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Road to my first half marathon – Week 1

Here we go again! I presented my plan for the coming four months last week and it will end with my very first half marathon. This week is the first week of training. I took one week completely off of running after my 10K race and took it easy for the week after. I’m ready to start training again! My training will be done via Garmin Coach, just like before. I’ve set it up with Coach Greg and a time goal of 2:40. I prefer training with a time goal, because it gives me pace goals instead of just saying “run fast”. But, my goal is just to finish the race. That will be enough of a challenge. 

I’ve made some changes in my workout schedule to fit everything in a little better. Previously I was running on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday and had my aquapower sessions on Monday. My weekday runs start at approximately 6:15 and the aquapower sessions usually have me home by 22:00 (and not able to sleep until at least 23:00). This led to me waking up for my run on Tuesday morning tired and hungry. Last week aquapower was moved to Wednesday and on Saturday I went for a spontaneous 40K cycling tour. That meant I was working out every day from Tuesday until Saturday and somehow my long run on Sunday didn’t happen. 

As of this week, I’ll be running on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Aquapower remains on Monday evening. That leaves room for sudden changes in the aquapower schedule and spontaneous bike trips. Let’s see how it all works out. 

Benchmark run

Today the temperature suddenly dropped by 10 degrees to 2°C. For me that means long tights, long sleeves, gloves and something to cover my ears. 

This will be my 5th benchmark run and the data is interesting. Today’s benchmark was almost 1 min/km faster as the first benchmark I did 10 months ago, both were done under similar conditions (cold!). This helped me remember that I’m really not a summer runner and my best runs happen when it’s below 5°C. Training through the summer definitely helped me get fitter, but the lower temperatures this week showed exactly how much fitter. 

January 15th: 7:15 min/km, 0,69 km
May 2nd: 6:37 min/km, 0,76 km
May 31st: 6:38 min/km, 0,75 km
September 25th: 6:31 min/km, 0,77 km
October 28th: 6:17 min/km, 0,80 km
 
I love winter running and it’s not even winter yet. 

I added a little extra and ended the run at 4K at an average pace of 7:49 min/km. 

Easy run

Coach Greg is going easy on me. Building a base. The first week consists of only easy runs of 30 minutes and one easy run of 50 minutes. Yeah, sorry Greg, that’s not happening. I have a 15K race in 5 weeks and this won’t get me there! Today I set out to do at least 40 minutes, but somehow I was home after 35 minutes. I need to find some different routes, because my current one is great for speed work, but is boring me for the slow and easy runs. I ran 4,28 km at an average pace of 8:14 min/km. 

The clock was moved one hour back last weekend due to daylight saving time and that means I’m getting about two weeks of extra sunrise runs before I’ll be running completely in the dark again. Loving the view!

Progression run

The plan said another 30 minute easy run. I said no. I set up a random route via Garmin Courses to give me a less boring route. It was supposed to be 5,5K, but in reality it turned out to be a little less as 5K. The route takes me straight through the town’s city center and alongside some busy roads filled with people on their way to work. I’m also crossing these roads at least twice. I’m seeing some improvement possibilities here, but the goal of today’s run was to run a route I wouldn’t normally do and that’s what happened.

Somehow I kept running faster and instead of forcing myself to slow down I decided to just go with it and turn this run into a progression run. Coach Greg already set up the laps for me: 

warm-up 5 minutes: 8:27 min/km
run 10 minutes: 8:07 min/km
run 10 minutes: 7:53 min/km
cool down: 7:07 min/km
extra run: 8:01 min/km

This was an unplanned, but definitely fun run. 

Long run

Today Coach Greg has planned a 50 minute run for me, but that’s not going to work for me. I planned my normal 8-10K route with a small adaption making it approximately 11,5K and slightly more challenging. Since I’m preparing for a bridge run in December and a hilly half marathon in February, I figured I needed some elevation. My usual route has 2 bridges to cross over a highway, I decided to cross both bridges twice today. Go up, go down, turn around, go up again, down again, turn around, go up, go down and continue the route. The last bridge is in the final 2K of the route, great workout on tired legs. It’s not the same as one big bridge, but it’s something. I slowed down on the uphills and used to downhills to regain some speed without much extra efforts. Smaller steps, quicker movement. Not sure if I got it all right, but it felt good. 

The run turned out to be 10,8K at an average pace of 8:16 min/km. 

 

Summary

The first week of my second half marathon training plan is finished and so far it’s looking good. The colder temperatures are definitely doing me good  and Coach Greg has a bit more exciting stuff planned for me next week. One week down, thirteen to go. 

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