Hal Higdon Half Marathon Training Week 1: 22FEB2016 – 28FEB2016

Time for the return of training recaps!  Last week I started the intermediate half marathon training plan from Hal Higdon.  I’m happy to report that it went pretty well.

First 3 weeks of the plan


Monday – Stretch & Strength: Fitness Blender’s Pilates & Weight

This workout was meant to be a nice and easy start.  I wanted a good mix of stretching and strength training so I decided to hop onto Fitness Blender‘s site and try out their Strength, HIIT, and Pilates video.  The plan didn’t call for any cardio but considering I took the weekend off for my birthday, I wanted to get a small amount of cardio in.  I ended up using some bottles of lemon juice as dumbbells since I had to do this workout at home and I don’t own dumbbells.  You do what you gotta do, right?

Tuesday – 3 Mile Run: 3.05 mi (Splits 7:51, 8:02, 7:53)

Night run in the rain

  I so badly wanted to get my run complete in the morning before my husband left for work.  That didn’t happen.  As fellow mothers know, babies run on their own schedules all the time.  My son had fallen into a predictable morning schedule the week prior so I was banking on that.  Well, this morning was the morning he decided to change everything up.  I was about 5 minutes from leaving our front door when he started crying over the monitor.  Figures.  By the time he was settled and back to sleep, I would have cut it too close with timing to get back before my husband had to take off.  I pushed the run off to the evening.

It started pouring throughout the afternoon.  I really wanted to avoid this storm but it didn’t happen.  I sucked it up and ran outside since I really didn’t want to do a treadmill run.  It was rather relaxing to run in the rain and I felt pretty good throughout the run.  I took an out and back route I normally run through the community across from us.  I wasn’t expecting faster splits but my legs felt extremely fresh from having a few days off from running.  I ended up finishing in 24:07 and averaged a 7:54 pace.  The run felt remarkably easy so I was pleased when I saw these paces.  I know I’ve been running these paces for a while but for someone like me, it never gets old to see sub-8 minute paces.

Wednesday – 5 x 400m @ 5K Pace

I took my speed work to the treadmill since there isn’t a track close enough for me to run to.  I started the run off with a 5 minute warm up at 7.5 MPH (~8:00/mi) then jumped into the speed interval.  I chose 8.5 MPH (~7:03/mi) has my 5K pace since I was able to run a 7:09 average at my last 5K race.  After each speed interval I ran at my recovery pace (8:00) for 1:30.  The recovery in between felt like the perfect length of time.  The rest felt adequate enough to recoup and start the next interval.  Once I got through all 5, I took a little over 1 mile to cool down.  I ended up covering a bit over 4 miles total.  I think next time I’ll take a longer warm up so that I can push a bit harder.  I tend to shortchange myself on warming up because I just want get the workout started.  I think if I take more time to warm up the speed workouts will be a lot more effective.  Anyone out there have any advice in this area?

Thursday – 3 Mile Run & Strength: 3.09 Miles Completed & Fitness Blender’s Shoulder Sculpting

Splits: 8:43, 8:21, 8:12

I completed the run using the same route as Tuesday evening.  It was pretty gusty outside which always makes for an interesting run.  The wind didn’t bother me too much, though. I did, however, feel the fatigue in my legs very quickly thanks to the previous night’s speed work.  My quads felt heavy, a feeling I haven’t had in a while.  I felt like I was slogging through mud the first mile.  Thankfully, once my muscles had a change to warm up I was able to pick up the pace a little.  Soreness is the mark of a good workout, though, so I was glad to feel it this evening.  It showed me that I pushed myself appropriately the night before.

I headed to our gym afterwards to complete the strength portion of the plan.  I decided to focus on my shoulders since I don’t work that area often.  I also wanted something short and the video met that criteria.  I made sure to lift the most I could without compromising form since I wanted to get the most out of the workout.

Friday – Rest Day

…and rest I did!  I can’t reiterate enough how much I love rest days.  It means no pressure to get a workout in after dinner.

Saturday – 3 Mile Run: 3.04 mi (Splits 9:15, 9:09, 9:01)

My dang Garmin didn’t charge properly =-/.  Had to use my RunGo App to keep track today.

 This was uneventful and cold (25 degrees…ugh).  I took a 3 mile loop I haven’t been able to do because of the lack of daylight when I run.  It felt good to actually run the loop rather than the out and back I normally do.  Splits were on the slower side.  One reason for that was I just didn’t feel like running fast.  The other is that I didn’t want to fatigue myself before the 5 miler the next day.

Sunday – 5 Mile Run: 5.01 mi (Splits 8:45, 8:49, 8:14, 8:16, 8:02)

Lovely sunrise post run.

It took me a while to wake up during this run.  As much as I prefer running in the morning to get the run out of the way before my day starts, I have a hard time getting into my running groove when I do run in the morning.  Today was no different.  I ran up the main road to change it up a bit and get some new scenery.  When I saw my splits for the first 2 miles, I knew I could push it more.  After all, I didn’t feel tired or challenged.  I picked it up a bit and was able to drop my split paces a bit.  Nothing extraordinary to note on this run other than I ran in my minimalist shoes for this run.  Boy, did I feel it in my calves after having run the other workouts in my test shoes.  Those muscles may have worked more but since I run in minimalist shoes 99% of the time, my muscles didn’t stay sore for too long.

In all, this was a great start to the training cycle.  It’s the most I’ve run in a little over a month so I really felt the fatigue when the week was over.  I’m hoping this week will be just as good as Week 1.


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