Week of 1/19/15 – 1/25/15: Tom King Half Training, Week 10

week of 1/19/15 to 1/25/15

Monday: rest day
Tuesday: 12x400m fast – 5.7 miles total (11:00 avg pace)
Wednesday: 3 miles (10:33 avg pace)
Thursday: 2x3mi tempo – 7.2 miles total (10:24 avg pace)
Friday: rest day (much needed)
Saturday: 5 miles (split into two runs – 11:06 and 10:46 avg paces)
Sunday: 11 miles (10:29 avg pace)

Back to setting new records every week! This is my new highest mileage week, and I’m on track to set my highest mileage month (previous high is 101.7 and right now I’m at 101.3).

This week actually went quite well. I was quite terrified of the 2x3mi tempo run on Thursday (tempo pace is basically my 10k pace – 9:45-10:00 min/mi), but I didn’t have any real problems with it. I did have some stomach issues about a quarter mile into the second set, so I walked briefly until it subsided and then was able to finish without any further issues. I averaged 9:55 min/mi for the first interval and 9:56 min/mi for the second.

My long run went great! I felt strong for the majority of it, despite that I didn’t fuel with gels at all. Also I learned that a great motivator to run faster 9.5 miles into a long run is to run underneath an area of trees with a million birds that start pooping all at once. I may have screamed. I did not get hit, though.

Week of 12/29/14 – 1/4/15: Tom King Half Training, Week 7

week of 12/29/14 to 1/4/15

Monday: 6 miles easy (11:45 avg pace)
Tuesday: rest day (Preds game)
Wednesday: rest day (NYE)
Thursday: 5(ish)x800m fast – 3.4 miles total (10:42 avg pace)
Friday: rest day
Saturday: 4x1mi tempo – 5.6 miles total (10:50 avg pace)
Sunday: 9 miles (10:41 avg pace)

This was not an easy week.

Thursday’s speed work was uggh. I was supposed to do six intervals, but I had somehow forgotten to take my asthma medicine that morning, so I called it quits after about 3/4 of the way through the fifth interval so I wouldn’t, you know, die. You can tell I was getting progressively slower too; my average pace for the intervals were as follows: 9:00, 9:04, 9:16, 9:20, 9:25. Still, all faster than my prescribed 9:30-9:45 pace, which is kind of amazing considering how dehydrated I was after the previous night’s festivities.

I didn’t fare much better on Saturday. The training plan called for 5x1mi at tempo pace, which is 9:45-10:00. I struggled to reach that, despite being paced by Jonathan, and ended up stopping after four intervals. The paces for the ones I completed were 10:03, 9:39, 10:25, and 9:57. Can you guess which two had the hill?

Despite the rough time I was having, I did really well on my nine miler on Sunday. It was cold and rainy, but I managed to run my fastest run of the week and my fastest long run ever. My knees didn’t even ever hurt (possibly because it was mostly flat…my knees seem to act up more on hillier routes). I feel pretty confident that I will, at least, get a PR at the Hot Chocolate 15k next month.

Week of 3/3/14 – 3/9/14: Country Music Half Training, Week 8

You’ll notice some of my runs got swapped around this week. My grandmother sadly passed away early Wednesday morning after a long battle with Alzheimer’s, so I was in Clarksville for most of the week. I decided to do my longer runs on Thursday and Friday, since the funeral was on Saturday, and I wanted to get out during the weekdays to get my mind off of everything.

week of 3/3/14 to 3/9/14


I went to the gym Tuesday night. I had left my Garmin at Jonathan’s accidentally, so I decided to do a ladder workout.

“What is a ladder workout?” you ask. Ladder workouts are comprised of intervals that vary in length, either increasing or decreasing in incremental steps. They are usually used for speed training and can be done on a treadmill, a track, or anywhere. I was just using them to break up treadmill monotony so I just ranged from easy to tempo pace.

Here is how my ladder workout worked: I started at 4.8, which I ran at for 6 minutes. Then I took a 1 minute recovery at 3.5. Then I ran at 5.0 for 5 minutes. Then recovered. 5.2 for 4 minutes…you get the picture. I went up to 5.8 for 1 minute, then went back down the ladder (stopping at the end of the 5.2 interval since I reached my 3 miles at that point).

(A track ladder workout, on the other hand, might look something like: run at half marathon pace for 1600 meters, recover, then run at 10k pace for 800 meters, recover, then run at 5k pace for 400 meters.)

