Happy New Year! I’ve been enjoying my long holiday break, but it’s totally messed with my schedule. I’m now used to staying up late and sleeping in. I know going out into the cold, dark early mornings this week when I go back to work is going to be really hard. We had great weather this past week and it looks like it will continue this upcoming week, so at least there’s a silver lining.
My body has different thoughts about this training cycle than my mind does. I decided to do the advanced Hansons Half Marathon Method plan because I’ve done the beginner twice before. Logical, but not what my body seems to be ready for.
This past week I was to start both the speed workouts and the tempo runs at goal half marathon pace. I looked back through my marathon training plan Coach Melissa made for me and saw she eased me into the first speed and tempo workouts with some modifications. I decided to do something similar, but even my planned modifications were too much. I can’t remember the last time I struggled with workouts like I did for these ones. I just couldn’t do them, and I ended up modifying even more.
What happened to me? I looked back through my training logs and realized I haven’t run at my goal 5K pace (about 9:30) since last April. The speed workouts I did in marathon training were slower: 10:14 for 5K pace and 10:40 for 10K. So it makes sense that it’s just been very long since I tried this pace. But then I couldn’t run my tempo run at goal half marathon pace. Granted, I knew my goal pace would be challenging for me, but I couldn’t run it for even a single mile. The slower paces of marathon training are surely partly to blame, as is not having much build-up before jumping right into speed workouts. But there’s another factor, one I haven’t talked about much because I’ve been trying to deny it: I’ve gained weight. I finally got on the scale after not weighing myself since the spring. I’m almost 10 pounds up. 10 pounds! This puts me at the heaviest I’ve been since I originally lost 35 pounds six years ago. I know exactly how it happened, too–I continued to eat like I was running high mileage when I started to taper and then after the marathon too. And now it’s affecting my running.
I don’t feel good about this, but there are ways to fix it. First, I think I need to back off of my paces in training. If I can’t run 9:30s, I can’t run them. But maybe I can shoot for 9:45s (the average pace of this week’s intervals) and just keep working at it to eventually get down to 9:30s. Second, I can continue to modify the speed workouts. There are many more speed workouts in the advanced plan than in the beginner, so I have lots of time to build my fitness and work up to doing the full workouts. Third, I need to lose weight. Luckily, losing and maintaining weight loss is something I know how to do and have been good at. It gets harder as you get older, but I’m confident I can do it. This time I’ll be doing it without Weight Watchers but do plan on tracking on my own with a simple diary. (I tried My Fitness Pal but didn’t like that you had to look up every single thing and couldn’t enter anything manually.) I might try the Racing Weight method of tracking to focus on eating more quality foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins), which is basically how I’ve lost in the past. I’m planning to do at least a monthly post to track my progress on this.
Last week I talked about how I realized the Asics GT-2000 4 were too small for me and were contributing to ankle pain. I’ve been looking online for the old models and saw the GT-2000 5 was just released so I ordered them. I joined Road Runners Sports to take advantage of their generous test drive policy so that I can return them if they don’t work. I’ve worn them once. Hallelujah! I think this remodel fixes all the previous problems! There are more changes in this new version than ever before, so I’ll do a full review once I get more miles on them.
Finally, I’m sure everyone’s tired of hearing me talk about my new car, but I’m still very much in the honeymoon phase. I loved my old car, but it was 14-years-old, and now I realize that love can be blind. The heat barely worked in my old car. The new car is so quick to warm up…and the heated seats! The heated seats! VW has three levels of heat settings, so take that, Subaru and Honda, with your two settings! My old car would scream and cry whenever it went up hills (not unlike me running), and I was never able to pass other cars. My new car is so fast! It flies up hills, and it’s actually pretty hard to go slow because the pick-up is so good on it. I’ve never enjoyed driving as much since I was 16 years old and just got my driver’s license! I’ve been making up errands I need to do just so I can drive it. And I look out the window at it about 100 times a day. Who knew I could love a car so much?
Okay, onto the weekly recap!
Week at a Glance
- Training mode: Training for small, local, rails-to-trails Boston Trail Half Marathon near Pittsburgh on April 15 using the Hanson’s Half Marathon Method advanced plan with modifications
- Days running: 6
- Time running: 6:16
- Miles this week: 30
- Miles this training cycle: 57.05
- Miles in December: 84.37
- Miles in 2016: 1,406
- Strength training sessions: 2
Easy run: 4 miles (43 degrees)
Speed workout: 5 miles (43 degrees)
The original workout is 12 X 400s. I’d planned on 8 repeats to ease into it but was feeling optimistic and thought I’d shoot for 10 if I was feeling good. I met Jamie for this run, which would be my first speed workout with a friend. After a 1-mile warm-up, we got to work…and I immediately felt like I was dying. The first was the only one under goal pace; all the others were slower. After 4 repeats, I was done. I decided to shoot for 6 and suffered through 2 more before calling it. It was sunny and I got so hot that I considered taking off my top and running in my tank, but that’s no excuse. I just couldn’t hit my pace, and the workout basically killed me.
Rest day. I did 25 minutes of strength training plus foam rolling.
Failed progression/tempo run: 5 miles (37 degrees)
I’ve been looking forward to the start of the tempo runs to see what my goal half marathon pace feels like. The original workout calls for 3 miles at goal pace plus warm-up and cool-down. I decided to modify this first one to be a progression tempo run, starting at 20 seconds slower than goal pace, then 10, then finishing the last mile at goal pace. I was really tired (from Tuesday’s speed workout?) and slept in but figured I’d wake up after my warm-up mile. I started the first tempo mile at 20 seconds slower than goal pace as planned and finished that first mile 25 seconds slower and completely dying. I could not run another mile at that pace. So I took a quarter-mile recovery jog and then tried for a second mile at 10 seconds slower than goal pace. Nope. Not happening. I came very close to quitting at three-quarters of the mile, and it took everything I had just to finish the mile…at 20 seconds slower than goal pace. And then I walked. And knew I was done. This workout so killed me that I actually had to stop and walk a few times during the easy run back home. What the hell. I felt like I’d never run before in my life.
Easy run: 5 miles (28 degrees)
This was the coldest day of the week, but still not bad. I did have to watch for icy patches since we got a dusting of snow.
After the run I did 25 minutes of strength training plus foam rolling.
Easy run: 7 miles (30 degrees)
I planned to join the Pro Bike & Run group run again, but when Jamie texted me and told me she was going to go out later, I decided to sleep in and go with her. The bad habits of not having to go to work are so catching up to me! After another late night, I was so tired and cranky in the morning that I headed out for 2 solo miles so I could be at least awake and civil before meeting Jamie for 5. We just ran on the North Shore trail, which is closest to us, since we were too lazy to drive anywhere.
With this run, I ended the year with 1,406 miles of running! Earlier in the week I posted a recap of 2016 running and lessons learned if you missed it.
Easy run: 4 miles (34 degrees)
New Year’s Day bloomed bright and sunny. It felt much warmer when I was out and got warmer in the afternoon. Great start to the new year!