Week 1 Half Marathon Training

I am training for the InnerAct Alliance Red Ribbon Half Marathon & Run in Lakeland, Florida. This is the inaugural year and the first Half Marathon hosted in Polk County.

InnerAct Red Ribon Half Marathon & Run Lakeland Florida

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I talked about it in my last post, that I signed up for a training group. We received our plan last week and officially started on Monday. The group does three runs per week together. Monday had an easy run of 30-40 minutes on the schedule. I was not able to do this workout because of a DEC Steering Committee meeting. I have two Monday after work meetings a month and will have to move that run to Sunday.

The first group run was Tuesday. It started at the Red Door Wine Market in Lakeland. On Tuesday, FITniche hosts a Pub Run and this allowed my small group of six, to run with a much larger group. The training group started with a one mile warm-up. The group is comprised of people with various goals and experience, which is nice because I was worried about being the slowest. The workout had us run the three miles with the larger group with two miles at 10K pace and a one mile cool down.

Red Door Wine Market Pub Run 8-6-13

The route is really pretty and takes you by two lakes. So nice to switch up the scenery from my typical running routes. The place was packed after the run and the food looked pretty good. I definitely plan on eating here with J.

Thursday was my first ever track run.(Not counting being forced every year in school to run on it for the Presidential Physical Fitness test. Not sure what the point of that thing was, there was no chance I was ever going to be able to do a pull-up, so failure was imminent.) We started off with a warm-up run around the track and did some dynamic stretching as a group. The stretching and warm-up exercises are something that I want to start including into my workouts. (The exercises included butt kicks, high knees, and strides.)  Doing a proper warm-up, really helped my body feel ready to move fast.

The track workout consisted of 2×400, 1×800, 1×1600, 1×800, and 2×400. The rest time in between the intervals is half the time it takes you to run. We were each given a goal pace, which worked out to be about our 5K paces. I was surprised that I was able to run each one at about a minute per mile faster than my goal pace. I was definitely pushing but I wonder if I can do that when it’s 91 degrees, am I underperforming in the 5K? The time was a recent 5K time, so it’s not an old time. My track takeaway, painful but I can definitely see the benefit in doing it.

The last run of the week was a six mile run with the group at Mitchell’s Coffee House. I have run with this group before and highly recommend it if you are in the Lakeland area. The run is split into groups doing various distances, today it was 13.1 (the InnerAct Red Ribbon Half Marathon route), nine, six, and three miles. So nice that there is a distance for everyone. The route for the six-mile, takes you past three lakes.

Mitchell's Coffee Run Six Miles Lakeland Florida

The portions that are not around lakes, take you through historic South Lakeland. The houses are really beautiful and unique. It really is an amazing place to run. I love that even through it was early, there are a ton of runners and bikers out trying to avoid the deadly Florida August sun.

I did get one full body strength training session in on Wednesday. I am finally finished with Stage Three of The New Rules Of Lifting For Women. I do want to continue to Stage Four but am starting to get bored with doing the same exercises. I am seeing progress physically and with my strength but it might be time to try something new.

My first week running with a training group was great and I cannot wait for week two!

Ready To Start

Guess what this week is?

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It is the week I start training for my next half marathon.

I am running the OUC Orlando Half Marathon.

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2013

(I ran the OUC Orlando Half Marathon last year. You can read about it here.)

So that’s exciting enough but wait, there’s more.

FitNiche Training

This came to my inbox a few weeks ago. Recently, I started participating in a casual Saturday morning group run. I learned that I love running with other people. This training cycle I will have the support of running with other people and coach to get me on the right plan. The first run is on August 6th and I am just so excited to get started.

Running Around

I hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season! Mine was very low-key but full of fun.

J and I Cinderella's Castle Christmas Lights Disney Magic Kingdom

J and I spent a lot of time admiring the lights at Disney which makes even Cinderella’s Castle prettier. (That night was so cold and I actually was able to wear my winter coat. Yes, it does get cold in Central Florida.)

I decided to run Gasparilla again. It was the most fun race I ran last year and I needed to put something on my schedule to keep my motivation up.