I watched “Dumbo” on Netflix while I did this. I had no issues. No aches. No side stitches. It was actually kind of fun. I might start doing them more.

No strides this week since I’m being ginger with my training at the moment.


Thursday’s run was supposed to be my usual 5 mile easy run, but the route I like to run around where my parents live is closer to 6.5 miles, so that is what I did. I still didn’t have my Garmin, so I set up Strava to record my run and report my progress every half mile. So I took walk breaks at the start of each half mile that lasted usually a minute or less. I didn’t have any issues other than a nasty blood blister that I developed. I’d post a picture, but I don’t want to gross anyone out.


Since I had done 6.5 instead of 5 on Thursday, I subtracted 1.5 miles from my long run, making it 9.5 miles instead of 11. My legs were very tired going into the run, which was the point, and they were extremely exhausted after I was done. But I did it!


Time for that 30 minute tempo run that didn’t go well last week. I was also going for it outside, which meant I didn’t have the treadmill to ensure I was keeping pace. We all know that I suck at pacing.

I started off with an easy mile to warmup, which I did in 12:45. Just where I wanted. I took a brief walk break right at the end of the interval before the start of my 30 minutes. Then it was time: half an hour at tempo pace, which is, for me, 10:45-11:15 min/mi. I had set up Runkeeper to give me audible feedback on my pace every three minutes, so I was excited when after the first three minutes, it said I was at 11:09 min/mi. Perfect. It was a comfortably hard pace, just like a tempo run is supposed to be. And I maintained it (well, actually got a little faster) for the entire 30 minutes. I ended up going a little faster than my tempo pace towards the end, which I could tell I was doing, but I felt good. So maybe I finally learned how to pace?

tempo run pacing

Week of 2/24/14 – 3/2/14: Country Music Half Training, Week 7

Almost halfway through the training cycle (although only about a third of the mileage), and less than two months to go until the half marathon! Unfortunately, this wasn’t my best week.

week of 2/24/14 to 3/2/14


I was feeling a little discouraged after Sunday’s run, so I decided to forgo my strides and just do my easy three. This week’s intervals were 15 minutes running, 2 minutes walking. I completed this with no issues while watching “Lilo & Stitch” on my phone.

Afterwards, since I wasn’t doing strides, I did ten minutes on the recumbent bike. This is one good thing about going to the gym; I would have no other way to crosstrain without it. I don’t like this gym’s recumbent bikes nearly as much as my last gym’s. I slide off the seat a lot and it says I don’t go as far (like an entire mile less), even though I’m putting in the same effort (like it says my rotations per minute are the same). Weird. But I’m not concerned about mileage on the bike, just trying to give my legs something else to do. I could definitely feel it the next day!


Back to tempo runs for a couple of weeks! I thought about buying the digital download of “Frozen” to watch while I did this run, but I really wanted to wait for the Blu-ray. I compromised by downloading “Let It Go” to add to my running playlist. Best running song ever.

I started out with a ten minute warmup, then started at 5.2 with the goal to speed up to 5.6 over the course of thirty minutes. Two minutes in I got a terrible side stitch. I took a sip of water and tried to control my breathing and push through it, but it only got worse. So five minutes after starting my tempo pace, I stopped the treadmill and took four minutes to try to massage it out and stretch.

I hit the lap button on my watch to signify that I was starting my 30 minutes over and started back at 5.2. I made it seven minutes this time before the side stitch made me stop again. Frustrated, I took a two minute walk break, drank some more water, and focused on my breathing. I can usually get rid of a side stitch by either: massaging it, making sure I’m hydrated, or timing my breathing so my exhales are on the opposite foot of the side of the pain. None of these things were working.

I switched my music over to play “Let It Go” to focus my mind on something. I managed to get through the song three times (nine minutes) before I had to walk again. After another two minute break, I gave up and decided I was not going to get in a solid thirty minutes of nonstop tempo pace, but I could at least do thirty minutes over intervals.

I wasn’t sure exactly how long I had ran so far, so I gave it my best estimate. I ended up doing about 32 minutes total of tempo pace, broken up into six different intervals.

I was really frustrated at myself and the stupid side stitch that refused to go away. But I have another thirty minute tempo next Thursday, so hopefully I can knock it out then.


I was hopeful going into Saturday’s run that it would be better. It wasn’t. The side stitch decided to make a reappearance. I ended up taking a couple extra walking breaks during my intervals. The side stitch finally went away (mostly), but it was replaced by some fantastic stomach problems! So I cut the run short after three miles because I wasn’t really in the mood for throwing up in the middle of a public park.


