Half marathon training diary – week 5 (35 weeks to go)

Another 2 weeks down, and some more progress to report in! It’s been an interesting 2 weeks. I had a bit of a slump energy wise during week 4, but I have only missed one workout to so far (which was a cross training work out and not a run). Well, except for tonight, but there’s a reason for that. Kind of related, I also completed my second park run ever and shaved 6mins off my time – wahoo! On the equipment front I’m now parading around with some new shoes.

Let’s take a look.

Week 4

Now that I’m using Garmin it’s so much easier to quickly post a summary pic. I do hate that my training plan on Nike starts on a Monday, but there’s nothing I can do other than suck it up. I don’t know how interested people are in the stats like pace or heart rate, so I’ll just mention them in my summaries of my runs.

Week 4 running schedule:

  • Long run (3km): Above you can see it shows as 3.82km, that’s because it includes my warm up and cool down (5mins walking each time). Overall the 3km was run on the treadmill, and took me 24mins 47 with an average pace of 8:16/km. This felt like a good run, but being on the treadmill it’s always going to be a bit easier than outside. The music helped.
  • Benchmark (15min): I’m not sure what happened on this night. I had been screwing around trying to download workouts onto my watch from Garmin Connect, and it was meant to be a 7min warm up, 3min run as fast as I can on the treadmill and 5min cool down. Instead I accidentally programmed it for a 5min warm up, so instead of doing a 15min run on the treadmill I did 13mins. Whoops. It was my first benchmark using the Garmin too, which is more accurate for my stride than the Apple Watch was. Bearing that in mind for my 3min run I managed 0.59km at a pace of 5:05/km. Yay! The last time I did the benchmark it had my pace in the 6’s and 7’s (on the Apple Watch), so I definitely feel like there’s been some improvement here. The remaining 17mins session that’s on that day was a walk on the treadmill just to achieve a full 30min exercise session for the day.
  • Cross training session: I didn’t end up getting to do this session; we were flat out busy so I thought I would make up for it on the Saturday instead, and before I knew it I had missed it and it’s as time for my next run. Whoops.
  • Recovery run (2km): Once again the time above includes walking to bring it up to a 30min sesh. This was the night I felt extremely sick from something I’d eaten that day, so I felt that if I ran on the treadmill I was going to puke. My friend convinced me that walking was unlikely to make me puke (depending on speed) and any exercise was better than no exercise, so a slow walk on the treadmill it was. It doesn’t do much for my training plan I guess, but I suppose it also truly matches the definition of a “recovery”!

Week 5

This was a better week for me compared to last week. The motivation was back, although in the middle of the week it was a bit full on life-wise so unfortunately I had to rearrange the schedule so there were 3 rest days back-to-back.

When I first saw this week it had the long run scheduled for the end of the week. I organised with friends to do Park Run, since that was 5km and it meant I’d get to run outside. I also organised with my husband to run with our little guy in the pram, since my husband also enjoys the odd run and would love to be included.

Then suddenly Nike “recalculated” my training plan based on the previous week and everything changed. Note to self, don’t count on the schedule until it’s actually that week. Or don’t hit the recalculate button (but I do like the idea of the plan adapting based on my results). As a result the long run was scheduled for the Monday instead, and I was doing a “bonus” 5km on the weekend.