Gasparilla Half Marathon Medal 2012 Tampa

My training is going well but strength training has fallen to the wayside. I find that it is easy to stick to either a lifting schedule or a running schedule but putting them together something gives. The Smart Coach plan from Runner’s World has runs five days a week and I have little motivation to go to the gym on my one off day. The solution is probably to lift in the morning before work and run after. I just cannot seem to get up any earlier to actually make it to the gym. So that is something to work on in 2013.

The following are Weeks One through Three of this current cycle of half marathon training. I like that Smart Coach has pace ranges for each run based on your most current race time. Sticking to those paces has helped me feel like I am getting faster. My A goal for Gasparilla is 2:14.

Week One Half Marathon Training December 2012

Week Two Half Marathon Training December 2012

Week Three Half Marathon Training December 2012

Do you have a race on the schedule?

2012 OUC Orlando Half Marathon

Going into OUC Orlando Half Marathon, I was very unsure of my training. (I vented about it here if you are interested.) I was all over the place with changing my training plan, getting sick, and feeling like I was never going to get faster.

Pity Party

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Like most things, it was much worse in my head.

I started the race day off by waking up at the ungodly hour of 4 AM (in which I ask myself, why do I have to live in no-mans-land Polk County which is far from everywhere?) Had my typical pre-race breakfast of peanut butter and toast. I went back and forth on what to wear because the morning was in the low 50’s, which is chilly in the land of sunshine, but went with a t-shirt and shorts. I would much rather be chilly to start and comfortable during the race than sweating buckets because I am overdressed.

I got into Orlando with few issues and was lucky to be able to use J’s parking pass to park in a lot for free. (He goes to Florida A&M Law School which is in downtown Orlando.) The lot is a half a mile from Lake Eola so I counted that as my warm-up. The bathroom situation at the start was ideal, a fairly short wait for real bathrooms (no wait on the men’s side.) I love not having to use a porta-pottie.

I fought my way into the starting corral, lined up in between the 9-10 minute mile signs. There were so many people that I couldn’t even see the start, only the back of the heads of those in front of me. I was pretty cold in my shorts but luckily the wait was only a few minutes and then we were off.

I tried to start slow, my goal was to stay at a 10:30 pace, but did get caught up the the starting frenzy. It can be so difficult at the start to not get caught up in the frenzy of moving forward but I get better at every race.

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Race Route

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The race route was lovely and took you through some beautiful neighborhoods in Orlando. I loved everything about it minus the very painful brick roads. The last few miles had plenty of hills with bricks which may have caused me to swear. I get so paranoid running on uneven surfaces because I am a tad bit clumsy and likely to trip over my own feet, let alone uneven brick.

A few signs of what I consider a successful half marathon:

1. Not needing medical attention (this is one that I have for everyday life too.)

2. Not needing to pee (or at least being able to hold it until the end.)

3. Not bonking

So how did I do?

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Splits

I was a little slower than my goal to average a 10:30 m/m but I was able to avert a diaphragm cramp. I only am able to do this with some walking, so I walked a little.

My official time:

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Official Time

My official time of 2:23:29 is a half marathon PR of eight minutes! I hoped I could PR but really was unsure if it would happen. This gives me so much hope that I can drop my time even further for Gasparilla in February.

The medal:

OUC Orlando Half Marathon Medal

The race shirt:

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Shirt Race

Cool towels being handed out at the finish line:

Florida Milk Refuel Chocolate Milk Towel

So horrible, painful brick aside, I had so much fun running half marathon number three, the OUC Orlando Half Marathon.

Losing My Run

Training for my third half has been frustrating. Writing about this frustration may have helped but I tend to internalize self-annoyance and could not find the right words.

I have maintained a somewhat decent weekly mileage while loosely interpreting three different training plans.

Half Marathon Training Weeks 1 through 14

Weeks 43 and 46 were both weeks that I was sick.

I had a difficult time sticking to one training plan having changed three times in fourteen weeks. The issue is that my body is capable of running five or six days a week but months of that is draining mentally. (Plus it sometimes causes my husband to claim he never sees me and that I spend more time out of the house than in it.) That coupled with all the stress of the election (as the President of the Polk County Young Democrats and being in charge of the DEC weekly newsletter) was biting off more than I could chew. So what is the solution?

