Half marathon training diary – 37 weeks to go

I’m 3 weeks into my training, 24 weeks left in my training plan and 37 weeks left until the half marathon. 

The first few weeks have been good to give me a bit of an introduction of what’s to come. I’ve also been able to get an idea of what works and doesn’t work, equipment wise, and so there’s been a bit of chopping and changing with what I’m doing. 

Let’s take a look at what I’ve learned so far.

Nike Run Club review

I used the Nike Run Club app to create my training plan, purely because it was an app that I knew that had them, and it integrated with my Apple watch. Simplicity is what won here. The fact that I could customise the plan based on timeframe was great. They also have some awesome looking “guided runs” that I wanted to try in the future (also available to start on the watch).

Nike Run Club logo

However it quickly became apparent that tracking my runs with the app combined with my apple watch was going to be a pain in the ass. I have a Series 2 Nike+ edition of the apple watch, but just because it was NIke+ affiliated meant nothing. The issues I experienced were:

  • Unable to use my watch to run on the treadmill (setting it to “Indoor” mode meant that it didn’t track my distance, because I “hadn’t run outside so it could use the GPS to figure out my strides”; except I had…a while a go no less, but the stats were gone). On that occasion I was forgiving, and figured I’d run outside and track it then. For now I was forced to run with my phone in my hand. The next time I tried after running outside I then experienced the rest of the issues below, and a gross miscalculation of my pace.
  • Using the app outside it was difficult to get my watch to show the run progress (aka it wasn’t connected). If I started the run on my phone it wouldn’t display on the watch. Using my watch to track the run was better, and I had the timer, distance etc.
  • Using the watch only had a major drawback in that I couldn’t start a run from my training plan so I didn’t have the coaching audio the app provides. That was one of the things I was most excited about with the training plan
  • No audio prompts when running during my speed run. There was no “run, recover, run” etc. That meant I would have been forver looking at my watch to check distance and time so that I was start/stopping at the right time. 

Finally, I gave up and went back to my beloved Garmin. 

So long story short – training plans are a massive tick, using the app itself? Hell no. 

My running so far

My running plan so far has looked like the following (grab a coffee – it’s pretty long):

Week 1:

I started my training plan late in the week, which is why there really wasn’t much scheduled for this week.

“Kick it off” easy 10min run to start

Nothing really exciting happened on this run. It was inside on the treadmill. I’m not really positive about the pace since I had to carry my phone and I don’t ever do that with a run, but it said it was an average of 7’13”, and ran 1.4km. 

Week 2:

Bench mark test – 15min run 

This is the run that will be used to track my progress as training continues. This again was on the treadmill (most of my runs will be – they’re at night after the baby goes to bed). It was a pace of 7’27” and distance of 2.02km. 

To be honest I was proud that at this stage I’m already running 15mins continuously – my fitness is better than I expected.

Recovery run

I don’t really remember much about this one – I’m going to have to take better notes! It’s got me down for 3.03km with an average pace of 9’55”. It feels like I might have just been doing a 30min power walk on the treadmill. It was only meant to be a 10min recovery run based on the app, including warm up and cool down.

Long Run

The schedule had my “long run” at 20min, which makes me giggle given that by the end of this plan I’ll be running for about 2.5hrs (if not more). My watch totally miscalculated my pace for this one, which really pissed me off, and was the start of my frustration with the Nike+ app. This was a run I’d started from my watch indoors. Apparently my pace was 6’12”, which there is no way I was running at that speed. When I did my speed drills on the treadmill the following week using my Garmin it had a much more accurate high 6’s for my speed runs, and I was knackered for those. So to hold a 6’12? Impossible. But it had me at 6’12” running 3.21km in 20mins. Yeahhhh….unlikely. The run felt good though.

Recovery run

Another recovery run for 10mins. My hubby was away for the weekend so I had to wait until the baby was in bed, and by the time I had eaten dinner, finished the housework and had time to run it was late. I did the 10mins, showered and went straight to bed. According to my watch it was a pace of 6’24” and 1.74km. Still extremely unlikely that was my pace. 

Week 3

Welcome to the week that I gave up and started with my garmin!

