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Road to my first half marathon – Week 3

Week 3 of the road to my first half marathon includes my first skipped run of this plan, intervals in a foreign country and a trail run that didn’t exactly go as planned. 

Easy run

I was not feeling very energized after Sunday’s long run, followed by a long day with several hours of driving. On Sunday evening as I got home at 22:00 I decided I would skip this run and get a little extra sleep. This way I could still go to my aquapower session in the evening. But, that also didn’t happen. Next week, I promise.

Speed repeats

Those of you that follow me on Instagram or Facebook have seen already that I went for a run in Paris this week. My work brought me here for three days and that means my running shoes get a little change of scenery. Coach Greg didn’t really care, he wanted speed repeats, so that’s what I gave him.

The plan: six times 1 minute intervals at a pace of 6:51 – 7:03 min/km followed by six times 30 second intervals at a 6:14 – 6:26 min/km pace.
The execution:

1 minute intervals
1. 6:22 min/km
2. 5:46 min/km
3. 5:22 min/km
4. 5:04 min/km
5. 5:13 min/km
6. 5:49 min/km

30 second intervals
1. 14:07 min/km
2. 5:33 min/km
3. 5:46 min/km
4. 5:02 min/km
5. 5:12 min/km
6. 5:10 min/km

That’s 12 intervals and none of them are within the range set by Coach Greg. Is that a bad thing? Should I be doing this a little slower? I know it’s better to run each interval a little faster as the previous one (yup, that failed) and for that I would need to slow down a little. But, I can’t imagine it would be a better workout if I’d do these speed repeats at the suggested paces. It’s supposed to challenge me, right? 

The first of the 30 second repeats seems like I was just walking, but I was actually running up stairs to cross the canal. And stopped to take a picture, see the cover photo of this blog post. 

Running in Paris is always interesting. You can always find fellow runners on these paths beside the canal, just don’t expect them to acknowledge your existence. Where I’m from, runners greet each other, or nod at each other, maybe even wave at each other. I’ve never experienced that in any of my Paris runs and there have been some. In the beginning I tried “Bonjour!”, then “bonjour..”, I tried smiling, nodding. I gave up. The most I ever got back was a confused or disturbed look. I still try to make eyecontact out of pure habit though, they must think I’m a little bit crazy. 

Another ‘interesting’ thing about Paris and maybe just this specific part of Paris are the smells. I try not to breathe when I run under the bridges, because it usually smells like a toilet. On certain days (luckily not today), there is a fish market setting up right next to the canal. That’s a long time to not breathe! I’m not sure what caused today’s smells, but it can be best described as the smell of food that has been rotting away for 30 days. I almost puked, twice. 

But, I feel blessed to be able to run these Paris roads and I will return. Who recognizes the location?

Progression run

Today Coach Greg’s want me to do a progression run. A 5 minute warm-up, 20 minutes at easy pace (8:12 – 8:49 min/km) and 10 minutes faster as goal pace (6:57 – 7:10 min/km). When my 5:30 alarm went off, all I wanted to do was turn around and go back to sleep. Six hours of travelling the day before definitely made an impact. But, I had already skipped Monday’s run, so I could not convince myself it would be okay to skip today’s run. I got up, got dressed and got out the door.It went a lot better as expected. The first 20 minutes I ran at the faster end of the intended pace: 8:13 min/km and I was able to hold the fast pace during the last 10 minutes very well: 6:52 min/km. Very happy with this result and that I had the strength to get out of bed!

Long easy run

The plan for today is a 100 minute long run, 5 minute warm-up, 60 min easy run, 30 minute optional easy run and a 5 minute cooling down. Well, that was Coach Greg’s plan anyway. My plan was to hit the trails and follow a local MTB route of approximately 14K. I’ve taken my moutainbike along these tracks many times and during the summer I also ran parts of the route often, but I never thought about actually just following the route on foot. 

I thought it was a good idea to put some extra kilometers in my old running shoes. The cushioning is a little gone, but I figured that wouldn’t matter so much as I would be running mostly on soft singletracks anyway. I started off good, I had fun on the trails trying to avoid stepping on tree roots and in the bigger mud pools. A little less fun when I figured out that there was a local cycling club doing a tour in these woods as well. Since they took some different paths as me I kept running in to them, meaning I was jumping out of the way to let them pass. I can imagine if they weren’t too happy with me, but most of them said either good morning or thank you. 

About 4K into my run I realized my shoes were a huge mistake. I don’t know if it’s just because they’re old, I tied them wrong or maybe my sock is just shifted somehow, but I was creating a big, painful blister underneath my left foot. I tried to run through it, I tried to retie my shoe and adjusted my sock a little. It only got worse. At 6K I decided to go home, left the trails, double checked the direction I needed to go in and went home. On my way home I noticed a different, but very familiar pain in my foot. Not good. 

This turned out to be a 8,4K run at an average pace of 8:22 min/km. The blister on my foot is about 2,5 cm long, but not too bad. And the shoes have officially been retired. 

Summary

Not the best week I guess, but these are minor obstacles to be overwon. With three weeks to go until my 15K bridge run, I’m planning a trial run next weekend in which I’ll be going up and down three bigger bridges. I’m getting more and more confident that I’ll be able to conquer those bridges, but next week’s run will definitely help to silence those last doubts. 

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