February 18, 2018

Weekly Wrap-Up: Week 5 of Half Marathon Training

Let me start by saying that this week was everything that last week was not. Last week, I was bitter and dreaded running like you wouldn't believe. Thankfully, this week was much better!

I've made it through five whole weeks of training, and I haven't strayed from the schedule even once :)

My schedule for this week was as follows:

Tuesday - Speed work (Tempo Run)
Wednesday - 3 miles easy
Friday - 3 miles easy
Sunday - 7 mile long run

The roads were still very icy at the beginning of the week, and I was just praying that they would clear up before my long run today.

Tuesday - Tempo Run

10 minutes easy pace
15 minutes at tempo pace (hard enough to want to slow down, but not so hard that I want to die)
10 minutes easy pace

I always get a little nervous for tempo runs, because they are uncomfortable. They are the most helpful runs as far as training goes, though (at least for me), so they are necessary.

I started with 10 minutes at 5.0 mph (12:00/mi pace). Then I switched to my tempo pace--last time, I ran at 6.0 mph (10:00/mi) but I felt like I probably should have gone a little faster. So, I decided to run at 6.2 mph (9:40/mile) and see how I felt.

Surprisingly, I felt pretty good! It was tough enough that I was slightly uncomfortable, but I knew that I would be able to finish it. My heart rate was in the low 160's, which was right where I would like it to be for that run. Next time, I may try 6.3 mph.

After the tempo portion, I switched back to 12:00/mile. Finished!

Wednesday - Easy Run

3 miles at an easy pace

This run, I got fed up with the heart rate monitor. It was giving me erratic readings, probably because the battery was low. And I still have no idea how the HR monitor affects the pace on the watch (I remember reading about it a long time ago, and never really got an answer). But the pace was off as well, so while I was running, I just took off the monitor completely.

I ran at 5.5 mph (11:00/mile) for most of the run, until the end when I bumped it up just a little to get it done faster. When I was done with my run, I started looking online for a new heart rate monitor for my Garmin. I had looked before, but they are so expensive to replace! After lots of reading, I decided to go back to the old school monitor that I wore when I had the Garmin Forerunner 305.

It arrived in the mail in time for my next run! There is no monitor to snap on and off from the strap. It stays in one whole piece.

The front half (the part that goes under your boobs) of it is a rubbery/plastic material, which I find more comfortable than the newer version.

The clasp is nice--instead of sliding the elastic into a hook, you clip this in place...

The difference between the two (as far as the features go) is just that the newer model (it's commonly called the "soft strap" version) gives you readings such as ground contact time (how long your foot touches the ground when running), vertical oscillation (how high your body goes up in the air as you run), and it supposedly has an accelerometer in it so that you don't need a foot pod when running indoors.

Those features mean nothing to me--even though I absolutely love numbers and data, the ground contact time and vertical oscillation just don't turn me on. I never, ever look at those numbers. I also remembered the old school strap being more comfortable--I didn't get any chafing from it. And the battery is ten thousand times easier to change out.

As I mentioned last week, the soft strap HR monitor has four TINY screws to open the battery compartment, and it is nearly impossible to unscrew them without stripping the screws. I've "ruined" three of them that way. The old school strap is super easy--you just use a coin to turn the backing and it pops right off.

After using this again, I am so glad I made the switch! It's MUCH cheaper to buy, too--I got this Garmin strap for $16, versus $43 for the premium version I was using before. From the reviews I've read, these old school ones are better quality and last much longer than the newer ones, too. Sometimes old school is just the way to go ;)

Anyway, onward with my training...

Friday - Easy Run

3 miles at an easy pace

The ice melted!! I finally, finally got to run outside. This was the only run that I was procrastinating this week. I just didn't feel like running. I was super tired (I hadn't slept well at all) and I wanted to be lazy. I nearly talked myself into waiting until Saturday to do it, but I don't want to get into that habit of pushing my runs to the next day for no real reason.

