JASR Half Marathon Training: Week 6

Happy Sunday! This past week was #6 of training for the Just a Short Run Half Marathon, which will be my 8th half marathon. I'm following the Hansons' Half Marathon Method for the second time.

This past week was tough and the first where I started feeling tired. My easy run paces were slower, my legs were tired for most of my runs, and all three of my SOS (something of substance) workouts were very difficult. I looked back through my posts from when I did this plan the first time, and sure enough week 6 was the first time I started feeling tired back then. What's funny is that this past week I started doubting whether I could do 10 more weeks of this plan. Wouldn't you know, I started having those doubts in week 6 the last time too. That's why I wrote my post about how to handle a hard training plan--like I said in that post, my main strategy this week will just be looking at one day out on the plan and not the whole plan.

The big highlight of the week is that I noticed my body shape is changing. My legs are leaner, and I'm more toned. My legs are leaner!!! What I mean by that is that I notice less fat and more muscle. As someone who has had issues with my legs my whole life, this is pretty much the most wonderful thing that can happen. I'm not the only one who's noticed either. Yesterday I visited my family, and the first thing my aunt asked was if I'd lost weight and that I looked like I had. I had a loss the first week of the year but won't know if I lost again this week until I weigh in later in the week. So, I probably haven't lost, or not enough to notice at least. So it has to be the running that's making my legs leaner. I'm still logging my points in Weight Watchers, but I'm following the Racing Weight guidelines for increasing carbs based on my training load.  I'm going to do a post on how I'm meeting the carb guidelines--I'm doing it much more smartly this time than last time--but suffice to say I'm eating a lot. I looked back at my weight history, and last summer when I was eating this much and running this much I was at my lowest weight of the year. I know that some people gain when they run more, but somehow for me lots of running plus lots of eating (mostly carbs) equals being slimmer. Big yay for that!

Here's how last week went down. As usual, I'm joining Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin for their fun Weekly Wrap. I've been thinking of both of them because they ran the Walt Disney World Marathon today as their first full marathons! Please join me in congratulating them! I can't wait to hear how it went!

Weekly Recap

Easy run: 4 miles | 54:05 | 13:31 pace (26 and snowing)
Lululemon Herringbone Think Fast Longsleeve, Purple Fog Spring Forward Jacket,
Black Neckwarmer, Black/Coco Pique Run Toque, Heathered Slate/White Run Gloves
Athleta Asphalt Polartec Tights

There was snow and some icy patches on the trail, so I took this run really easy. In the evening I did 12 minutes of strength with body-weight exercises.

6 X 600 Repeats: 8 miles | 1:36:07 (23 degrees and bitter cold)
Lulu White Pique Think Fast Hoodie, Ultra Violet Run Toque, Black Tech Speed Tights
This was one of my miserable runs ever. I woke up at 4 a.m. and saw that it was 10 degrees, feels like 2. I ran outside all last winter on many colder days, but I was doing much less mileage on a different plan. It's one thing to go out in frigid weather for a few easy miles, but since I had speedwork with 8 total miles, I decided to wait to run until after work when it would be warmer, even though I really don't like running after work. I got to work really early so that I could leave early and get some miles in before the sun went down. All day I tried to be positive about this run. And when I went out, it was sunny and didn't feel too bad, so I was optimistic it would be a good run. I did my 1-mile warm-up and then the first repeat, and after that I was mentally done with the run. The sun was in my eyes, there were a bazillion people on the trail, and I was just annoyed and didn't feel like running. I decided right then to do only 4 of the 8 repeats that were on the schedule. After the 4th one, the sun went down, leaving me with a feeling of despair and misery. I like running in the dark of the mornings and don't know why the dark of evenings feels so much worse! I'd decided that if I cut my repeats short I was still going to get in the 8 miles. But as soon as the sun went down after the 4th one, it got much colder. I'd under dressed on purpose because I knew I'd be doing speedwork. So there I was halfway through my run, sweaty from my repeats, the temperatures dropping fast, and starting to get chilled to the bone. I decided I needed to keep doing my repeats just to try to stay warm, so I forced myself to do a 5th. And after that one I forced myself to do a 6th but at that point I had absolutely no energy left to get anywhere close to my paces or to take the gel I brought with me and also had no mental energy to push myself. My target pace was originally 9:23, but I'd decided before the run to try for the 9:35 I did in the 400-meter repeats. My splits were 9:26, 9:51, 9:28, 9:43, 9:51, 10:10. I had 2 more miles of easy running to go and was getting colder and colder. My fingers were so numb that I could no longer hold my water bottle. I tried to run with it in my armpit but then just put it in the side pocket of my pants, which was pretty awkward. I should have cut the run short, but I felt so guilty about shortening my repeats that I was determined to do all 8 miles. But it was really bad. I was so cold that I was convinced that if I stopped running I would die of hypothermia. I'm sure that wasn't the case but thinking about my imminent death was not a good mindset. Usually I stop my run on the trail and do a cool-down walk back to my house, but on this run I ran right up to my door because I knew I'd be much colder if I walked. The rest of the night was just as bad. I was so wiped out that I didn't even do my foam rolling and spent the night in bed under blankets. I knew I should eat after a hard workout like that but was so beat even eating seemed like too much work. I ended up eating some frozen Kashi waffles and then just going to sleep for the night.

