Chi Town Half Marathon Training Week 1

Sunday, January 13: 30 minutes cross training (yoga)
This one:

I’m being a little less prescriptive about my cross training for this cycle. Ideally, I’d like to bike (or elliptical, or otherwise engage in some sort of cardio) for my cross training, but sometimes that’s not feasible–and sometimes, I just need yoga. Sunday was one of those days.

Monday, January 14: Strength training – legs (AM) + 4.25 miles (tempo) in 43:08 for a 10:09 pace
I more or less kept up with strength training after the marathon ended, but now that I’m officially training, I’m no longer considering strength training to be “strongly recommended, but technically optional.” So I went to the gym Monday morning for a pretty simple leg workout.

I made my much-dreaded return to the treadmill Monday afternoon. Since so many people in my neighborhood seem to think that shoveling their sidewalks is someone else’s responsibility, I didn’t feel comfortable trying to go for a run outside, and I especially didn’t feel comfortable trying to do a workout outside. Thus, the treadmill. It was pretty miserable, I won’t lie. Spending your entire run staring at your distance, acutely aware of how much longer you have to run, is wildly unpleasant. (And since, at least as far as I can tell so far, you can’t program workouts into the treadmill, I don’t have much of a choice but to keep an eye on my distance so I can adjust my speed accordingly.) I survived, and actually felt like I got in a great workout, but I wish it weren’t so soul-crushingly boring. I did this tempo run as a “normal” tempo run (i.e.: warm up for a mile, 2.25 miles at tempo pace, cool down for a mile) as opposed to a Hal Higdon tempo run (gradually increase speed to the middle of your run, hold that pace for 5-10 minutes, gradually decrease speed to the end of your run). I thought I was being ambitious with my tempo pace (9:30), but I held on just fine, which was very encouraging.

Tuesday, January 15: Strength training – upper body (AM) + dance
My third trip to the gym in 24 hours! I’m not actually working out any more than I was during marathon season, but when I trained for the marathon, I ran outside on Mondays and had a change of scenery. It was weird to go to the gym so many times in a row. I got in a great upper body workout, but I lifted heavier than usual on some of them, so I anticipate I’ll be sore tomorrow.

Dance was NUTS. After telling us last week that we’d only learn two songs this session, we dove head first into new choreography in class on Tuesday. This was only the second class of the session, one we usually spend reviewing what we learned the week before, so I was surprised 1) that we were already learning something new and 2) how quickly my teacher was blowing through the choreography. Class was non-stop, and I was really impressed that the new people were able to keep up at all. Incidentally, I’ve learned choreography to this song before (from the same teacher), but the choreography is completely different than what we learned the first time (“the first time” being April 2013.)

Wednesday, January 16: 4 miles (with 5×400 w/ 200 rest) in 40:50 for a 10:12 pace
(Side note: I have such a hard time remember to type “January” instead of “June” on these things, because I’ve never tracked my training like this outside of marathon training!)

I decided that I’m only going to do speedwork outside if I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can do it all on non-icy sidewalks. Since I didn’t have that guarantee on Wednesday, it was back to the ‘mill. I found this workout to be a lot more tolerable than the tempo run I did on Monday, because I barely had time to settle into a pace before needing to speed up or slow down during those 400s. It’s hard to get bored in that situation!

The treadmills at the gym can switch between displaying your distance in miles or kilometers mid-workout, so I ran a warmup mile, then changed the display to kilometers, since it’s easier to keep track of 200s from the kilometer view than mile view (200 meters is .124 miles, but the treadmill display only goes to the second decimal (i.e.: 1.25), so it just seemed a lot simpler to do it in kilometers). What I did not consider, nor realize until I switched from miles to kilometers for the first time, was that all the metrics would change to kilometers, including my speed. No longer did the treadmill tell me my minute/mile and mile/hour pace: instead, it showed me my time in minute/kilometer and kilometers/hour. Believe it or not, I’m pretty unfamiliar with my minute/kilometer and kilometer/hour paces, haha. I switched back to miles for a second to determine that my recovery pace (11:06 minutes/mile) translated to 8.7 km/hour, and my 400 pace (roughly 8:00 minutes/mile) translated to 11.9 km/hour. Good to know for the future! It also took me to figure out how to efficiently move from one pace to the other. The treadmill has a function that allows you to jump to your last pace (so when I was running 11.9 km/hour, I could tap the screen to immediately drop down to 8.7), but you had to hit it just right to get it to work, and it took me until my fifth interval to figure out what “just right” was. But I got it, and now I’ll know how to use it next time.

Thursday, January 17: Strength training – legs (AM) + 3.01 miles in 34:10 for an 11:22 pace
I had a hard time getting up Thursday morning, and kind of wanted to just curl up in the locker room and nap through my workout time instead of, you know, working out. But that seemed both uncomfortable and generally frowned upon, so I drug myself out to the gym. I thought I was being really badass and lifting heavier than ever before on all the exercises for the day, until I consulted my lifting PR spreadsheet halfway through and realized in fact I was lifting lighter than any of my PRs. Fail. I was lifting heavier than I’ve lifted in a while, though, so I figure that’s something.

While I’ve been a tried-and-true three-days-of-running-per-week runner basically since I started running in 2011, since I’m trying to do something I’ve never done before (i.e.: run a half marathon in under two hours), I’m training like I’ve never trained before, and thus will be running four days a week rather than three for two-thirds of this cycle (I’m doing two weeks of four days followed by one week of three days). I’ve mostly avoided four days of running per week because it’s always felt like too much, so if I’m going to do that this time around, I want to be sure to take my extra run very easy. That’s certainly what happened on Thursday!

Friday, January 18: 6 miles in 1:06:20 for an 11:03 pace
The forecast had threatened a Friday night/Saturday morning winter storm all week, so I decided to switch my long run from Saturday morning to Friday afternoon. Six miles isn’t too overwhelming of a distance, and I needed to be in the suburbs early Saturday afternoon, so getting it done on Friday seemed like it would make Saturday a lot easier. It was really cold, and the wind was biting, but the sidewalks were (relatively) clear. When I left for the suburbs Saturday morning around 10 a.m., most of the sidewalks around me hadn’t even been shoveled yet, so I feel like I made the right decision. Running through five-ish inches of unshoveled snow wouldn’t have been much fun!

Saturday, January 19: Rest



2 thoughts on “Chi Town Half Marathon Training Week 1

  1. I am glad you got your LR in before the storm hit! And I am glad to see you are dedicated to strength again. Yay!

    I was going to ask about your tempo pace! I found doing tempos to be so helpful for my last HM PR. It really put me in a good mindset at the race too, cause I knew I’d done the pace in training! Will your tempos go down to 9:09 pace? Yay for 9:30 feeling comfortable!!!

    • That’s definitely the goal! I wanted to start somewhat conservatively, since I haven’t done a “real” tempo run in so long, so I could see how it would go. And it went well, yay! During my Hal Higdon-style tempo run this past Monday, I did 10 minutes at a 9:00ish pace, so hopefully I’ll be able to get my “real” tempos in that range, too.

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