Garmin Coach Half Marathon – Week 4

Week 4 of my half marathon training with Garmin Coach was definitely a though one with two speed workouts, an easy run and a very hot long run. During this week I also made the decision to change my goal time within Garmin Coach to a slower time. 

Training 11 – Speed repeats

Most weeks start off easy, but Coach Greg has a different plan for me today. After a 15 minute warm-up I’ve got 3 sets of 5 minutes at a very fast, but controlled pace (6:29 – 6:41 min/km) with 3 minute recovery time. This is followed by 6 sets of 30 second repeats at a slightly faster pace (6:29 – 6:35 min/km) with a 1 minute recovery. 

5 minute sets:
Set 1: 6:30 min/km
Set 2: 6:41 min/km
Set 3: 6:52 min/km

30 seconds sets:

Set 1: 5:57 min/km
Set 2: 5:26 min/km
Set 3: 5:58 min/km
Set 4: 6:11 min/km
Set 5: 6:14 min/km
Set 6: 5:19 min/km

My legs were not completely recovered from Sunday’s long run, that’s why I prefer to do speed work like this a bit later in the week. Coach Greg has more speed work for me this week though, so I couldn’t reschedule this run. I think I managed okay even though I didn’t hit all the paces during the 5 minute sets and the 30 second sets were all too fast. It seems running fast is not an issue, just to keep running fast. 

Training 12 – Easy run

 An easy run of 20 + 15 minutes. I went off-road in the woods for the first part of this run and ran back over an asphalt bike lane in the second part, this might explain the big difference in my times. I ran the first part in 8:45 min/km and the second part in 8:04 min/km. The goal pace for this run is maximum 8:21 min/km, so on average I guess I managed that. 
I met a few friends along the way (see picture below) that seemed mostly annoyed that I came by to interrupt their breakfast, but other than that didn’t really care for my presence. 


Training 13 – Progression run

More speed work from the lovely Coach Greg. After a 5 minute warm-up, I’m doing 20 minutes at easy pace and than 10 minutes at approximately 30 seconds per kilometer faster as goal pace. That didn’t happen. I had to take the first of two walk breaks already after less than 5 minutes. In total the 10 minutes averaged at 7:10 min/km, which is actually my goal pace and definitely not 30 seconds per kilometer faster. 

I made the decision to change my goal time within Garmin Coach somewhere during this run. I’ve been thinking about it since my failed goal pace repeats last week and today’s run confirmed that I am currently not able to run at the paces the plan wants me to. Even the easy runs don’t feel as easy to me as they should. Maybe it’s just the start of summer and I’m still getting used to the increased temperatures, because the easy pace of maximum 8:21 min/km was actually an easy pace for me not too long ago. Maybe not, either way I need to train at my current capabilities and that’s not what I’m doing right now. 

So, my goal time for the half marathon has been adapted from 2:30:00 to 2:36:00. Not a big change, but hopefully enough to keep me going. My new easy pace is 8:00 – 8:38 min/km and goal pace 7:17 – 7:29 min/km. Let’s see how that goes!

Training 14 – Long easy run

A 105 minute long easy run at my new easy pace. I had a nice route planned, a variation of last week’s long run with a little more off-road and I went in the opposite direction today. I really need to mention we’re currently in the middle of a heat wave and even though I left at 8:00 in the morning (on a Sunday!) it was very warm. When I left it was about 21°C and the sun was shining bright and hot and I can assure it got a lot warmer during the next 105 minutes. Yesterday I already prepared and placed a half filled 0,5L water bottle in the freezer. I filled the other half with water and was assured of cold water for the entire run. Sunscreen, visor, sweatband, headphones, good to go!

I had already decided I was going to run at a pace I felt like I could manage the whole 105 minutes, whatever pace that turned out to be, but I still went too fast. The beeping and buzzing of my watch telling me I was going too slow really didn’t help. I took a lot of walk breaks, some short to drink some water, some to stretch my painful back (where did that come from?) and some just because I had to. I eventually managed an average pace of 9:13 min/km. Not great, but I think the most important part of long runs is that you get the km’s in and not necessarily at a good pace. Especially given today’s circumstances, I’m happy I got my run in. 

This was definitely not an easy week, but nobody said training for a half marathon is easy! The weather expectations for the coming week are getting a bit extreme, I’ve seen predictions up to 38°C. I’m not very good at running at warm temperatures (yet?), so I’ll see how it goes!
The upside of changing the time goal to a slower time is that my confidence level finally went up! Glad to see Coach Greg still believes in me. 

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