Tempo run

To explain a tempo run (from the Nike+ Run Club Running terms page):

Tempo is a hard but controlled pace that can be run as long intervals or a steady run of 1-16 kilometres. The purpose of a Tempo Run is to build mental and physical endurance and to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I did this one outside one afternoon after my hubby got home and took the bub. It was hard, and because it was using GPS I trusted the pace more. I was knackered after this one. This run I was extremely pissed off too, because it’s where I was struggling to get the watch to connect with the phone app, and then when trying to use the app by itself for whatever reason the music playing on Spotify wouldn’t play when the app was open (probably just something to do with background app refresh or the Nike+ app trying to control music, but I was just too annoyed to do anything about it).

The first tempo run for the plan was only going to last for 7mins, so I did a 10min power walk to warm up before getting started. After the 7mins I had a pace of 6’51” and distance of 1.02km. It put it into perspective with the pace from the earlier runs on the treadmill. I mean, I get that treadmill makes it easier because the ground is moving for you, but there’s no way that it’s that much easier. Nice to get a new benchmark to use for future tempo runs though.

Recovery run

Hellooooo my swap to Garmin, and my ability to get nice pretty pictures now for a recap!

Garmin treadmill run 14-11-18

It’s a 10min recovery run, but it was broken down into a warm up/run/cool down. For recovery runs I’m not too fussed about the pace/distance etc. For other runs I’ll be splitting them up into individual runs though so that I can specifically track my pace to compare it against the past. That way I can see my improvements (hopefully, I’ll be disappointed if I go backwards)

Speed run

I was scared about this one haha. Here’s the definition of speed runs.

The best way to improve your fastest pace is to work on it for brief periods in a series of speed intervals. They can be the same length and pace with the same amount of recovery time, or can involve various distances, paces and recovery
periods. Long intervals, Fartlek, Tempo and Hill Runs are all Speed workouts. 

This one in particular was intervals, doing 400m speed and 2min recovery.

I ended up doing this workout a day late due to a really crappy sleep the night before. I had been up every 20mins or so until midnight, and then finally got a 4 hour stretch before the bub woke up at 4am. I suspected it was teething, and sure enough just this weekend we’ve spotted a molar that’s made its way through, so that explains that!

I thought I screwed up on this workout too by forgetting to separate the warm up (I’d split the cool down part of it). Except when I went to upload the image just now I realised there actually was a cool down in there. Whoops. I did an extra 5mins walk on the treadmill after this then 🙂 

So, some interesting stats for the stats nerds like me (click on the image to view full-size).

Splits speed run 151118

Speed run pace and heart rate

At the end I enjoyed the workout – it was tough! I tried to increase the speed on the treadmill each rep but maxed out energy-wise in the fourth and had to drop right back. 

Cross train

This afternoon I’ll be doing a strength session using the Nike+ Training Club app (obvious cross promotion with the training plan). I’m looking forward to it, because I definitely need to build some strength back in my body. My upper body is pretty bad, I think I’d be flat out doing a single push up right now!

How my body is holding up

Honestly – pretty good! I’m icing my knee after every run, and the day after I can feel there’s a little bit of discomfort but it’s gone after I walk for a bit. This will come with the territory of getting back into running, carrying some extra weight, and not having done my knee exercises for a while. 

I’ve started trying to incorporate some yoga back into the plan as well on my rest days so that I can stretch my body out. A few years back I did 100km in 1 month and I smashed my hip as a result. I repeated the same injury again when I started training for 10km a few years back. I don’t want to do the same for a third time. I later found out it was due to my posture when I ran and a weakness in my leg. My glutes weren’t firing properly so my hip took the brunt of it. Hence yoga will help stretch everything out, and a combination of watching my posture when I run and consciously engaging my glute muscles should help to avoid it. Also not going too hard too quick – back then I started trying to run every day after not running for a while, very foolish.

The coming weeks

I’ve got another 2 benchmark tests (every fortnight) so that I can compare with the start of my second week. Also my runs will start to become distance-based rather than time based. By the end of week 6 my weekly mileage will in the double digits for the week, not including warm up/cool down. There’s a spread of long runs, speed runs and recovery runs.

Here goes – can’t wait to see how I’m tracking!


Let me know your thoughts!