I headed outside, and running outside was SO nice. I was absolutely freezing, though--the wind was strong, and it was really cold out. I should have dressed warmer, but it was only three miles. I stopped at my mom's house about a mile in because she asked me to feed her cat, and then finished the run.

I hadn't looked at my watch the entire time I ran, because I was truly curious to see what my outdoor pace was compared to the treadmill. I ran at a pace that felt similar to what I typically run on the treadmill. Nothing feels SUPER easy these days, treadmill or not, but I certainly didn't feel like I was pushing the pace too hard.

I was shocked, then, when I saw that my average pace was 10:01 for the three miles! I was thrilled that the treadmill at least wasn't making me get slower (not that it would, but it's hard to know how it will affect my outdoor running when I don't run outdoors for a while).

Anyway, it was a good run!

Sunday - Long Run

7 miles at an easy pace

This was my best (and favorite) run of the week! Last night, we got snow--and I was so bummed when I looked outside and saw the roads were covered. I thought I'd be doing my long run on the treadmill, and that was totally disheartening. The temps were supposed to warm to the mid-30's, so I hoped it would be enough to melt the snow by the afternoon.

I was in luck! I headed out at 1:30 pm, and the roads were clear. I really focused on running an easy pace, so that I didn't end up going too fast and hating it. I listened to a podcast while I ran, instead of music, so that I would be more likely to run slowly.

I also ran a route that I don't do very often, because I thought the change would help the mileage go by quickly. And it worked! I felt like the whole run went by so fast. I really enjoyed the run itself, which is rare for me. It felt amazing to be running outside again!

This run was a big confidence builder for me, too. When I first started training again, the thought of running even five miles was daunting. Running seven today means I ran more than half the distance I'll run on race day--exciting!

Next week's long run is eight miles, and that has always been an infamous distance for me. When I was a beginner running, it took me three tries to finish my eight-miler. When I finally did it, I was thrilled! And I have a fondness for that distance now ;)

So, the recap of the week in general is that I got in all my runs and my attitude was much better than last week. I'm going into next week with enthusiasm.


  1. Yay Katie, you are rolling right along! And here I am complaining about 40 degree temps in the morning. It's all relative :)

    1. Thanks! It feels good to be happy about running again :)

  2. Sure is funny how quickly training can go from crappy crappy to I love running! I'm hoping to get out of my funk this week...

    1. Yes! My running is about as bipolar as I am, hahaha.

    2. LOL! I like that, I'm going to call my running bipolar too!

  3. I am curious why you don’t run in snow...some of my favorite runs are in freshly fallen snow!!

    1. I used to not let it phase me... but I'm turning into a wuss now! ;) Haha, but seriously, this time we had a ton of ice, and I just can't run on ice. I focus so much on trying not to fall that it's impossible to enjoy the run. When we get the "sticky" kind of snow (that crunches under foot), I really love to run in it! So, it all just depends on the kind of snow/ice/slush we have :)

  4. Maybe this has been asked before - I'm hoping to start walking... and eventually jogging/running; but do you have the music on as background noise or loud? I'm mostly curious if you are still able to hear things, perhaps sirens behind you or a car screeching, something that would make you be a bit more alert? Hear it before you see it kind of thing.

    1. I always keep it low enough that I can actually hear what's going on around me. I can hear cars that are very far away. Mostly, I keep it low so that I can hear dogs--I am always terrified that a dog will appear out of nowhere and scare the bejesus out of me!

  5. I would be very surprised if the heart rate strap has anything to do with pace. You can use the watch independently from the strap - the pace should be based solely on the GPS.

  6. I have found my treadmill pace is ALWAYS slower than my outside pace- either the treadmill is not calibrated, or I'm afraid to fall off the back! I am inspired by reading your blog- thanks for pointing out the effort-based training, and the heart rates. I appreciate it!


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