Yesterday saw me finally finish my half marathon training plan. To be fair, it doesn’t seem that long since I started the programme and now it’s done. Jeff asked me to do between 6 and 8 miles and, originally, I was going to run my favoured loop up out of the village. However, after all the rain we’d experienced in the morning I thought it best to drive the route first. Good call. It was flooded in four separate places and the flood water had washed away temporary road repairs leaving puddles masking massive potholes.
I opted to run along the shore road instead, surprisingly enough! When I turned my trusty app on Jeff declared that a 7 mile run was on the cards. As my husband pointed out 7 is indeed between 6 and 8 – he missed his calling as an accountant! Grant, my semi-silent cycle riding coach, joined me for this run, declaring that if he cycled behind me he could see my bottom through my running tights. I was delighted to hear this, 4 miles from home.
It was destined to be a long, slow run – no matter what I wanted to do. This was the first time I’d run on the road since completing the Great North Run for a start, but also the pace Jeff dictated was at around 11:30 min/mile. Easy stuff then!
I’ve discovered that I really do need to have a puff of my inhaler before embarking on a long run. This stops me from feeling so tight-chested for the first mile and allows me to just enjoy the run. Without it, I become engrossed by the fact that I am struggling to breathe properly! Yesterday I remembered that as I reached a third of a mile.
So, anyway. It was quite breezy, with the wind on my face as I headed out. At least, I thought, it would push me home! My semi-silent coach had been at a friend’s house and was catching
me up once he’d parked the car and got his bike, so I carried on down towards the shore. My pace felt fine, although I was initially disappointed to see that it was far slower than my race pace for, what felt like, the same amount of effort.
It was only then that, as someone quite new to racing, I realised how effective my training had obviously been. What I was running yesterday was once my fastest long run pace. Now I know I’m easily capable of running a sub 11min/mile pace for 13.1 miles or even longer. What I know I need to do now is to introduce some track work and build up my speed. I’m now looking at Jeff’s Improver plan with April as my target and the Edinburgh Rock and Roll Half Marathon is in my sights.
Yesterday I planned only to run what I needed to do. I ran 3.5 miles out and turned to come back. The last 3 miles felt easier and stronger and I was running faster on them. I tend only to look at my overall pace and run to improve or slow that and at the turn around it was hovering around 11:30. I managed to bring it up to 11:19 by the end of the run, which is no mean feat over a relatively short distance. The important things was that I felt good. My legs felt strong and I was really enjoying running. I could see that my semi-silent coach was having to pedal harder to keep up and, on one hill, I could see the extra effort involved in matching my stride and I laughed. I know that I’m becoming a better and stronger runner. I try not to compare my times to those of others, especially those dramatically faster (that’s you Connie!), but I can see my times tumbling and that makes me very proud of myself.
So my long, slow, easy run looked like this:
A good start, followed by some tougher running into a head wind and then a comfortable run home.
Garmin have also started a personal record section on their site, which I love! At the moment this is mine:
It’s a good reminder of how far I’ve come and how far I want to go!