Week 3: Half-marathon update

This past week was a great training week for me. I ran four times during the week, including a tempo run on Tuesday evening at a beautiful track in Boston (with a great view of the city in the background), a short 3.5-mile run on Wednesday morning, a long 7-mile run on Saturday morning and a short recovery run on Sunday.

The tempo run was good besides the heat. Last week was the first heat-wave of the summer up here in New England and my lungs could definitely tell. I did the 3-mile tempo run in the evening as the sun was going down but the heat was pretty tough even at that time. The next morning, I woke up early to begin my run at 6:30 a.m. to try to beat the sun and the heat. It worked for the most part but towards the end I was feeling the heat.

My long run on Saturday was the longest I had ever run and it felt fantastic! It was 7 miles long, along the coast of Maine. The distance wasn’t bad at all but there were a lot of hills that got to me. The biggest ascent was in mile 5 and was 74 feet, with 0 feet of descent. That was tough! The total ascent was 144 feet and 139 feet of descent. But for the most part, I think I did pretty well. I averaged a 9:10 mile during the run and I’m hoping I can keep that up as I increase mileage.

My Sunday recovery run was the best of the week. It was a quick 5-k- I didn’t time it but it was roughly 25 minutes- along the coast of Maine again. My cousin Paige did the run with me and it was so hot when we went out that we came up with the ingenious idea to wear sports bras on our run and our bathing suit bottoms underneath our shorts. Immediately after we finished the run we went down to the beach, took off our shorts and dove into the cool Atlantic. It was amazing! I felt so great after it was over, I wanted to do it again.

Overall I’m really pleased with my training this week. On my off days I did strength training to build muscle in my legs and core. I learned a lot about how my body reacts to distance and I am going to use that for my next long run. I hope you all had a great week running too! Be on the lookout this week for a post about the myths of “runner’s high.” Happy running!

Week 2: Half-marathon training update

Just finished week two of my half-marathon training and it went pretty well. I ran three times this week, one short and easy run, a longer run and a tempo run. I made a beautiful mistake with my tempo run this week however. I set out on the track to do the same run as last week (see my last post about “Demystifying the Tempo Run”) but instead of running 100-meter intervals, I accidentally ran 200-meter intervals, essentially doubling my run. I call this a beautiful mistake because I didn’t realize it until I finished and I still felt great, which was a huge improvement from the first time I tried the tempo run.

This week I am looking to do the same training plan but up my mileage by one mile for each run, with the exception of the tempo run. I also am looking to add in some more strengthening exercises this week to keep my body strong, building endurance.

Look forward to more posts this week about nutrition for runner’s, gear updates and more! I hope y’all enjoyed the weekend!

Demystifying the tempo run

How To Run A Tempo WorkoutWhen I started running, I kept hearing about tempo runs. I thought they sounded intimidating so I never attempted one. I knew they would good for speed work, but my focus was distance. I knew they were good for strengthening, but I did weight training. I also knew they were good for building endurance, but my three-times-a-week cardio kickboxing class did the trick for that. What I didn’t know is that when you start working full-time, it’s not as easy to run long runs every other day with cardio kickboxing classes in between.

Tempo runs are perfect to throw into any consistent running routine because they have the benefits of endurance and strength training packaged into one workout. As I train for the half-marathon in September, I’m learning tempo runs will be the key to allowing me to run the full 13.1 miles without being as tired.

Distance runners use tempo runs not only to work on speed but to increase endurance. According to an article on Runner’s World’s website, the “best predictor of distance-running performance is your lactate threshold, which is the speed you are able to run before lactic acid begins to accumulate in the blood. ” After lactic acid is released into the blood, you start to feel fatigued and will have to slow down. Tempo runs help to slow down this process and in essence, speed up your run.

Traditional Tempo Run

If you haven’t tried a tempo run before, I would suggests starting with a traditional tempo run first. This consists of a 2-mile jog warm-up to loosen up your muscles and get your heart rate up. Then, you run for 2-miles at a “tempo” pace. This is NOT a sprint! Tempo pace is typically referred to as “comfortably hard.” You want to run faster than your normal pace but not so fast that it becomes difficult. After you finish the 2-mile tempo run, conclude your workout with a 2-mile jog/walk cool down.

As you start to get better at this, add a half a mile to your tempo run every two weeks. Pretty soon you’ll be able to run up to 6 miles at tempo pace.

Interval Tempo Run

If this is difficult, another option is to do a modified tempo run my uncle showed my cousin and me last weekend. This endurance-building run is easiest to do on a track. Start off with a 1-mile warm-up run around the track. Once you’re done with that, beginning at the 100-meter mark (the straightaways of the track) run at a fast pace, again NOT a sprint, but a pretty comfortably hard pace. When you get to the curve of the track, slow down to a jog to recover your breathe. Repeat this 8 times, equaling 2 miles. Then, do another 1-mile jog/walk cool down.

As always, don’t forget to stretch!