I want to get faster and to do that I know I need much higher weekly mileage. For slow pokes such as myself, fitting 40 miles per week in is a serious time commitment. I need to find a better way to increase my mileage and not feeling like the only I do is run. I also want to see some results and know that will require pushing myself outside of the comfort zone of 11 minute miles when I know I can run faster. (Sometimes I feel like I’m afraid of the discomfort of running faster. If that makes any sense.)

The plan so far is run the Orlando Half Marathon this coming Saturday. I will run it with few expectations but secretly hoping to PR (2.31.38 from March of 2012). Then find a new and better fit training plan for Gasparilla Half Marathon in February.

So there it is, all the reasons why I haven’t been posting and have felt bad about my running.

Chill Out

Half Marathon Training Week Thirteen

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.

Half Marathon Training Week 13

Key Workouts:

Easy Run: 1/3

Speed Work: 1/1

Long Run: 1/1

Cross Training: 0

Strength Training: 0/2

Total Miles: 26.9

This week life got in the way of working out. It is amazing that when I am out of work, I can still be too busy to fit in a run. Spending more time focusing on political organizing and job finding is important right now, so I will have to make it work.

I finished two books this week.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me And Other Concerns Mindy Kaling.

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(Review found here.)

Speak by laurie Halse Anderson

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(Review coming soon but this book was amazing and a must read.)

I ran my longest run so far on Saturday. 14.02 miles! I feel more confident for Sunday after this run. I ran the entire run Celebration which was just beautiful. The tree-lined streets, the wide sidewalks, and a great breeze came together for just a wonderful run. Typically, I run with my phone so I can listen to talk radio on Sirius. Of course on my longest run ever, my phone decides to cut my battery life in half, and leaves me with no entertainment for the vast majority of this run. I did learn that I much prefer to have the radio than not. (Also, that being alone with just my thoughts for hours is interesting.)

This graph excited me. February was my first month to go over 100 miles.

Monthly Miles

Seems like an accomplishment. I just wish there were more hours of cross training and strength training in there. When I think about my new goals after this race on Sunday, I will be reevaluating fitting more of those two key components in. It is important to do more than just run.

As my runs get longer, and I don’t know how often I would run farther than 14 training for half’s, but I may need to make an adjustment to my FuelBelt. I now run with this model.

FuelBelt Revenge R20

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I have the FuelBelt Revenge R20 with a larger pouch to fit my pepper spray and Cliff Shot Bloks. As the weather gets warmer and my runs potentially get longer, I am running out of water with only the two water bottles. There are times when I can refill but it is not always practical.

FueldBelt Revenge 4-Bottle Belt

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Going with a four bottle model may be more practical for the summer. I use plain water with GU or Shot Bloks, maybe using a sports drink like Nuun or Hammer Endurolytes Fizz might help. My plan is to start experimenting to see if a water bottle full of water plus sports drink is helpful.

Half Marathon Training Week Twelve

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.

Half Marathon Training Week 12

Key Workouts:

Easy Runs: 3/3

Speedwork: 1/1

Long Run: 0/1

Strength Training: 1/2

Cross Training: 1/1

Total Miles: 21.53

This week was not my best week. My easy runs were fine, no issues, but my speedwork on Thursday was a disaster. I ended up calling that run a few miles before it was supposed to be over. The pace felt really fast, the weather was bothering me, and I could not get myself to continue mentally.

Supposed to be a tempo run

I rarely have runs like this and I am not sure of the exact cause but maybe it has to do with overall stress? As positive as I am trying to be, being out of work is rough. I feel slightly depressed and the lack of interviews is makes me feel rejected.

I missed my long run on Saturday because I attended a political event that ended up lasting for four hours. I did not have the time to run and make our dinner reservation. I might have been able to run but would not have been able to shower and do my hair/make-up. If J plans a romantic night, I like to at be somewhat presentable. (Plus he sees me in my pajamas and messy hair most of the time because I am home a lot more now. Have to keep a little romance alive.) I attempted to do a make-up long run on Sunday but the weather was nasty. So cross training and some streamed Teen Wolf was in order.

