Road to my first half marathon – Week 9

Week 9 of the road to my first half marathon includes an easy run, speed repeats and the longest run of the training plan. I’m also considering deviating from the plan slightly. 

Easy run

On my Monday morning runs I’ve recently been focusing on keeping my heart rate low and simply putting a few easy kilometers in. I had done an 85 minute progression run just the day before and my legs were still a little heavy. This run is the easiest of my workouts to skip and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last weeks. Today I got out of bed on time and got out the door. I ran 4,2K at an average pace of 9:03 min/km. It was a constant circle of my watch telling me I was going too slow, me speeding up, my watch telling me my heart rate was rising and me slowing down to get it down again. On runs like these I wish I could just put the coach on mute. I knew I was going to ignore him when I started my run and since skipping runs affects the future runs in the training plan I did still want to record is a Garmin Coach run. A mute option would be a great solution in my opinion. 

Speed repeats

Today is a do-over of last week’s failed speed repeats. Warm-up 15 minutes, 800 meters at a ‘very fast, but controlled pace’, 400 meter recovery, repeat 8 times followed by a 15 minute cooling down. The 800 meter intervals are supposed to be done at a pace between 6:29 – 6:41 min/km. Last week I managed 4 repeats before I ran out of time and energy, so Coach Greg is giving me a second chance. I was really motivated to do better today. 

It’s also Christmas Day today. That means I have the day off from work and no plans until somewhere in the afternoon. I woke up before the sun was up without an alarm and was able to get out of bed quickly due to the excitement for this run and the hopes of being able to take a decent sunrise picture during my recovery repeats. 

This week

1. 6:37 min/km
2. 6:31 min/km
3. 6:34 min/km
4. 6:32 min/km
5. 6:32 min/km
6. 6:34 min/km
7. 6:35 min/km
8. 6:21 min/km

Last week

1. 6:40 min/km
2. 6:34 min/km
3. 6:46 min/km
4. 6:37 min/km
5 – 8 skipped

It was definitely a hard workout, but it felt so good to be able to complete all the repeats within the intended range after failing this last week. I even scraped a faster interval out of my little toes for the last part. When I finished the run Strava told me this was my second fastest 10K at 1:17:11. This was faster as my 10K race in October even with walking 50% of the recoveries. Of each 400 meter recovery I allowed myself to walk for 200 meters, then started to slowly jog until the countdown on my watch began to let me know the faster interval was starting in 5 seconds. In one week I have another 10K race and I will definitely be attempting to beat the PR I ran during the 15K Bruggenloop Rotterdam of 1:15:14. 

See below my awesome sunrise picture. The orange you’re seeing is actually from the streetlights. It was so cloudy that there was nothing to see, the world just slowly kept getting a little lighter. 

Long easy run

The longest run of the half marathon training plan with Coach Greg is 120 minutes and that’s what’s on the calendar for today. It’s after 10:00 already when I’m finally out the door. With -2°C it’s still cold and frosty though. I added an extra round to my normal 10K route making it approximately 15K. The first part was pretty boring, but I was keeping myself entertained with my music. When I reached the open fields a little over halfway through the views were pretty amazing. The plants still had a little frost layer on them, the clouds kept changing fast and for some reason there was still a sunrise-like glow on the horizon. I stopped to take pictures a few times. I ended the run at 14,6K with an average pace of 8:23 min/km. 
A half marathon is about 21,1K and I’m not convinced I’ll be prepared in the best way possible with just 15K as a maximum distance. I still have six weeks until my race, but I know through seeing others post about their experiences with Garmin Coach in the Garmin Coach Runners Community that this plan will not give me a longer run. You could say I should trust the plan, maybe it’s meant to be like this. But, I’m definitely on the slower end of the time goal scale and I’m not sure this has been fully taken into account. It seems to me that when you can select a time goal of 1:32 to 2:40, having a fixed longest run of two hours is not sufficient. My time goal is currently set to 2:30, though I expect to be needing a little longer as that. 

I’ve decided to plan an extra long run somewhere in the next three weeks of approximately 17K. I believe both my body and mind will be ready then. 


And that concludes week 9 of my half marathon training plan. Only 6 weeks to go and I’ll be at the start of my first half marathon. I’m mostly just excited about that, no crazy doubts yet. I’m also slowly trying to figure out the logistics of this race. The race is pretty much on the other side of the country (small country though), so my options are going by car or public transport from home, from my mom’s home (halfway point) or finding a hotel in the area (bit too late for that according to 

Next week I’m planning a small taper, because I’ll be doing another race on January 5th: Genneper Parken Loop Eindhoven, 10K. 

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