BCHM Training with Hansons: Week 8

This past week of training for the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon using the Hansons' Half-Marathon Method was tough. This was the first week in the "difficult" phase of the plan according to the book, and they weren't kidding. Running-wise, it was great. I got in all my runs and workouts, enjoyed some cool weather, and saw some improved paces. But I worked for it all, and it was tough. And because my running took so much out of me, I didn't do all the strength training I wanted to.

I ran 177.75 miles in August! That seems crazy to me, and I didn't trust that Daily Mile had it right when I saw it, so I added it up twice manually. Yep, nearly 178 miles. Definitely a new monthly PR!

Week at a Glance

 Physical Health

Emotional Health

Actually pretty good. I'm realizing the benefits of having hard runs and feeling fatigued, and that helps. Scott Jurek wrote in Eat & Run something about thinking being the enemy of the ultramarathoner. Well, thinking is my enemy now too. If I start thinking about how hard the training is and how much more I have to do of it, then I start to feel overwhelmed and start to question why I'm even doing it. Instead, I'm taking it one day, one run, at a time. I did, however, notice that I am over the halfway point in the plan, and I see the light at the end of the tunnel.


You know how I'm doing the all-the-carbs thing based on Racing Weight's guidelines (here's a post if you missed it.) In that post, I said how in order to get all the carbs, I had to reduce some of my fruits and veggies. Last week I decided that I can't do that anymore. Eating all the veggies and fruits is such a big part of who I am, and my body is really craving more. So I need to add back in my veggies and fruits, even if that comes at the expense of eating all the high-quality carbs I'm supposed to. I'll have to see whether this affects my performance and may need to adjust again.

Thoughts About the Hansons' Plan

This was my first week on the half-marathon-specific training block aimed at preparing the body to handle the fatigue associated with endurance running. I'll be writing a separate post about the new SOS workout, the strength workout, but the gist is: Wow. I can see how this training really prepares you for a half-marathon. My SOS workouts mimicked the feelings of fatigue I've felt in races, and I think pushing through on these runs is going to really benefit me on race day. Previously in training, I've felt discouraged when my training runs--especially race pace runs--feel hard. Now I'm seeing these runs as opportunities to practice pushing when I get tired. And I can feel the results of the cumulative fatigue on even my easy runs, where my legs aren't fresh and are pretty tired. This was my third week of 40+ mileage, and between that and the new, endurance-specific phase of the plan, some of my easy runs this week were a challenge just to do.

I've also seen my paces drop a bit, though that could be because of the cooler weather. My easy run paces at the beginning of the plan were about 13:30 and now they are about 12:50.

Also, this plan takes appreciating my rest days to a whole new level!

Weekly Recap

Easy run: 5 miles, 1:04:22, 12:52 pace
At 72 degrees, this was only one of two warm-weather runs of the week. Autumn paid a visit for the rest of the week, which was just wonderful.
Oiselle White Mesh Tank
Lulu Electric Orange Pace Rival Skirt,
Creamsicle Energy Bra,
Beachscape Bangbuster

In the evening I did 30 minutes of yin yoga.

Strength run: 9 miles, 1:47:09
It was just 58 degrees and blissfully cool, so I was excited for the first of these new workouts. I did 6 1-mile repeats at 10:40 goal (10 seconds faster than half marathon pace) with .25-mile recovery plus warm-up and cool-down. Splits were 10:36, 10:39, 10:35, 10:33, 10:35, and 10:36. While the pace did not feel hard, by the last two repeats I was feeling like how I always feel at the end of races--legs like lead, very fatigued, and just wanting to be done. It took a big effort to keep pushing at the end and also to complete the cool-down run when I just felt like I was running on empty. I should note that this run is the 6th consecutive day of running on my plan, so I think that makes it especially tough. And to do this all at 5 a.m. before work really beat me up. Even my amino acid recovery drink didn't stop me from feeling tired for the rest of the day. Still, I was proud that I completed this workout, and 9 miles is my new pre-work run PR.
Lulu Heathered Jeweled Magenta Swiftly &
Jeweled Magenta Mesh Bangbuster
Athleta Heathered Black Relay Skort

Rest day! I earned this rest day, that's for sure. I did 25 minutes of hip opening yoga poses.

Tempo run: 7 miles, 1:20:25
My miles at goal race pace (10:50) increased to 5 this week. Even though I had a rest day before, I didn't feel rested for this run. It was nice that it was just 60 degrees and cool, but by the third mile at race pace I started to feel very tired and the pace felt pretty hard. This is the first week I've tried my faster race pace. I took it mile by mile and kept pushing. The last mile at race pace was very tough, but I made it my fastest. Splits were 10:44, 10:49, 10:55, 10:47, and 10:41. I actually liked this run being tough in that it gave me the opportunity to practice pushing. The last few miles of the race could very well feel like this, so I was glad to have the practice and proud that I stayed strong. But like Tuesday's workout, I felt pretty zapped for the rest of the day. I was working from home so was able to take a brief nap at lunch, but I still had zero energy after that. Instead of doing a strength training session in the evening like I planned, I took another nap--this one about an hour before I went to bed!

