Week of 2/17/14 – 2/23/14: Country Music Half Training, Week 6

week of 2/17/14 to 2/23/14
Guess what? I finally went running with a group this week! Except it wasn’t the group that I’m supposed to be running with.


Since it was 60 degrees, I decided to meet up with the Mt. Juliet Flyers group to do my easy three miles on the Providence Greenway. Around twenty people showed up. Like I am wont to do in groups, I started my easy miles too fast. This week’s intervals were 12:2, which should be no problem, but I started off at a sub-11 min/mi pace. Nope. The entire interval I was also leapfrogging with a couple of other ladies who were doing 3:1 intervals, so after my first, I decided to join them. Because isn’t that the point of running with a group? I completed the three miles with them effortlessly and within my easy run pace. Yay!

I almost decided to not do my strides, but I stopped on the way home in the neighborhood I like to run in and did them. This was my first time not doing them on a treadmill this training cycle, so I was interested to see how my times would compare. So here’s a comparison for you! Outside is on the left, and what my footpod recorded on the treadmill for my last stride workout is on the right:
stride workout comparison

So pretty close, but looks like I’m slightly speedier outdoors, probably because the treadmill does a ramp up to the speed I enter, whereas I just start out faster when I’m outside. It also (oddly) feels like they take longer outside. Usually the opposite is true! Maybe it’s because I wasn’t listening to music or couldn’t stare at the timer. Or, again, because the treadmill ramps up the speed so the time spent at the fastest pace is shorter.


Long hill workout day! Except a storm was en route (the downside of it finally warming up), so the group workout got canceled. I did treadmill hills. The hill the group was supposed to be running is about 0.4 miles with an average grade of 6%. So this is what I replicated on the ‘mill. First, I did an easy 8.5 minute warmup at 4.3 mph with a minute and a half of walking after to shake out my legs. I decided to start at 5.0 mph and see how that felt before possibly increasing my speed on subsequent intervals. For recovery, I walked at 2.5 with zero incline until I felt recovered (usually around 4-5 minutes). Not nearly as fun as jogging back down the hill (literally the only fun part of hill workouts), but it would have to do.

I’m not going to lie. The first interval was HARD. I did it at a steady 5.0, and I was breathing crazy heavy by the middle of it. That said, I figured I was still just warming up, so I did the second one faster. I increased from 5.0 to 5.2 over the course of the interval. Yeah, I wanted to die after that. I didn’t know if I was going to be making it through this workout. So I decided to slow it down on my third and started at 4.5 and increased to 4.8. This was easier and I only needed about 2.5 minutes of recovery for it. So for the fourth, I started at 4.8, increased to 5.0 and back down to 4.8. Finally, for the fifth interval, I started at 4.8 and played my counting game until I was increased to 5.4! Figured I might as well finish it off with death.

My fastest of the intervals was my second one, which I completed in 4:37. My slowest was the third, completed in 5:11. The other three all fell in the middle, around 4:50. This probably would have been easier on an actual hill where I could adjust my speed as needed, instead of being stuck at a speed on the treadmill. This may have been my hardest workout ever.


My five miler this week went well. The 12:2 intervals posed no problem, and the weather outside was perfect. The only issue I had is that I started to develop some blisters on my big toes. Also, my knees have been hurting earlier in runs than they used to. I used to not feel them until around 7-8 miles, but lately it’s been around mile four. I hope this isn’t an issue.


Ugh, where do I begin with Sunday? I knew my training was going too well, and I was sure to hit a roadblock eventually. I was scheduled to do eight miles easy; this is slightly less than my last couple long runs because I knew the hill workout would be killer. And I was right. That, on top of the five miles from the day before, meant I was going into this run with really, really tired legs. I mean, that’s kind of the point. That’s why I scheduled the long run for the day after a five mile run every week. I’m supposed to be running on fatigued legs because it trains me to do so in races. But this was way more fatigued than normal.

It was also really warm and sunny outside (hi, 67 degrees!) and incredibly windy. And I chose a hilly route. I didn’t feel strong starting out. I didn’t feel strong in the middle. My knees starting aching around mile four again, and by mile six, they were downright HURTING. I pushed on, promising myself I’d do at least seven miles. However, on my sixth running interval, I ended up cutting it two minutes short. I was just in too much pain. The blisters from the day before had gotten way worse, so that, plus my knees, plus the fatigue in my legs, just wouldn’t let me go on. So I turned my two minute walk break into a four minute break before starting my seventh interval. I got to 7.5 miles, but I just couldn’t finish it out. I needed to listen to my body and not push too hard, but I still felt like a failure.

When I got home I discovered that I got to experience the wonderful world of chafing for the first time. The skin on the upper inside of my right arm had been rubbed raw. Remind me not to wear that running shirt again, as that’s the only thing I could think of that would have caused it.

Does anyone have any good advice on what to do for these blisters I keep getting on my big toes? I seem to get them with all socks and all shoes, so I’m not sure that changing any of that will help.

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