With three out of four of my last runs being less than stellar, I was really lacking motivation on Sunday. Oh yeah, and it was 33 degrees and pouring rain. And lightning. I ended up going to the gym. I knew I was not going to be able to pull out the planned 9.5 miles, but I hoped to make it through at least three.

My head was so not into this run. I took one extra walking break in the middle of both my first and second 15 minute intervals. After that, I told myself I was almost to three miles and could stop after that. That placated my head enough to make it through the third interval with no extra walk breaks. I had almost been running for an hour at that point, so I decided to make it a nice even 60 minute run. Except when 60 minutes came, I was less than a tenth of a mile from doing a nice even five miles, so I ended up doing that.

I’m debating on what I should do for the upcoming week. I’ve thought about cutting my mileage a little and seeing if that helps, since I’m scared of overtraining. (Maybe I should have taken some more days off after the 15k?) But what I think I’m going to do is drop my intervals down to 5:1 and see if that helps with the head games. If I still can’t make my mileage, I’ll consider cutting that down in the following week.

Week of 2/10/14 – 2/16/14: Country Music Half Training, Week 5

week of 2/10/14 to 2/16/14

On Tuesday, I headed out to the gym for my easy three and strides. I started up the treadmill on a slow walk while I set up my Garmin, like I always do. Except my Garmin was dead. Despite that it had said 60% battery when I checked it at home, it was completely dead. “Oh well,” I thought. “I can still track it with the Nike app.” The Nike app isn’t as accurate, but I’m still not sure how accurate my footpod is either, so I figured it’d be pretty close.


Nike was telling me in my ear that I was running 9-10 minute miles (while at 4.8-5.2 on the treadmill), which is just laughable. This threw me off and made the first couple miles frustrating. I was doing 10:2 intervals this week, although I actually did 12 minutes on my first interval because I didn’t want to stop running to a song that I was listening to. By the third mile and third interval, I was more into a rhythm and ignoring my Nike app talking in my ear. Nike said I did 3 miles in a little over half an hour. I ran for 36 minutes, figuring that was closer to the truth.

Since my watch was dead, I had nothing to time my strides with. So I just decided to do a fast mile. Here’s some numbers and math for you: I started the treadmill at 5.0 and increased 0.1 every 30 seconds for the first two minutes. That got me to 5.4. Then I increased 0.1 every 20 seconds for two minutes. By then I was at 6.0. For the next two minutes or so, I increased 0.1 every 15 seconds until I got to 7.0. I held that speed for one minute. Then I decreased 0.2 every 30 seconds down to 6.0 until my mile was complete. One mile in 9:55 according to the treadmill, so effort felt slightly faster.

I had every intention of running this week’s scheduled hill intervals. I also had every intention of actually running with the group. Life said otherwise. My car tire somehow ended up with four spikes in it, so I had to take it in to get a new tire. Then Amanda hit me with the news that she wasn’t going to be running the 15k with me on Saturday (more on that in my upcoming race report). I was feeling a little defeated on Thursday and I didn’t really want to trash my legs before the race, so I ended up just doing a 15 minute tempo run alone. It was 50 degrees outside, so I opted to not go to the gym, which seemed kinda silly for a short workout, so I strapped on my reflective gear and headed into the night.

I considered bailing and not running at all, so I’m glad I pushed myself to do SOME sort of speedwork. It felt fairly hard, maybe even harder than the 20 minute tempo from last week, but then I came across this Runner’s World article about running in the dark that made me feel better. I also didn’t really warm up beforehand (bad runner!), which was evident by the awesome shin splints I felt during the entire run. Luckily, Jonathan cooked a super yummy dinner to make up for the crappy day I had.

I actually came pretty close to not running the 15k on Saturday, which I’ll go into more on my race report, but I’m glad I did because it was awesome. Despite being bitterly cold, I had probably my best race to date. And the race was super well organized and the chocolate at the end was very very yummy. I finished in 1:46:48, which was faster than what I thought would even be my best.

I didn’t have a run scheduled on Sunday because of Saturday’s race, but I went out for a thirty minute recovery run anyway because it was 50 degrees and sunny. The goal was to stay between a 12:30 and 13:00 min pace, which I did. I thought about doing this week’s 10:2 intervals, but I ended up just running the whole thing through. Again, I’m cautiously excited about how well training is going.