Teen Wolf TV Show

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As an aside, is anyone else watching this show? The first season aired last summer and it seemed to get some buzz especially for a show on MTV that is not Jersey Shore. I have only watched a few episodes but I like it so far.

Back to the regularly scheduled running talk…

My training for the Half on March 4th has been strong, so I am not going to stress a few missed runs.

How do you handle missing workouts?

Any new shows to recommend?

Half Marathon Training Week Eleven

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.

Half Marathon Training Week Eleven

Key Workouts:

Easy Runs: 5/5

Strength Training: 1/2

Total Miles: 29.27

This week was a step-down week that only contained easy runs. It was a nice mental break from a long run that eats its way through a huge chunk of my Saturday. I felt strong and rested throughout the week and my body responded well to the lighter week. I did do Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zones on Wednesday which did leave me sore on Thursday and Friday.

I have speed on my mind a lot lately. Obviously, the goal in racing is to improve your time which I do think I am right on target for a faster half this time around than my first. What I have been thinking about is how to proceed after this training cycle to improve my speed. I do want a sub-30 5K. Being at the end of a training cycle, it can be difficult to remember how you felt at the beginning. Are these miles getting easier? Is my body stronger from adding the additional day of running?

Going back through my Garmin data, it does look like I have gotten a bit faster. With my easy runs, I do not aim for any particular speed but run what feels like a comfortable pace. This can vary based on the temperature and how I feel but seems to vary by a minute per mile either way.

This is my average pace for my most recent easy runs.

Average Pace 2-6 to 2-14

This is my average pace for easy runs at the end of December.

Average Pace 12-26 to 1-9

Longer runs with slightly faster average speeds all run at a comfortable pace means I’m getting faster, right?

I guess time will tell on March 4th.

Half Marathon Training Week Nine

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.

Half Marathon Training Week Nine

Key Workouts:

Easy Runs: 3/3

Speedwork: 1/1 4 x 1600 with 800 jobs in between

Long Run: 1/1

Strength Training: 0/2

Total Miles: 35.14

This is my highest mileage week yet. I am still adjusting to running five days a week but felt strong through the week. The long run was supposed to be 14 miles but I felt good with doing 12. I am still coming back from two weeks of nearly no running because of being sick and have over a month until my half to get in a few 14 miles runs.

I did not do any strength or cross training this week. It is a struggle to do two workouts in a day and after four days of running, I needed a break on Friday.

One of the best benefits from this training cycle is that I know I can run a half. The focus is on what is and isn’t working to meet my time goal. I am feeling faster this time around and know the Tempo and Speedwork is helping.

Half Marathon Training Weeks Seven And Eight

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.

Half_Marathon_Training_Week_Seven

Not much to say about week seven. I was still very sick and was only able to fit in one run.

Half_Marathon_Training_Week_Eight_

Week eight I was finally able to get back on track. Being able to breathe again and not feeling like complete death were also nice.

Key Workouts:

Easy Runs: 3 for 3

Tempo Run: 0 for 1

Long Run: 1 for 1 with the caveat that I had 14 miles on the schedule but ended up doing seven in the morning ( I had a meeting and did not get up early enough to do 14) and three in the afternoon. The afternoon run was supposed to be seven but just doing the three was difficult enough. Whenever I have a long run and a meeting or somewhere to be on Saturday, I rarely get the mileage in. I need to work on spending less time drinking coffee and looking at the internet in the morning and more time getting out earlier to start running.

Strength: Jillian Michaels: No More Trouble Zones DVD

Total Miles: 22.31

During week seven, I adjusted my training plan (I’m using SmartCoach from Runner’s World) to increase my mileage. I have more time to run while looking for a job and want to focus on higher weekly mileage. My hope here is that this increase will help with my speed. The amount of time I am spending at home, it is nice to be out running. It helps clear my mind and focus on what my next step should be.

Training plans should be fluid and adaptable to life changes. It is a testament to how great the SmartCoach plan is that it is so adaptable.

Do you have a hard time getting back on track after being sick?