Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Half Marathon Training Thoughts

Now that I'm about halfway through my half marathon training for the Towpath Half (you can read my weekly recaps here), I thought it would be a good time to reflect on how everything is going.  It's always a good idea to check in and go over some of the good, bad, and ugly parts of training before it's too late.  Enjoy!

The Good


  • I haven't missed any important runs (speed work or long runs).  Last cycle, I would shorten or skip tons of my long runs which is what really hurt me in the race.  I've already knocked out an 8 mile and 10 mile long run, and haven't skipped anything besides an easy run here and there!

  • I'm running with a group.  In the past, I always ran alone.  I finally gave in and started running with the True Runner Run Club this summer, then joined the 10 Miler training group.  It's great running with a ton of other people so I feel more motivated, and end up running faster and/or longer!


  • My races are faster.  For my Biggest Loser training cycle, my 5k time was 25:03.  At the Steelers 5k this weekend, I ran 23:54 and felt so good the entire time.  Seeing results like that definitely feels like I'm going in the right direction!  Using a race time calculator, that time would predict a 1:49 half marathon- coincidence because the plan I'm following is for a 1:50 finish!  

  • I'm still feeling good and motivated to run everyday.  Luckily, I haven't hit that wall of dreading running, or starting to hate it.  I still feel excited each week when I look at my workouts, and I never put off my runs.  I had a few days of soreness after a tough hill workout, but besides that I've been feeling amazing (maybe thanks to the amino acid supplement I've been drinking after every run!)


The Bad


  • Not enough cross training.  I was in a really good groove of cross training two to three times a week back in the spring, and have pretty much dropped the ball on that lately.  I usually get in one session of Centergy a week, but really need to add in strength training.  I felt so much stronger a few months ago, so I need to get back into that!

  • Training paces are slower.  This may be a good thing, but looking back at my old training recaps my training runs were quite a bit faster than they are now. I did want to focus on making my easy runs slower, so that part is a lot better and helping me stay injury free (knock on wood).  Now I just need to work on speeding up for my tempo runs and running more miles at goal pace during my long runs! 

  • Not enough races.  Even though I have four different 5k's on my schedule during this training cycle, I wish that I added a few longer races.  I always love to add in longer and longer races to my schedule to see how my training is progressing and practice my race day strategy, so that's definitely something I regret this time around!

The Ugly

  • My feet.  For all the runners out there, I don't think I have to explain myself any further.  Let's just say I won't be going in for a pedicure any time soon, and I'm glad sandal season is almost over.


Overall, I'm really happy with my training so far.  I'm way ahead of where I was in my last training cycle, which I think is thanks to building a good base before jumping into my plan.  I'm feeling motivated and really encouraged at this point in my plan, and can't wait to see what happens on race day.  I just have to keep putting in the work and I know I can reach my goals!

How is your training going?
What is your good, bad and ugly right now?

linking up with Tuesdays on the Run

36 comments:

  1. I like how you broke this down into the good, bad, and ugly! Cross training is key and something we runners forget about along with making sure we run easy. My best half was run on half the mileage I run now with lots of spinning thrown in too. I keep trying to remind myself of that as I prepare for next month's half

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    1. I've definitely slacked on it. I'm hoping it's not too late to start back!

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  2. I have mixed feeling on my training right now. I am really starting to feel worn down and starting to slightly dread having to go for a run. It isn't a full on issue yet, but with multiple double digit runs per week, I am running out of motivation. Fortunately I am so close to starting my taper that I only have to hold it together for a couple more weeks. Other times I look through my training log and start feeling super confident and like a total bad ass because of the mileage I have been hitting these past few months.

    Do any of your 5ks have a 10k option you could switch to?

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    1. That's just about the time when I start to lose motivation as well, so that's completely normal. you're almost there and I hope you catch your "second wind" with training soon!

      Unfortunately none of them have a 10k option. It seems like in the summer there are lots of 5ks and not much else in my area. We'll see how that affects my race!

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  3. I treat my feet after each race. That does mean I have to build my calluses again, but I have to take care of my feet as well. I normally do yoga at home though and Pure Barre makes you wear socks.

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    1. That's a good idea! I have these grippy socks for yoga thankfully. I'm so embarrassed about my feet that I hate showing them in public! Even Dan makes fun of them :(

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  4. I always find that sometimes having slower training runs, but faster race times can be the best indicator that you are progressing - at least in my experience. Slower training runs is increasing the time on your feet - how long your legs are accustom to working. And faster race times just mean your legs and body are getting stronger and stronger! My feet are absolutely destroyed by the end of the training cycle, not so much appearance wise, but my arches always ache when I'm running high milage. Can't wait for my foot massage this weekend! Hope you have a fabulous Tuesday!