On a weather note, I'd been pretty chilly on Tuesday wearing just a tank, so I decided to wear a long sleeve top for this run. Of course, I got really hot! I think I have to accept that I'm going to either be too hot in a long sleeve and too chilly in a tank.
Athleta Exhilaration Top
Lulu White Hit Your Stride Skirt,
Heathered Coal All Sport Bra,
Pretty Purple Bangbuster

Easy run: 6 miles, 1:17:09, 12:51 pace
It was 58 degrees again and very cool, but my legs just felt so heavy and so tired. It took about 3 miles before I felt a little better, but even so this was still tough for an easy run. The highlight was that a lone goose, seemingly lost from his flock, started racing me and honked at me as I passed!
Athleta Chi Top & Raspberry Relay Skort
Lulu Zing Pink Light Energy Bra & Regal Plum Flyaway Tamer

I went to bed early to get an extra hour of sleep to prepare for Saturday's long run.

Long run: 10 miles, 1:56:49, 11:42 pace
After a week of feeling tired, I was worried about this long run. My goal was to get the miles in first and worry about my pace second. My goal race is a flat course, so I've done my past few long runs on the flat trail by my house. For this run, I wanted to do something different so headed to North Park to run on its five-mile loop of rolling hills. When I got there, it was very cool--in the mid to upper 50s. Walkers were wearing sweatshirts and long pants, and even some runners had long sleeve shirts on. I had just a tank on, and I was very cold at first. My fingers actually felt a little frozen. I think because I was eager to warm up, I started out faster than I wanted, even though I wanted to run the first mile or so slow and ease into my pace. While I was shooting for about a 12:00 pace, I knew that my long run pace can be anywhere between 11:20 and 12:50, so I made a deal with myself that if I was running faster at the beginning, I'd run faster at the end too. I always think that flat courses are easier, but I don't think that's true, at least for me. The uphill parts of the course give me a bit of a challenge to break up the monotony of the run, and the downhills just feel so good. I was running at a faster pace than I've done a long run in maybe ever, and I had no problems and felt fantastic the whole run. North Park is a big destination for runners, walkers, and cyclists, and on this loop you pass a lot of people going the opposite way on the loop. I was entertained by hearing bits of conversation as people passed me and checking out what everyone was wearing. One guy kept passing me the opposite way, and he smelled soooo good that I was tempted to ask him to run with me just so that I could keep smelling him. After 5 miles, I stopped briefly at my car to refill my water bottle, take a Salt Stick cap, and put on my music. The last 5 miles went as easily as the first, and I think I had a smile on my face for a lot of it. As soon as my last mile started, a group of cross country high school boys passed me, and I tried to stick with them for a bit just to set a faster pace. That worked well, and I had no problem making that last mile the fastest at an 11:26 pace. I felt awesome!
Lorna Jane Nectarine Excel Mesh Tank
Skirt Sports Streak Gym Girl Ultra Skirt
Lulu Black Run for Days Bra & White Run Visor

As soon as I got home, showered, and ate, we had to head back out to meet our friends and their greyhounds at the dog pool. Django had so much fun. He had a big grin on his face and was wagging his tail almost the whole time. He always gets a lot of laughs because he runs into the pool and then just lies down in the water. Our three greyhounds were having so much fun that we ended up staying for 2.5 hours until the picnic they were having started so that the dogs could have doggie ice cream. By the time we got home, Django and I were both exhausted. I spent an hour or so prepping food for dinner and then had to take a brief nap.

Here's Django and me at the dog pool.
A photo posted by Jennifer Kent (@jennifer_kent) on

Here's Django waiting patiently for his doggie ice cream.
A photo posted by Jennifer Kent (@jennifer_kent) on
Easy run: 5 miles, 1:03:21, 12:40 pace
Again I met Anna in Shadyside. We did a nice little route through the pretty Point Breeze neighborhood. It was hot again--70 and very humid--and I was definitely struggling. There were a few little uphills through the city streets that felt very tough. I was hot, and again my legs just felt very tired. Fortunately, chatting with Anna occupied my thoughts, so it ended up being an enjoyable run. I'm pretty sure if I'd have done this run on my own, I'd have been miserable.
Athleta Cobblestone Grey Extra Long Chi Tank &
Fiji Green Fair Isles Skort
Lulu Regal Plum Energy Bra

I was supposed to do strength training, but only had time to do about 10 minutes. Oh well, at least it was something. After I was showered and ate, I made chocolate chip banana bread to use up some overripe bananas, and then Dave, Django, and I drove the hour out to my mom's house to spend the day. It's my birthday this week, so my family made me dinner--veggie burgers and veggies on the grill, sauteed potatoes and onions, and baked beans. My family is a really big meat-and-potatoes family, and when I first went vegan I didn't even tell them for about a year because I knew they'd be stressed about what they could make me. For the first five years after I went vegetarian, they still didn't understand why I wouldn't eat hot dogs (I guess they assume it's not really meat). They have come such a long way! They came up with the meal idea on their own, and while it seems pretty basic, it was just perfect and I love them for planning it for me. They did have non-vegan cake for me, and I did eat a small piece. After dinner, we went inside to watch a video my aunt had made of very old home movies. I saw myself as a baby at my christening, watched me as a little girl playing with kittens, and saw birthday parties and holidays with relatives who have since died. It was very touching and made me both laugh and cry.

It was a wonderful day, but when I got home I was very tired. And with two full weekend days, I didn't get to do the chores or errands I usually do on weekends. As I write this on Monday, I feel like I didn't really get a chance to recharge over the weekend like I usually do, but I'm happy I have a long weekend next weekend to get caught up on everything.

This upcoming week is going to be a very tough one, with one of the two longest-mileage Tuesday runs on the plan plus a 12-mile long run. And it's supposed to get hot again, with highs in the 90s most days. Fun times ahead!

Happy running and working out this week!

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