The latest issue of Runner's World magazine had a special feature on training for a half marathon. Lovely coincidence, since I'm running in my first in October. Part of it featured runners who were attempting to break certain times. By my 10K time, if not my weekly mileage, I fall right around the "break 2:30/break 2:15 groups". But the magazine had a lovely half-marathon training program to "break 2:00 or bust" with every week spelled out for you. Why not, right?
Today's scheduled run was a tempo run. "Run easy for 1 mile to warm up. Then 3 miles at 8:54 per mile. Then run easy for 1 mile to cool down."
Well, the "run easy" part went ok, but it all went south from there. Being as my typical 5K pace is somewhere around 9:30, keeping an 8:54 pace for 3 miles was mighty ambitious. Especially when I had already run a mile, which in my world is still a workout, not a "warm-up". I ended up running the 1 mile warmup, and 1 mile at a faster pace. I actually managed nearly half a mile at an 8:00 or below pace, and reviewing the stats from trailguru.com, it looks like my average pace for the second mile was below 8:54...but it was also down a very gradual slope. And I still had to take a walk break at the end of the second mile.
My running partner hoping I drop the leash when I keel over.
It was all (literally and figuratively) uphill from there. That nearly unnoticable downhill slant to the trail makes it much tougher running back up. I only hit the tempo goal a couple of times and had to take a couple significant walk breaks, even in the last "slow run" mile. (BTW, because I felt a drop of rain...and was sensing an oncoming coronary, I cut out a mile from the tempo section of the run).
Even on the slow run/cool down portion of the run, I ended up doing some walking. Ugh. A bad run is better than no run, right?
Some things I could've done better:
1) Started at the bottom of the train so that I'd be running the first half up and then get to run down the last half.
2) Adjust the tempo run to be more in line with what I can do, maybe a 1/2 mile warm-up, tempo interval of 1 mile, 1/2 mile slow run, maybe another tempo interval, cool down.
3) Run earlier. The humidity was killing me today!