This past week was #15 of training for the local 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.
I did it! I survived my peak week, earning two new PRs: highest weekday mileage (10) and highest weekly mileage (47.2). I spent 9 hours and 41 minutes running!
Oh, the Emotions
I ended the week swirling with emotions. I’m proud that I ran more miles in a week than ever before and finished the toughest part of training. But I’m a little sad that getting it done wasn’t pretty, and a little worried about how much I struggled this week. I’m happy to be done with the toughest part and to be so close to the end of this training cycle, but I know I’ll be sad to see the end of my training come to an end. I’m getting excited about the race and the chance to put all this training into practice, but I’m anxious about racing on such a hilly course, which will be a first for me since all the runs and races I’ve done on this course have been training runs. The biggie is that I’m starting to worry about whether I can actually do the marathon version of this plan. The beginner plan has 10 weeks between 46 and 57 miles. After this 47-mile week, I feel completely worn down. I can’t imagine being able to do 10 weeks of this and higher mileage. Granted, this was the last week of hard training in the plan, and feeling fatigued is exactly what I should be feeling. But I just have no way of knowing whether I’ll be able to adjust and do so many weeks of mileage like this. Lots to think about, but first I have just two more weeks of training. The goal of these two weeks is to rest and recover from the last 15 weeks of training and to keep my fitness so that I’m recovered but primed for race day. I have just two workouts on Tuesday and Thursday at reduced mileage, with easy runs making up the rest of the schedule.
Nutrition & Splurges
I haven’t talked about nutrition at all this training cycle. I spent a lot of time over the past two years learning what works for me for race and long run fueling and hydration, and now that I have it figured out I don’t put much thought into it. Still, I’ll be posting an update on what works for me for fueling and hydration. One interesting thing is that I’ve eaten better this training cycle than in any other. I significantly reduced my sugar consumption at the beginning of the year and now eat dates instead of candy or cookies if I want a treat. I did eat Twizzlers once and had a coookie or small piece of candy a handful of times over the last two months, but that’s it. (I’ll be doing a separate post about this, but I noticed absolutely nothing different from reducing sugar!) I also eliminated the junk food-y things I have on occasion like storebought vegan cheese and lunchmeat. Well, this week I decided to treat myself. After two months of eating very little sugar and processed foods, I splurged on a few things. One was Maple French Toast Bagels. I usually only eat whole wheat bagels, so I thought this would be a great treat. But they actually weren’t very good–they smelled better than they tasted. The second was a big splurge dinner after my last long run on Saturday. There’s a pizza place near us (Spak Brothers) that makes vegan versions of everything. I got vegan pizza with vegan sausage and onions, vegan breadsticks, and a seitan melt–a meatless version of a steak and cheese hoagie. This is total vegan junk food that I rarely eat, so it was definitely a huge treat!
One last thing before I get to the recap: Our home computer has died. All of my pictures from the week are on there, and I have no way to get them. So, this will be a picture-less post. 🙁
Week at a Glance
- Days running: 6
- Miles this week: 47.2
- Miles this training cycle: 543.84
- Miles this month: 84.2
- Miles this year: 412.62
- Time running: 9 hours, 41 minutes
- Strength training sessions: 0
- Stretching: 6 days
- Foam rolling: 4 days
Strength Workout: 10 miles | 1:55:56 (Started at 43 degrees and ended at 62)
I switched my strength workout to Monday since I took the day off work. I can switch workouts only if I have an easy or rest day between hard workouts. Because Sunday is an easy day and Wednesday is a rest day, I can switch Monday and Tuesday if I need to. Since I had the day off, I slept in and got a late start, which was a mistake. The sun was high and bright, which made this tough run even more difficult. I had 4 x 1.5-mile repeats at goal 10:30 pace. Splits were 10:24, 10:24, 10:26, 10:37. The rest of the mileage was warm-up, recovery, and cool-down. I felt really drained afterward; I think running so long in the sun really zapped me.
Easy Run: 7.2 miles | 1:34:13 | 13:05 pace (52 degrees)
I learned the hard way that even though the temps may be warm, the breeze coming off the river is still frigid. This was the first run ever where I actually had to go home and change into something warmer after a few miles. I was freezing! This felt pretty tough for an easy run, likely because of the previous day’s hard workout. The extra .2 is only because I miscalculated my turnaround point.
Rest day! Again, I took a complete day of rest, with no strength or even stretching or foam rolling.
Tempo run: 8 miles | 1:33 | 11:37 pace (59 degrees and raining)
I forgot to drink my juice with spirulina powder before this run, and I was completely out of Salt Sticks. The warm temps hit me almost immediately, and I still didn’t feel rested from Monday and Tuesday’s runs. All of this made this run really tough. I was exhausted and felt like I had no energy. I was supposed to do 6 miles at goal pace 10:40 but only did 5. Plus, I stopped for a minute after each mile, which I never do. Splits: 10:39, 10:42, 10:49, 10:44, 10:45. This run left my confidence at hitting my goal pace shaken. In retrospect, I wasn’t too far off my goal pace even with so many things against me. Plus, I see it as a good exercise in adjusting my pace due to warm temps, which I may very likely have to do on race day given how warm it’s been this month.
Easy run: 4 miles | 52:58 | 13:15 pace (41 degrees)
My legs were just dead. This whole run felt like running through concrete. I had 5 miles on the schedule but only had 4 in me.
Long run: 12 miles | 2:27:46 | 12:19 pace (34-52 degrees)
I was excited for my last long run. My plan was to run 4 before meeting Anna for the last 8. It was very cold when I started. I had on a longsleeve winter running top and gloves (so sad I have no pictures!). The sun came out and heated everything quickly so that at the end of my 4 miles I was so hot I felt like I was dying. I got back to my car to meet Anna and changed into a lighter top that I’m happy I brought. We headed back out, and it wasn’t long before I felt like I was just disintegrating. I still was out of Salt Sticks (I missed Amazon’s delivery the day before–ugh!) so was sucking down the Nuun so much that I ran out of it well before the end of the run. I remember hitting 6 miles and thinking there was no way I could complete the run. My goal long run pace of 11:56 went out the window, and I just struggled to keep running. I actually started taking walk breaks at the beginning of each mile–something that I never do–which made me feel even worse. We would be passing our cars at mile 9, and I told Anna I might have to stop. Thank God for running buddies. Anna was so nice at walking when I needed to walk and just talking to take my mind off everything. When we got to mile 9 I committed to 1 more mile. Then I knew we’d only need to go another .5 miles before we could turn around. Somehow, I made it all 12 miles, but I know if I weren’t running with Anna I’d have given up earlier. I was so grateful she was with me!
I crashed hard after I got home, ate, and showered. The nap really helped, though, because we were able to take the dog on a nice long walk in the afternoon. It was a glorious 70 degrees but cloudy so it didn’t feel too hot (where were the clouds when I was running?), so it was perfect.
Easy run: 6 miles | 1:17:14 | 12:52 pace (54 degrees)
I woke up feeling like I hadn’t slept at all. I was so exhausted and had no idea how I’d be able to do this run. But I was committed to doing it because I wanted to finish my peak week as strong as possible. I waited until the rain stopped and headed out later in the morning. The first two miles felt like I was torturing myself. My legs were so dead and tired. Even my ankles were tired. But then after two miles my body miraculously started feeling better, I got into a groove, and I finished the run feeling pretty good.
And now, it’s all downhill from here! Until race day. When it will be up and down and up and down on the hilly course…but I’m happy to have some easier runs in my future before then.