  • Long run (4km): I did this at night on the treadmill, and was so proud of myself for running 4km non-stop. Especially since it was disgustingly hot that night, and my little portable fan couldn’t cut it (ha – spoiler alert, it was way worse the morning I did park run). The point of the long run is to keep it at an easy pace, but my heart rate just wouldn’t stay down. It was a stinking hot night, and I averaged a pace of 8.26/km and a heart rate average of 151 (it’s meant to be about 146bpm).
  • Speed work (6 x 200m sprints with 30 seconds rest): The first time I did intervals I hated it. This time I loved it. I had average sprint paces of the mid 5min/km, with one even being 4:38km (the last one – I bumped it up on the treadmill to see how I’d go). I’m definitely getting a bit more confident with speed work on the treadmill, but it will be interesting to see how I’d cope outside. I’m hoping to get in one of these sessions outside one day soon.
  • Park Run “Recovery run” (1.5km): As you can tell this didn’t turn out to be so much of a recovery run as it was a “let’s see how well I can handle 5km outside, so run as fast as you can handle”. I’m pretty happy with the results, I managed to cut 6mins off my time (I previously managed it in 47min back in August). Of course we had picked the hottest morning in a long time to run the course. It was disgustingly hot. By the time we finished the run (apparently at 7.39am exactly based on that time) it was already 27 degrees, with the apparent temp of 29. I was beetroot red in the face for about an hour afterwards, and ended up getting a headache that afternoon, possibly from dehydration. I only managed to run about 3.5km non-stop before I had to take a walking break – I had a stitch and felt a little dizzy. Given my heart rate had been averaging 160-170, I was definitely dealing with some lactic acid build up. Oh well – no pain no gain right? I need to teach my body what that’s like so it knows how to cope!
  • Tempo run (2.5km): I was meant to do this run today, but I’ve skipped it intentionally. Not because I’m lazy, but because I’m sore. I have sore hips and sore calves from the 5km I ran yesterday. If anything I think this shows that running on the treadmill is not acclimatising me to running properly – it’s all different muscles and the treadmill pulls your legs back for you. Given how tight everything was I didn’t want to overdo it and potentially strain anything, so I decided to take it easy. Instead I’ve been stretching during the day, and straight after this post I’m going to be using the dreaded foam roller. Urgh. That thing is the stuff of nightmares.

New equipment – running shoes!

I don’t remember how long ago I bought my Nikes, but I was unfortunate enough to cop a blister under my big toe during Park Run on Saturday. It was in a weird spot, one that I knew wasn’t caused from rubbing. I had been wondering how much life was left in my shoes, and this confirmed that they were on their way out. I never blister in Nikes (even when brand new) so it was a clear indicator I was going to need some new shoes shortly.

So today became “new shoes” day.

I went to the shops fully intending to walk out with another pair of Nikes; after a lot of trial and error and even some ASICS (which I wrote about here, I didn’t end up loving them) I’ve found that my feet absolutely love Nike Pegasus and Vomero. I think I’ve had at least 3 pairs of the Pegasus models, they’re a favourite.

While I was there, the Adidas Ultraboost caught my eye. I’d heard good things about them from my sister and her partner, and my husband was on his second pair. I randomly decided to give them a go. Before I knew it I had defected from Nike. I don’t even know who I am anymore.

So while I do a bit of soul searching, I find myself with these babies, the Adidas Ultraboost ST W.

I’m looking forward to getting out for a run to see how it feels. So far trying them on it feels a lot more relaxed and natural at the front of the foot. I have quite a wide foot, so I’m intrigued to know if this will make my foot feel more fatigued or not. They’re used to being held in (comfortably) by the Nikes. I’m also especially intrigued by the cushioning, which is apparently pretty amazing and meant to be long-lasting too.

Next week

For the next week I’m up for the following (my Nike app has already adapted the plan so this should be set in stone):
  • Cross training
  • Another benchmark
  • 2.5km recovery
  • 5km long run
After that I’m not too sure – right now it’s saying week 7 consists of a couple of speed sessions and recoveries, but given that’s likely to change I’m not going to quote it just yet.

I’m happy with how my progress is going, but I really do feel like I need to get outdoors more. I want to run during my lunch time at work, but we don’t have showers at work so it means I have to give myself a sponge bath in the bathroom afterwards (otherwise I’ll be sweaty and stinky for the rest of the day – no thanks). Given how hot it’s been lately, running at midday doesn’t sound very smart either. So for the meantime I may still be relegated to treadmill running during the week, or try and get out quickly in the afternoons when my husband gets home from work. There’s an evening running group on Wednesday nights that I’m tempted to join as well, although I’m a bit intimated and would like to get a bit more fit before I do.

As you can see it’s a challenge to fit in the runs, but I’m still absolutely loving it. Running is definitely proving itself to still be my happy place. If it means for now I have to run on the treadmill at nights then so be it. Maybe once I get a bit stronger and fitter I’ll look at running with the pram, and that means I could get out on the days that I’m home with the bub, but right now it’s hard enough to focus on myself while running let alone trying to push some more weight.

5 weeks down, 35 to go. Bring it! See you in another few weeks!

Let me know your thoughts!