Guys, it’s nearly here! The More/Shape Women’s Half Marathon takes place this coming Sunday, and I’m on the last week of my training plan. I’m feeling nervous for the race, despite all my training I still don’t feel like I’ve done enough to run 13.1 miles.
Training for a half marathon: How did we get here?
Let’s check out the training schedule:
I’ve completed most of my training plan, but there really are too many red boxes there. I do need to learn how to be more disciplined. Especially that missed long run, you should never skip the long runs!
I’m so annoyed I missed that. I hate seeing a red box on such an important run. Look at it:
Seriously. Look at it
I’m hoping it’s the only long run I miss this year, they’re too important!
Anyways, I’m getting off track. For me, training for a half marathon mainly consisted of running (obviously), with some strength work, some races and a curveball obstacle race workout thrown in for good measure. Let’s recap the last 12 weeks:
Weeks 1-3: Starting the training plan
My first few weeks started well; I completed every workout on the training plan for the first two weeks, no red boxes at all. The end of week 2 saw my first road race of the year too, the Gridiron 4 mile race in Central park. I managed an 11 minute mile pace for the 4 miles, I was fairly happy with that!
I was doing well, I was running consistently and getting strength workouts in at the gym. For strength I was focusing on squats, deadlifts, bench press, shoulders, biceps and triceps. My weights weren’t too heavy, but I was more interested in proper form than in making gains!
In week 3 I bought my new GPS watch too, a Garmin Forerunner 235. If you read the blog regularly you will know that it is my new One True Love (sorry Jon…)
Weeks 1-3: 13/15 Workouts completed, 87% success rate
Weeks 4-6: Spartan parking lots
Week 4 started rocky; I missed 2 of my first 3 planned workouts. I did spend most of weeks 4 and 5 obsessed with my new GPS watch, and testing out how accurate it was. I even went to the extent of wearing my old GPS watch and new watch at the same time, and then made fun graphs to compare the two. I did intend to write a blog post about it but sadly never got around to it. If you were wondering, they were pretty consistent to each other.
In week 5, I also had the opportunity to take part in a free Spartan Race workout, which took place in a parking lot in 20F temperatures – chilly! I was sore for a good few days after that one, two hours of burpees and bear crawls will do that to you!
Fun morning at the @spartanrace #spartanworkout in NJ. Burpees in a car park lead to blisters on your palms, who'd have known?? Treated myself to a new foam roller from #roadrunnersports with the 25% discount too. Best part was watching @sabbehn lifting a stranger for a 120lb front squat. Hardcore! Thanks for a fun morning ladies! @jsher058
I missed 1 run in week 5 but got myself back on track for week 6, completing all of my planned workouts plus the Washington Heights Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5k (wow, that’s a mouthful!). I really pushed myself in this race, aiming for a PR – but wow, there were some epic hills in this race so I did fall a little short. I’m OK with that though as I think I got a pretty good time for such a challenging course.
All smiles at the @NYRR #washheights5k today! Clearly the photo was taken before we realized it's the hilliest, most challenging 5k course of doom. Not a course to run a PR, but I'll take my 31:52 with pride. Finished off with a 3 mile run home to mark the half way point of my training for the @moreshapehalf in April!
Weeks 1-3: 12/15 Workouts completed, 80% success rate
Weeks 7-9: Shoes and more shoes
By week 7, I had started getting some serious blisters on the arches of my feet, so I decided to splash out and get some new running shoes. It’s never a good idea to buy new things before a big race, so 5 weeks gave me plenty of time to break them in. Unfortunately I didn’t quite get it right the first time – I bought shoes that were the World’s Most Uncomfortable and it really impacted my runs. I tried to run on them a few times but had to cut my runs short because my feet were hurting so much. I couldn’t believe the difference it made!
Now, I don’t blame the shoes, because everybody’s feet are different. These ones just weren’t for me. Thankfully I had bought them from Road Runner Sports who give you 90 days to test run your shoes – if you don’t fall in love with them then you can exchange them, no questions asked. I ended up taking them back and getting a pair of Adidas Ultra Boosts – and dear god, these are the best shoes I’ve ever run on. So, so SO SO SO comfortable. They felt like slippers when I put them on.
