Wednesday, 16 December 2015

TRAINING UPDATE: Week 2 of Half Marathon Training

I am successfully two complete weeks in to my revised Hal Higdon intermediate half marathon plan. I say revised as I have made slight modifications to his calendar to incorporate swim training too. So far, all is good and I have enjoyed following a detailed plan once again. With each session, I have followed the criteria Hal lists on his website on how they need to be executed. This has allowed me to get a good balance of pace work, strengthening exercises and distance training.

The last two Tuesdays I have headed out in the evenings to do three miles of paced running. This is where I need to train my body to run at my target half marathon pace, which for me is 7.55 per mile. If I stick to this, I am in the safe zone to secure a sub 1.45. The first Tuesday, all started well with my first mile being 7.55 but after that followed a slightly faster pace and I finished the whole run with an average pace of 7.41. For three miles, this pace was totally fine for me but I needed to slow it down a tad so my body will start to develop recognition for a 7.55 pace. By combining these paced runs with my long distance training and tempo work, it should all pull together to allow me to maintain 7.55 pace come race day. The next Tuesday that followed was definitely better paced. I managed 7.55 for the first two miles but the last one was still a bit too fast. I finished with an average pace of 7.50.
In week 1, I had to work my training around having a friend from overseas to stay for a long weekend. As many runners may know, it is hard to squeeze in sessions around, well, just life in general but I tried my best to get my training in without it interfering with time spent with my friend. Luckily, she is a keen runner and along with another training buddy, she joined us for a long run at the weekend. There was no focus on pace for this one - instead we have a nice natter and catch up whilst running around London visiting all the famous landmarks. We had a great time, except I did have a trip halfway and ended up rolling my ankle which was agonising. It swelled up slightly with bruising so I spent the following day resting and icing it.
Alongside my runs, I have also been keeping up my swimming. In the first week, I planned a technique focussed session where I swam drills of pullies (float held between the knees and the arms doing all the work), sharkies (swimming with arms coming up super close to the body), leg kicks (float out front at arms reach and the legs doing all the work). Below is the session in more detail:

250m front crawl
250m pullies
250m front crawl
250m sharkies
250m front crawl
250m pullies
250m leg kicks

The following week, I flipped over to distance training and this is where I swim front crawl until I reach a certain distance. I chose to fit this swim in at 6am before work. I have done this a few times now and I'm surprisingly growing fond of starting the day this way. The walk to the pool in the pitch black and freezing cold isn't too great though...
I normally complete 1250m in these sessions but I decided to increase the distance slightly and went up to 1375m (so basically an extra five laps of a 25ml pool). Over time, I will gradually step up the number of lengths until I am at 1500m distance training - the same as the swim in an Olympic triathlon.

My only downfall in this first two weeks was missing my first ever tempo session. For this, I must honestly hang my head in shame. The after effects of my work Christmas party left me a little worse for wear (I blame a concoction of tequila and martini's) and I mean in a bad way. In fact, I have contemplated giving up alcohol - or at least cutting back. In the two days that followed this hangover, I had awful nights' sleep, craved carbs and sugars and just felt absolutely shattered. Were the endless flow of drinks worth it looking back? Erm, no.

Despite this slight hiccup, I have been pretty good and even started week three how I have planned with another paced run - this time near my family home on the trails which was a nice change. I am now up to 3.5 miles for these sessions and again, it was a tad too speedy (average pace was 7.45 again). Being amongst the woodland and breathing in fresh, country air did the body good though.
Next week I head home for Christmas and for me this will be the biggest challenge. The temptation to sit eating a tin of Quality Street in front of The Grinch will be huge, however, I will try my hardest to stick to my plan and carry out each session planned. I have made Christmas Day and Boxing Day my rest days so I can indulge then :).

Lipstick Runner.

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