Chi Town Half Marathon Training Week 2

Sunday, January 20: 35 minutes cross training (yoga)
This one:

Technically that was 37 minutes, but whatever. Close enough for me. I had a crazy schedule on Sunday, so it was a lot simpler to do yoga at home than take the time to go to the gym (and work out at the gym). Hopefully next week I’ll be able to hop on the bike for some more cardio-heavy cross training.

Monday, January 21: Strength training – legs (AM) + 2.98 miles in 30:00 for a 10:04 pace (PM)
Monday morning did not get off to a good start. The first thing I do when I wake up on gym mornings is check the bus’s arrival time, since I get up with exactly enough time to get ready and head out the door to catch the bus. When I saw it was scheduled to come eight minutes earlier than normal, I knew there was no chance I’d make it, which would delay my arrival to the gym. Then I moved to get out of bed and a weird pain in my side that caused me to fly into a panic, convinced I was on the verge of death (this is my usual reaction to any unexpected feeling in my body). I ultimately decided to go to the gym anyway and see what happened, particularly since I didn’t have any other concerning symptoms (nausea, vomiting, fever, etc.). I was so late to the gym based on the bus schedule/side pain panic, though, that I ended up skipping the entire last third of my workout and all the planks I was supposed to do between single leg deadlift sets.

Due to my schedule/the sidewalks, I swapped Wednesday’s workout for Monday’s and did a 30 minute tempo run on the treadmill after work. My tempo runs done by time will all be Hal Higdon-style, as I call them (gradually increasing to a fast pace held for five to 10 minutes, then gradually decreasing to a slower pace). My goal for this was to do five minutes at an 11:00ish pace, five minutes at a 10:00ish pace, 10 minutes at a 9:00ish pace, and then come back down (five at 10:00ish, five at 11:00ish). The treadmill, however, sabotaged my plans! Five minutes into my intended 9:00 pace, the treadmill dropped me down from 6.6 mph to 6.5 mph. I suppose it’s possible I did something to make this happen, but I can’t imagine how I would’ve dialed the speed down a tenth of a mile per hour without noticing. I ended up doing five minutes at 6.6 mph, 4:30 at 6.5 mph and then, upon realizing my error, :30 at 6.6 mph before dropping down to 6.0 (10:00 pace) for the down side of this tempo pyramid. I discovered that Hal Higdon-style tempo runs are far more tolerable on the treadmill than normal tempo runs, so that was nice.

Tuesday, January 22: Dance
We reviewed everything we did the week before, thank goodness. I had forgotten most of the second half of the choreography and needed a refresher. I also talked to my friend who’s been in class as long as I have about how this choreography was different than what we learned last time,. It turns out this is to a different part of the same song, hence the different dance. That’ll do it!

Wednesday, January 23: Strength training – upper body (AM) + 4.5 miles (with four hill repeats) in 48:19 for a 10:44 pace (PM)
Normally I do my upper body strength training on Tuesdays, but since I had my biometric screening at 11 and wouldn’t be able to eat until it was over, I didn’t want to do anything that could make me hungrier than I was in the first place. So I waited until Wednesday, even though I always have late nights on Tuesday. This workout was pretty high rep (15, rather than the usual 10-12), so I couldn’t lift quite as heavy as I wanted to. That being said, I lifted for longer than usual, so I assume it all evens out.

My run on Wednesday was totally different than I expected it to be when I wrote my training plan. I intended to do six miles with four hill repeats, but that assumed I was going to run to my normal hill where I do repeats, which is a couple miles away. Due to the perpetually icy sidewalks, I was relegated to the treadmill. I had extremely limited interest in doing more than two warmup and cooldown miles on the treadmill, since don’t need to get to the hills on the treadmill: they’re available whenever I want to change the incline. Because of that, I decided to cut this run down to 4.5 miles for the sake of my sanity and up Thursday’s planned three miler to 4.5 miles as well, which all told added up to the nine I wanted to do across those two runs anyway.

In a predictable turn of events, I did my math wrong and warmed up longer than necessary (1.75 miles). I then did four hill repeats, with .25 miles at a 3 percent incline followed by .25 miles at a 1 percent incline (my normal incline setting on the treadmill). After that, I cooled down for a mile.

Thursday, January 24: Strength training – legs (AM) + 4.5 miles in 51:01 for an 11:20 pace (PM)
I had squats on my schedule Thursday morning, which always makes me a little nervous due to equipment availability. Thankfully, the gym was basically empty, so I had no trouble using the rack and getting in the rest of my workout.

