Happy Monday! This past week was #12 of training for the Just a Short Run Half Marathon, which will be my 8th half marathon. I’m following the Hansons’ Half Marathon Method for the second time. This past week I realized I messed up when I was adding my training plan to Excel and completely missed a week. Oops. I’ll need to repeat a week of training, and it now means my total training will be 17 rather than 16 weeks.
This past week was pretty much perfect. I think it was a perfect storm of good weather, coming off of a low-mileage week and feeling much less fatigue, and just where I am in training. When I did this plan last summer, I felt stronger and more fit than ever before, and that’s what I’m feeling now. This past week I put in 44 miles and feel like I barely ran. Paces were easy to hit, long run was the fastest pace I’ve ever had for a long run, and easy runs weren’t a struggle. I made sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night and really think that helped. However, all of that was after a low 27.5-mile week. I’m sure these 44 miles will make training a lot tougher this week, but I know that’s the point of this plan, so I’m ready for it!
Week at a Glance
- Days running: 6
- Miles this week: 44
- Miles this training cycle: 411.97
- Miles this month: 116
- Miles this year: 280.75
- Time running: 8 hours, 41 minutes
- Strength training sessions: 3
- Stretching: 7 days
- Foam rolling: 5 days
Strength Workout: 8.5 miles | 1:36:26 (33 degrees)
I took the day off so switched my runs to do my strength workout on Monday instead of Tuesday. Because we’d gotten snow on Sunday, I drove to North Park because I know they keep the roads and running path really clear. North Park is pretty hilly, so I picked the flattest section I could find, which still had some small hills. On the schedule for this run was 2 x 3-mile repeats, the longest repeat length in the pyramid of this plan (I started at 6 x 1-mile repeats). Goal pace was 10:30, 10 seconds faster than race pace, and there was one half-mile recovery between the two repeats. I started with a 1.5-mile warm-up and had no problem hitting my paces for this run. It was a bit monotonous to have to run back and forth on a section of road, but the run went by pretty quickly, and I felt really great. Splits for the first repeat were 10:31, 10:27, 10:29 and for the second were 10:33, 10:40, 10:26. I ended with a half-mile cool-down.
In the evening I did a short 8-minute core workout.
Easy run: 5 miles | 1:02:40 | 12:34 pace (34 degrees)
I woke up to rain so put on my rain gear and headed out. By the time I got to the end of my street, I had nearly fallen a few times because of ice. The rain had turned packed snow into ice, and it was everywhere. It took me forever to walk to the trail because everything was so icy. I hoped the trail was better, but it wasn’t. It was mostly slush, but after running 10 steps and slipping a few times, I had enough and went home.
Because I only had 5 miles to do, I decided to run after work. I’m sure my dog and cats act like everyone’s–they act like they haven’t seen me in a year every day when I come home from work. Django followed my every step as I was getting ready and gave me sad eyes to make me skip this run, but I was strong. And the run wasn’t bad at all. It helped that it gets lighter later, and I didn’t have to run in the dark until the very end.
Rest day! I did 23 minutes of strength training with weights.
Tempo run: 7.5 miles | 1:25:25 (19 degrees feels like 13)
While the weather was warming up during the week, the mornings were still really cold. We’d gotten snow on Wednesday, so the part of the trail that hadn’t been cleared had about an inch of snow, and the part of the trail that had been cleared had a thin layer of ice from snow melting during the day and then freezing at night. Luckily, the forecast changed from 12 degrees to 19 in the morning, which wasn’t bad at all. The schedule called for 6 miles at goal race pace 10:40, but because I didn’t do all 5 the week before, I wanted one more week at 5 before moving to 6. I did a 1.5-mile warm-up and wasn’t successful at finding an ice-free section to run on. My first mile at race pace was slower because I was constantly stopping to walk around icy patches (10:52 split), but I found a workable section after that. Again, it was pretty monotonous to have to run back and forth on a short stretch for so long, but I was happy there was at least that small ice-free section. The rest of the splits were 10:21, 10:37, 10:32, 10:29. The pace didn’t feel tough until the last mile, but I had no problem pushing. I finished with a 1-mile cool-down.
Easy run: 5 miles | 1:04:28 | 12:54 pace (29 degrees)
It was warm all day Thursday, so there was no snow or ice to have to deal with. I used this run to practice the presentation I was going to give at work that morning. That worked out well because giving a whole presentation out loud helped me keep my pace at an easy, conversational level.
Long run: 12 miles | 2:18:57 | 11:35 pace (51 degrees)
I was so excited for this run. It was 50 and sunny when I started, and I was so excited to run without being bundled up from head to toe. I planned to run some miles alone before meeting Jamie to run the last part with me. It’s been a few weeks since I had someone to run with, so I was pretty excited to run with a buddy again. This run felt wonderfully effortless, like my feet had wings. My long run pace is 11:56, and I knew I was going faster when I saw my mile splits pop up on my Garmin. If I was running alone, I would have dialed it back for fear of getting too fatigued later on. But because I was meeting Jamie, I knew that the last miles would be much easier. That’s exactly what happened. I was pretty much on a running high and feeling great. Only in the last 1.5 miles did my legs start to feel a little tired and the hills start to feel a little tough, but talking with Jamie easily carried me through that as I knew it would. The last half-mile my legs started to cry, but I told Jamie and she was there to push me on. She made me imagine I was a half-mile from the finish in my fall marathon, and she motivated me to push and finish strong. This ended up being the fastest long run I’ve ever done in training. Dare I think I’m getting faster? Or was it just the mix of being excited to run, the weather, the spirulina, coming off a low-mileage week, and the stars aligning? Whatever the reason, this was such an awesome run.
After I got back, showered, and ate, Dave and I took Django to Schenley Park, where we walked on the trails for 70 minutes. It was the perfect day–warm, sunny, and just wonderful. It was the kind of day that made me happy to be alive.
When we got back, I changed and we headed out again to Grist House, a craft brewery in Millvale. Jame had invited me that morning and had told me that dogs were allowed. Craft breweries are big in Pittsburgh right now. There are three due to open in my neighborhood alone this year. We thought it might be busy because it was such a nice day, and we were right. It was packed with both people and dogs. I found Jamie and told her I didn’t think we’d be able to stay because I wasn’t sure how Django would do in the crowds. But he ended up doing great. He had a moment where the space was too narrow for him to get through, and a kind woman gave up her seat and moved her stool so he could get through, but after that he just hung out and chilled with the rest of us. He also made many friends. I would be looking away and feel a tug at the leash and turn around to find him fully embedded in another group of people, getting lots of love. The Franktuary food truck was there, so we got hot dogs for all of us–normal dogs for Dave, vegan dogs for me, and a plain, bun-less dog for Django. When we got back, we had our first firepit of the year.
This was the nicest day of the year and it got up to 67 degrees–just one degree from hitting a record–and we took full advantage of it!
Easy run: 6 miles | 1:13:36 | 12:15 pace (40 degree)
It was chilly when I started, but I shed my gloves halfway through when the sun came out. Love this weather so much!
After the run, I did 20 minutes of strength training with weights.
In the afternoon, we took a 3.74-mile walk from our house through the park near us, down to PNC Park, and back on the river trail. It got up to 54 so was chillier, but it was sunny and another gorgeous day. We relaxed around the firepit again when we got home.