Switching Half Marathon Training Plans – Midstream

My new Wave Rider 16s. I love these shoes!
My new Wave Rider 16s. I love these shoes!

I just finished roughly 70% of the Hal Higdon Half Marathon Training Plan (Novice 1). The training has gone very well and I feel like I’ve gotten a good base level of fitness from it. But overall, it hasn’t seemed as challenging as I thought it would be.

So I’m switching plans midstream to his “Intermediate” one. I thought about doing the “Novice 2″ but it doesn’t seem much more intense than Novice 1. It does have a Pace run mid-week, and a few longer weekend runs, but no speed work. Speed work just sounds fun so I’m going to try it.

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Day 24 Of 36 – Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Plan

Screenshot from 2014-07-27

Day 24 of the training play, 66.7% done. Today was the long run of the week at 8 miles. I did it in the neighborhood, basically out four miles and back four.

Overall it was a pretty good effort. My goal was to run at a steady heart rate (low 160s) for the entire eight miles and just see what pace that turned out to be. The first four miles I averaged almost 10:20 per mile, but was a good bit faster the last four miles (about 9:50 per mile). I’m not sure why this was. The only difference I can think of was that I didn’t drink anything on the way out, and at four miles I had a gel pack and half a bottle of water. At maybe 6 miles I finished the first bottle of water. I finished the last two miles without taking any more water. Could refueling at four miles really help me to run faster and with more energy for the next four miles? Maybe, but I’m not sure.

My average pace for all eight miles was 10:02 and average HR was 158. I’ll call today’s run a success.

Day 23 Of 36 – Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Plan

Screenshot from 2014-07-24

Today’s run was a simple 4.5 miles, done inside on the treadmill. The goal for today was to run it at a 9:00 min/mile pace and see what that did for my heart rate.

The effort didn’t seem too challenging, of course I was on a treadmill and it’s always pretty easy to keep a constant pace when you don’t have to think about it. It was  a pretty good run regardless. My heart rate was very constant at an average of 153.

I guess I was feeling a little ballsy later in the evening, and feeling that this morning’s run didn’t push me too hard, I decided to do some speed work after supper. Nothing major, but about 20 minutes of running fast to get my heart rate up to 170, then walking/jogging until it dropped back to about 130, then running to get it up again.

Screenshot from 2014-07-24 speedwork

It turned out that it only took, maybe, 30-40 seconds of running hard to get my HR that high, and then a minute and a half or two to get it back down. You can see that in the HR plot above. What this doesn’t show you is that my butt and thighs and hamstrings were VERY sore the next day. This speed work stuff is hard. I guess that means I need to do it more often. Just maybe not on a day when I ran that morning.

Day 22 Of 36 – Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Plan

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Nothing special about today’s run. A rather simple 4.5 miles (on the treadmill) at an easy 10:00 pace. I was curious to see what my heart rate would be (since I benchmarked this run a couple weeks ago).

Since I don’t get the GPS splits when running on the treadmill, I have to just look at the overall average and try to guess the trend.

Today’s average heart rate was 142, compared to the 151 two weeks ago. This is definitely an improvement. How much of one? I don’t really know. But it was quite an easy run and my HR was fairly steady throughout (although it did creep up from roughly 140-ish for the first mile or two, to maybe 146 or so by the end.

And oh yeah, day 22 of 36 is 61% done with the training plan. This plan actually ends a couple of weeks before the Navy/Air Force Half Marathon so I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to handle that. Maybe do week 9 twice and week 10 twice so I can do the recommended amount of tapering. We’ll see.


Day 21 Of 36 – Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Plan

Screenshot from 2014-07-20

Day 21 of 36, the Sunday long run was a pretty good effort. We had just gotten back from vacation the night before but I was ready to run. I didn’t wuss out by driving to the Indian Head Rail Trail to run on a flat path, but instead opted to do the 6+ mile loop outside my neighborhood. This is the “Maxwell Hall” loop I typically bike around.

As you can see from the elevation in the Training Peaks screenshot above, there are a couple of big hills on this run. I think I was trying to keep my heart rate at the 75-80% level which is about 145 to 155. I pretty much failed at this and my average for the whole run was 160. But my pace was a lot better than I expected at 10:11 (since it was quite hilly). I think with this distance, on a flat track, I could have easily done it at a 9:30-9:45 pace. Maybe.

Next Sunday is supposed to be an 8-miler which I might run on roughly this same path to see if any of my metrics improve (either pace or heart rate). Or maybe I’ll go to Indian Head and see if I can run 8 miles at a 9-something pace. We’ll see.

Oh yeah, this was a quite good rTSS at 133.8, for roughly an hour and 13 minutes of running.



Day 20 Of 36 – Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Plan

Screenshot from 2014-07-17

Day 20 of 36 of the HHHMTP was basically a repeat of Tuesday’s run. With the only difference being I didn’t do anything too strenuous the day before so I was fairly well rested.

I did 4.33 miles with an average pace of 10:26, but my average HR was a bit lower at 151. I suppose I can contribute this being a better run because I was better rested. I don’t suppose I got in a lot better shape in two days.

Not much else to say about this run, since I’m posting this almost a week after the fact and all I can remember was that it seemed like a pretty good run.

Day 19 Of 36 – Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Plan

Screenshot from 2014-07-15

Day 19 of the HHHMTP was another Tuesday 4-miler. We were on vacation camping in Jellystone Park in Natural Bridge, Virginia, so this run covered some new ground for me. I just ran the roads outside the park, roughly two miles out and two back. But it was quite hilly.

I can’t remember too much about this run (I’m posting this a week later), but I think I was trying to keep my heart rate roughly between 150-160. I think I was fairly successful in this as my HRs for the four miles were: 149, 158, 153 and 160, with my average for the whole run at 155 (and average pace at 10:39). I was happy enough with this effort as there really were quite a few hills.

My rTSS was 68.9 which I think is a pretty good workout for only four miles and 43 minutes.

Oh yeah, I wasn’t very well rested for this run. On Sunday I ran the longest run of my life (10.2 miles), and I also ran on Monday (maybe 3 miles).

Day 18 Of 36 – Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Plan

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Having just gotten back from a week of vacation, I’m posting this late. Day 18 of 36, exactly half way done with the training plan, was another Sunday long run. I couldn’t stick with the plan exactly as Hal called for a 5k race and there wasn’t anything too convenient this weekend. So I just did another long run. Link to my Training Peaks page at: http://tpks.ws/Qf0d. Continue reading