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Road to my first half marathon – Week 2

I just finished the second week of training for my first half marathon and I’m still excited!

Let’s start with the bad news, I got an email this week that the first of my upcoming races, Glow Run Eindhoven, has been cancelled. Not enough runners had registered for the race and the organisation said they wouldn’t be able to provide us with the experience we are used of them. Well, okay. This was going to be my first fun run, I guess I’ll need to find a new one. Suggestions are welcome!

I have bought my first foam roller. It’s just about the cheapest one I could find as I wasn’t entirely convinced of it, but so far I’m enjoying this thing. I watched a couple YouTube videos on what exercises I could do and off I went. It now has as a spot next to the couch so I can just pick it up and roll away while watching TV. Maybe I’ll make a separate post on it for my “My first…” category.

Easy run

As of last week I’ve changed up my running schedule and that means today is the first day I run the day after my long run. I planned to ignore my pace completely and focus on just moving my legs and getting out there. Those legs felt heavy. I managed 40 minutes at an average pace of 8:46 min/km and I’m satisfied with that. 

I’m still not completely convinced this is the best solution, but I sure was happy I could ‘sleep in’ Tuesday morning. 

Easy run

Inspired by last week’s new route with Garmin Courses I decided to wander off my normal route a bit. I wandered off a little more and ended up running past my old apartment complex. It has a big stairway with nice wide steps towards an inner square. I looked up and thought “why not?” and up I went, crossed the square, waved at my old front door and down the stairs again. My legs definitely felt that. 

The total run was 40 minutes, as requested by Coach Greg, which I ran at 8:33 min/km. 

Stride repeats

It’s time for another speed workout and I’ve been looking forward to it. The plan says 8 times 20 second sprints focusing on a cadence between 150 and 200 strides per minute (spm). Now, that is a bit vague, but as it’s the first stride repeat workout of this training plan it’ll be used as a base line. The next time stride repeats show up it’ll be more specific and based on today’s results. 

My usual cadence for a normal easy run is about 155 – 160 spm and that doesn’t really go up in races either. I really should be paying a bit more attention to this, because I know I can do better as long as I focus on this. And it definitely helps with my pace, but so far it’s not really happening. 

The first interval of the 8 intervals was actually 40 seconds as I forgot to press the lap button. Oops. 

1. 5:23 min/km, 178 spm
2. 5:31 min/km, 176 spm
3. 5:35 min/km, 180 spm
4. 5:22 min/km, 184 spm
5. 4:53 min/km, 178 spm
6. 4:53 min/km, 186 spm
7. 5:29 min/km, 190 spm
8. 5:18 min/km, 189 spm

I clearly got a little overexcited with number 5 and 6. Even though my pace didn’t improve with each interval, my cadence did for the most part. Happy about that, but how do I sustain this cadence for an entire run? Though 165 – 170 might be a better target given my current cadence. 

Long easy run

It is long run day and I’m still excited. I don’t have a lot of time today, but I’m determined to get in a good training. I set my alarm at 8:30 AM on this Sunday morning, got up, had a small breakfast and noticed my garden had turned white from frost. At least I knew what to wear. 

I planned my normal 10K route and made some adjustments making it approximately 13,5K. In my past experiences, the routes always turned out shorter so I figured this would work well after last week’s 11K. The first 45 minutes of the run went off-road through the woods along most of my favorite spots. Besides me wanting to enjoy my run, I figured this off-road part would tire my legs a little more as a normal asphalt road would. With no hills or major bridges within running distance I have to get a little creative. I do have something planned that will be a little more effective towards training for my Bruggenloop in 4 weeks, more on that later! 

The off-road part was a lot of fun and it distracted me from the long road still ahead of me. At 6K I got bored with my music and decided to try a podcast, but first I had to cross bridge number one. It took a while to find a podcast I could withstand, but the one I finally settled with spend way too much time trying to convince me to follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and become a Patreon. And of course the next button wasn’t working. What is your go-to long run podcast?

This run felt really good. It was like I could simply keep running for hours to come. After 14K I was home and I had finished my longest run ever at an average pace of 8:25 min/km. Yes!

 

Summary
The second week of training is finished and I’m becoming more and more convinced these goals I’ve set out for myself are actually reachable. And that feels pretty good. 

As I’m finishing up this post I’m actually in a train taking me to Paris for a short work-trip. My next run will have a little different surroundings as the cute little village I live in. Looking forward to it!

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