’ll be ready in time!

Easy run

The plan said to run an easy 5/6K, but my time is limited today. I decided to go a little faster over a shorter distance. Same effort? It went pretty well, I ran 3,3K at an average pace of 7:51 min/km and I was on time for my meeting. Win-win.

Speed repeats

More speed repeats! After last week’s two minute interval, they’ve been increased to seven repeats of 2:30 minutes fast with a 2:30 minute recovery.

I ran today’s interval’s at 6:41, 6:18, 6:10, 6:16, 5:53, 6:06 and 5:54 min/km. Still pretty similar to last week’s shorter intervals. Today the average pace of the run part was 6:11 min/km, last week it was 6:03 min/km. Slower, but given the longer intervals not too bad. I’m still not sure if I’m doing it right by running these intervals about 1 min/km faster as intended by the plan, but it’s how the workout feels the most useful. 

Easy run

It’s suddenly getting colder again. Summer might be over. Weather app number one says it’s 8°C while I’m still in my comfortable bed. Weather app number two says it’s 11°C. I’m choosing to believe the second app and I put on my shorts with the thinnest long sleeve shirt I have. It’s too soon to put my shorts away! Before I head out the door, I quickly pick up my buff from the table, just in case.

As soon as I’m outside, I’m doubting my choice for shorts. It’s cold, definitely not 11°C. I pull my buff up and start my warming up. Unfortunately, I’m not warming up much. It’s just an easy run today, but after about 3K I realize my legs are not warming up and I head home. I ran 4K in total at an average pace of 8:41 min/km. 

Long easy run

Finally it’s long run day again. I’ve had the route planned for weeks, but it was a little too early for this distance for me, until today. Today’s course is called The Donkey Tour. 

Every day when I drive home from work, I pass this field next to the highway. It’s a big field with a shed and about 8-10 donkeys in it. Sometimes they’ll be running around, sometimes they’re just chilling and sometimes I can’t even see them (there’s also the road to pay attention to!). They had baby donkeys a few years back and since then I’ve been wondering about the purpose of these donkeys. Why are they here? Will the babies be taken away? I don’t have the answers, but the babies have grown up and are still there.

Today I’m going to say hi to them. My route goes towards what I’m hoping is a path next to the donkey field. I planned my visit as much to the end of my route as possible, I should be passing it at 10-12K. The route towards it is nice, but the paths are too narrow. It’s supposed to be a cycling lane, but it’s impossible to comfortable pass each other here and the path isn’t even wide enough to pretend social distancing is possible. There is a sandy path next to it, but this means I’m jumping out of the way into the uneven sand every five minutes. Not ideal.

I finally make it to the donkey field. I head off the path, towards the field and I find my donkeys! Unfortunately, they don’t really care about me. It’s a big field and I have no intention of crossing the fence around it. So, if you look very closely in the picture below, you may be able to spot them on the top left.

That’s it for my donkey adventure, I’m heading home. Not much donkey sensation, but I had a goal, a distraction and a great run.

I ran 16,5K at an average pace of 9:09 min/km. 

Summary
I’m feeling pretty good about the last workouts. Yes, I’ve skipped a long run and some runs in between. But to be fair, I five workouts a week scheduled by Coach Amy even though I know I won’t be able to do five workouts a week. Next time I should probably just go with four workouts and use the possibility of a fifth run for all the things I want to do outside the plan, like hill repeats (maybe…) and lactate threshold tests.


I have four more weeks until I’m supposed to run my half marathon. Bring it on!

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