Another day, another treadmill run. I thought this was going to be a disaster. The music in the gym was so loud that I could barely hear the podcast I was trying to listen to, which caused some serious mental fatigue. My #1 problem with podcasts is that I can only listen to them when I’m doing something mindless (folding laundry, running on the treadmill), because if I need to be able to focus on what the host says. Unsurprisingly, when you can barely hear what the host is saying, it becomes really hard to focus! My headphones were almost dead anyway, so I gave up about two and a half miles into my run and tried to convince myself that enduring this would help me build the mental stamina I’ll need to not throw in the towel when the going gets tough during my half marathon.

And then, a breakthrough.

It occurred to me that years ago, I had commented a blog post where the blogger mentioned reading on the treadmill. I couldn’t comprehend how she could do that. I found the bouncing of running (even of elliptical-ing) makes reading next to impossible. She responded that she had a Kindle, so she could bump the font size up, which made it possible to read on the run. I wondered if Libby had similar functionality, and lo and behold, it does!! GUYS. I CAN READ ON THE TREADMILL. ALL OF MY PROBLEMS HAVE BEEN SOLVED!!!!

I’m not being dramatic when I say this has changed everything about treadmill running. I know my entire problem with the treadmill stems from the fact that I find it so crushingly boring. I can do interval-y workouts on the treadmill just fine, because I rarely stay at the same pace for more than a few minutes. I spend the whole time staring at the screen, sure, but there’s a big difference between staring at the screen waiting for it to go from one quarter mile to the next so I can change my pace/incline and staring at the screen willing 1.12 miles to magically turn into 4.50 miles so I can stop running. Nothing–not the TV, not music, not podcasts, not even audiobooks–provided enough distraction to keep me from starting at that damn odometer, wondering how half a mile outside breezes by but half a mile on the treadmill feels interminable.

But reading a book does! Reading keeps my mind off the odometer, but most critically, it keeps my eyes off the odometer. I’ve found that distances tick by a lot faster both inside and outside when you’re not glued to your distance tracking device, be that your treadmill’s odometer or your GPS watch. I rarely have a problem keeping my eyes off my watch, but now that I’ve found a successful way to keep it off the treadmill odometer, I think I might be able to survive the rest of this training! Woohoo!

Friday, January 25: Rest

Saturday, January 26: 7 miles in 1:19:00 for an 11:17 pace
Woo indoor running! 😐 The temperature was ridiculous and the sidewalks were still dangerous, so despite the bright and shining sunshine, I took my run inside. Again. Instead of going to my gym, I bought a guest pass to one closer to my house (my gym being convenient when I’m on my way to or from work, but not convenient at other times, like Saturdays. This gym is on my way to nowhere, but it’s closer to my house than my normal gym, so I decided the price of the guest pass was worth it.). This gym happened to have the same treadmills my gym has, which was a nice surprise – no learning curve on that front. I have such a hard time guessing what’s a “good” pace for treadmill running, so I went conservative and did 5.4 mph on a 1.0 incline. Once the treadmill timed out at an hour, (5.39 miles into my run, which makes sense, given the whole 5.4 mph thing) I went upstairs and finished the remaining 1.6 miles I had on the indoor track. It was 13.8 laps to a mile, which seemed like it’d be really difficult to monitor since the track didn’t have any markings indicating where .8 of a lap finished, but I had my Garmin on, so I was fine. Or at least fine enough. I certainly would’ve preferred to do this outdoors, but I’m glad I got the miles in regardless.


2 thoughts on “Chi Town Half Marathon Training Week 2

  1. I had thought you were doing that F3 half marathon this weekend? Did I miss where you announced you decided not to do it?

    Anyway, good job getting the work done this week. It was rough out there. I was nodding right along with all your mentions of having to move things around, adjust/cut short workouts, etc. Ugh. I feel like a moron complaining about getting a midwestern winter while living in the midwest, but it is so frustrating trying to train and live a normal life in this weather. Yesterday, my work closed for a snow day – for the first time ever in over SIX YEARS that I’ve worked there. I get that this stuff happens but it just seems like it will not end!! Every time it finally gets better, it snows or drops below 0 again! Arrrrgghh!

    I don’t think I could read on the treadmill even with enormous font. I once tried to watch a TV show on a tablet on the treadmill and the bouncing was so bad I couldn’t. I really don’t know how people read while running!

    • Whoops! Nope, I never signed up for it. I thought about making it my goal race at one point, but ultimately decided against it. I also considered running it as a time trial, but decided to not do that, either, because I wouldn’t really have time to get my long run up to 13.1 miles before race day, and it didn’t seem like a very effective time trial if I couldn’t run that distance comfortably anyway, ha.

      I know we live in the Midwest, but this definitely isn’t normal for us! Or at least it doesn’t feel normal to me. I can’t believe you had a snow day!! My office told us to work from home if we can tomorrow (I can, thankfully), but we’ll still be open. SO much is closed in Chicago tomorrow, though. Tomorrow’s going to be no joke! I’m not even venturing out to the treadmill tomorrow!

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