The next day, a coworker who does a bike commute to work year-round was telling me how cold he was on his ride home. I told him my story and wondered why I've never been cold like that running before and it was 23, which isn't super cold. His theory is that he's never as cold on his morning commute because his core temperature is higher from sleeping and being warm all night. His core temperature gets lower as the day goes on, and by the time he leaves work for the day, his internal temperature isn't as high. I do wonder if that's what happened to me. I've never been so cold like that!

Rest day! I very much needed this rest. I did 30 minutes of yin yoga.

Tempo run: 5 miles | 56:42 (22 degrees, feels like 18)
Lululemon Longsleeve Swiftly (not seen), Full Tilt Longsleeve,
Spring Forward Jacket, Speed Tights, Beat the Sleet Pants,
Neckwarmer, Run Toque, Gloves and Mittens

Tuesday's cold run pretty much traumatized me. I'm the queen of cold weather running! What happened to me? So when I saw how cold it was Thursday morning, I bundled up even though I knew I'd be doing a hard workout. I had three miles at my goal pace of 10:40 plus warm-up and cool-down. Splits were 10:32, 10:34, 10:32. I've been trying to run these pace runs by feel and have consistently been faster than my 10:40 pace. I've been wondering whether I should aim for a 10:30 goal pace. Because my main goal is simply to get the training in and not get a big PR, I think I'm going to give myself a range of 10:30-10:40 so that I have some flexibility. I ran my last race within a goal pace range, and that worked really well. I had no problems with being cold on this run.

In the evening I did 17 minutes of strength training.

Easy run: 4 miles | 52:31 | 13:09 pace  (24 degrees)
Lulu Antidote Cool Racerback & Heathered Cadet Blue Longsleeve Swiftly
Athleta Half Zip & Wind Warrior Tights
Lulu Silver Fox Miss Misty Jacket & Heathered Slate Run Toque

Long run: 10 miles | 1:59:38 | 11:58 pace  (40 degrees)
Athleta White Plush Tech Hoodie
Lulu Grape First Base Tank & Space Dye Camo Tender Violet Black Grape Speed Tight IV

There was a Pittsburgh Marathon kick-off training run that I'd registered for, but for a few different reasons I decided to run at North Park instead. I met Anna, who did the first 5.5 miles with me. When I took my dog out before I left, I was slipping on icy streets and sidewalks, even though it was pretty warm. I heard later that there was a cold fog that created ice when it touched down. Here's a picture of the fog at North Park:

It was a little icy when we started, but road crews were out salting the roads and the running path at the park (they are really good to us runners!), so we didn't have much problem with ice. It was a bit chilly at first, but it warmed up, the sun came out, and it was really nice. Still, this was a tough run for me. It was tough even while I was running with Anna, so the rest of the run without her was even harder. My legs were really tired, and I found my long run pace (goal 11:56) to be more work than it usually is. I was mentally strong though and was able to keep pushing, making my last mile the fastest.

Easy run: 6 miles | 1:18:21 | 13:04 pace  (47 degrees and misty)
Athleta White Chi Top
Lulu Bordeaux Drama Speed Tight & Run Like the Wind Hat
My legs were very tired at first, but I ended this run feeling pretty good. Afterward I did 24 minutes of strength training using weights.

My lesson learned for the week is that if I can't run in the morning, I'm probably going to skip the run because after-work runs just do not work for me!

Happy running and working out this week!

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