My long runs were getting longer now, I was reaching 8 mile runs at the weekends and really building my base midweek. By end of week 9 my shortest runs were 5 miles. It turns out that you run quite a lot when you’re training for a half marathon!
The problem with losing weight is that you can't control where you lose it from. These days I'm getting a pretty thin face, but my arms are starting to eclipse my head. But it doesn't matter, it's all about the long game. This #internationalwomensday, remember that you're capable of whatever you set your mind to, no matter what you look like or how much you weigh. Me? I'll just keep running like a girl #findyourstrong #RunLikeAGirl
Week 9 also saw the NYRR Spring Classic 10k which got me a PR by over 3 minutes!!
Weeks 7-9: 14/15 Workouts completed, 93% success rate (but lower mileage than planned on 2 workouts)
Weeks 10-12: Home stretch and home themed races
Week 10 saw the NYRR Scotland Run, another 10k in Central park which didn’t bring another PR but was an awesome race that I ran with a friend. We actually ran the whole race together at the same pace which was a nice treat! Any excuse to talk about Scotland is good for me too, it is my home country after all.
That face you make when you're in a Celtic top and Scotland shorts, at a race called the Scotland run, and someone asks you if you're Irish #seriouslythough I love that today's @nyrr #SCOTLANDRUN was entirely in torrential rain, very appropriate! You know you're a Scottish ex-pat when miserable weather makes you think of home 😂😂 #scotland
The last two weeks I’ve been getting used to doing speed work on the treadmill too, I’m doing 400m repeats at 9.5 minute miles on the treadmill once every week, to try and build myself up to a sub-30 minute 5k. So far it’s going well, but it’s difficult! Running fast is hard! I’m also not sure how sensible it is to push for a sub-30 5k while also training for a half marathon, but let’s throw caution to the wind and just see how it goes…
I’ve had to calm the strength work down, as I’m getting some knee pain in my right knee when I squat. So my strength work has been cut down from 2 days a week to 1, and leg work hasn’t featured much. Every week I try to squat, and if my knee hurts then I stop straight away. I’m not sure if I have poor form or if there’s something more serious, but either way I’m planning to find a physio soon to make sure I’m checking these things out before they escalate into a much bigger issue.
I also started feeling some mild shin splints at the end of week 10 so really worked on foam rolling in week 11. I have such a love/hate relationship with my foam roller, it simulates a sports massage so it feels awful but great, you know what I mean? So painful, but so much better when you’re done.
Yesterday was my last (and longest!) long run before the half marathon, 10 miles in total. I’m not gonna lie, it was difficult. I thought about giving up so many times but I remembered the missed 9 mile long run and how much it annoyed me, and it kept me pushing through.
I must admit I’m having a slight crisis of faith, I am worried about the half marathon. With the amount I struggled yesterday, I have some serious concerns about managing to run for 13.1 miles. I revisited my original time goals that I set back in January, and had a little chuckle to myself at how ambitious I was! Let’s check them out again:
- Shamrock 5k: Finish in under 31 minutes (I finished in 31:52)
- Spring Classic 10k: Finish in under 1 hour and 5 minute (I did it in 1 hour and 6)
- More / Shape Half: Finish in under 2 hours and 25 minutes (11 minute miles!!)
I especially enjoy that I ran a PR by 3 minutes at the Spring Classic 10k, and it was still longer than the targets I set myself. So, let’s do this realistically. For the half marathon, I would like to push for 12 minute miles, which gives me a finish time of 2:37:19. So let’s round that to 2:40:00 – that’s my new target. This is roughly the pace that I ran the 10 miler yesterday, so that’s ambitious but realistic (unlike an 11 minute mile half, which is ambitious and not at all realistic!)
T minus 6 days till 13.1
I won’t lie. I’m nervous. Despite completing most of my training plan, I’m worried because I know I could have put in more effort than I did. I probably did too many training runs on flat ground, which isn’t good preparation for 2 loops round Central Park, let’s be honest. However, I’m here now and the only thing I can do is give it my all and hope that my blood, sweat and tears will see me through to the end.
Well, guys. It’s been a fun ride. I’ll see you on the other side.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see how the race goes!