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    1. That's a great way to look at it Jamie! Maybe getting in lots of slow miles will help out. I do have higher mileage so maybe that's just what my body needs :) Enjoy your massage!!

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  5. Ha ha ha! Great post. I love the part about the feet. Mine are SOOOO BAD. Taking that much time off your 5K PR is incredible!!! What a huge jump in your fitness! Love it.

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    1. Thanks Suzy! I was shocked and really happy to see my time!

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  6. It's important to run slow as well. When I had my break through marathon - my long runs were never, ever at marathon pace. Getting in speed workouts and tempo runs will help you so much! I wouldn't worry much about not getting in races because if you run at 100% that means your body will need longer to recover. It helps to break out the monotony though, so I understand. :) You could use races as part of a long run?

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    1. That's very reassuring to hear! I love your suggestions. I've always wanted to do a 5k the last part of my long run to keep that motivation. Maybe I'll try it for my next one! Thanks for the tips!

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  7. Wow, Awesome results on the 5K! Running <24 min was my goal for a long time, and I succeeded once. It was when I was running with a group which is really helpful to me - I need the accountability! I always struggle with cross-training too.

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    1. Thank you Kelly! Running with a group definitely made a huge difference for me!

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  8. lol @ your feet. that sucks! i really wish i could find a training group around here, it would definitely be motivating.
    one of my favourite races is a half marathon in april, and there is a 5k, 10k and 10miler leading up to it - it's like bam bam bam and it's perfect for training lol

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    1. That's too bad that you dont have any training groups! It definitely helps. Have you tried searching on facebook or asking at a running store?

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  9. I also get into a bad habit of relaxing on cross training and I really can't afford to do that! Oh and my feet, so so gross.

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    1. I'm trying to get back in the habit! Going to the gym today :)

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  10. I just finished a half marathon this past wkend and my training was pretty good this summer for it. But I agree w the whole feet issue. I have not gotten a pedicure once this summer. I am so overdue!

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    1. I've actually never gotten a pedicure (or a manicure for that matter!) I'm so embarrassed of my feet..my toes are so long and thin that they look like fingers :(

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  11. I think you are doing better than you think. The fact that your training paces are a bit slower is ok--you are increasing your cardiovascular and respiratory endurance and you are increasing your speed with the races and PRs! I think you might feel more comfortable with where you are if you try to work in one run every other week that is a bit longer and harder--show yourself that you can push that long and hard. TWSS

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    1. You are the best Suz! Thanks for the advice :)

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  12. LOL on your feet! I think you're doing awesome in this training cycle. You're right on track to kick butt on race day--like you usually do! :-)

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    1. Thank you so much Jennifer! Your support always means a lot to me :)

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  13. My "ugly" of training is the same as yours. I'm way overdue for a pedicure. My bad is also cross-training. Just haven't had the energy to do anything extra.

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    1. Training twins :) Let's get on cross training ASAP!!

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  14. I think most of us can agree on the ugly. I have realized that cross training can be a huge benefit so if try to fit that in. I also like that you are running with a group, so many times when you run with a group you don't even think about the run, you just focus on the other people and talking. Keep up the good training

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    1. Group running has definitely been a huge benefit for me! I wish they had group cross training as well ;)

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  15. The good, I started strength training last week, the bad, my calf muscle has been killing me on my right side, the ugly my feet as well. You are crushing your runs!!!!
    bakingrunner.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much Heather! And I'm sorry to hear about your calf :( I hope it gets better soon (also, I'm so glad you commented so I could find out about your blog! Love it!)

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  16. Sounds like you've made some great progress during this training cycle, especially with your recent 5k time! I think you're on track for a fantastic half-marathon.

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  17. It's great that you are still motivated and feel good when you run! It is so easy to get in a rut. Congrats on your faster races! You're going to kill it at your half marathon!

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    1. Thanks Gabby! I hope I do well but we'll have to wait and see :)

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  18. Glad to read that you're improving your time and are still motivated!! A pedicure would probably feel so good once you're done :P

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  19. I loved reading this post! It's very motivating and inspiring. I think it's great that you're not dreading your runs and that they still make you excited - that means you've found something you really love! My feet are pretty bad without running...when I add mileage to the mix it's game over!

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