Potomac River Run Half Marathon Training: Week 1


It’s about that time again! This past week I started training for another race- The Potomac River Run Half Marathon. I am actually very excited for this, because the only time I trained specifically for a half marathon was before my very first one back in 2007. Every other time I have run a half (except while I was pregnant), it has been part of my marathon training. I am looking forward to training for a half marathon and pushing myself to see what I can do. My goal race is on May 4th, so this is a short training cycle- only 6 weeks long. I feel like this is okay because I’m still feeling strong from my marathon training and I’ve recovered quickly. I’m doing a modified version of the Run Less, Run Faster half marathon training plan since that type of plan has worked so well for me before. So I’ll be continuing to do my 3 key runs a week at specific paces (speedwork, tempo and long run), with cross training, strength training or easy runs in between. My training paces are based on my most recent 5K last weekend, where I PRed with a time of 22:07. This means I’m training faster than ever before, which scares me (in a good way!) Here are the paces I’ll be working towards achieving in my key runs. I can’t hit them perfectly right now, but I hope to get closer as my training progresses.

Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 9.50.09 PMAnd here is my plan, including how the first week went.

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Monday: 2 miles in 20:07 (10:03 average pace). A few of my co-workers and I started up an after school running/walking club with our staff. We meet on Mondays and Wednesdays and I usually do a couple easy miles with the group. Monday is a rest/cross training day, but it felt good to do a little recovery run after my hard 5K effort the day before. I ran with my friend Amanda, who is also training for a half marathon.

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Tuesday: XT – At Home Strength Circuit (10-8-6-4-2). I didn’t have a lot of time on Tuesday to cross-train so I kept it quick and simple with a little strength circuit. I did push ups, squats, tricep dips, and sit ups- starting with 10 of each exercise, then repeated the circuit doing 8 of each, then 6, then 4, and finally 2. I tried to move and transition quickly to keep my heart rate up and it was fun and challenging!

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Wednesday: AM- Key Run #1 – Speedwork. 4 miles in 32:08 (8:02 average pace.) PM – 2 miles in 20:05 (10:02 average pace). 6 miles total. I actually ran twice on this day, which I’m pretty sure is a first for me. In the morning I did my first real speedwork since before the marathon. On my plan was a warmup, 8 x 400 with 400 meter recovery between, then cooldown. My goal pace was 6:28. I wasn’t expecting my car to be a rock solid block of ice when I left for the gym this morning so I lost some time cleaning it off. I only had time to do 6 intervals, but I did them all at 6:27 pace and it felt challenging but awesome. I had running club that afternoon, and since I ran in the morning I kept it short and sweet and just ran 2 easy miles with my friend Amanda again.

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Thursday: XT- Walking (30:00). After picking up little Kevin from daycare, I met my hubby at the middle school where he coaches baseball. He was running on the track after practice so we joined him and walked while he did his speedwork (he’s training for a 5K). It was a nice afternoon and we really enjoyed getting some fresh air rather than going straight home, making dinner and going to bed. It’s always fun to mix it up and be a little spontaneous 🙂

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Friday: Key Run #2 – Tempo Run. 5 miles in 39:18 (7:52 pace). This workout was supposed to be 5 miles at long tempo pace (7:42), but I knew that would be tough to achieve since it was my first time attempting it and I was running after a long day at work. I decided to go out at that pace and see how long I could hold on, so I can measure my progress against the next time this workout comes up on my training plan. I ended up running 3.1 miles @ 7:35 average pace. After that I needed to take a break and walk for a few minutes (untimed), then ran the last two miles slower. It was NOT easy and I almost puked toward the end, but I got it done! I am excited to see how much longer I can go next time and hopefully won’t need a break. Bonuses to this run: I got to do it in shorts and a tank top! I witnessed a hawk swooping down to pick up a squirrel (so cool), and my brother-in-law drove by at the end and cheered me on. When I started running many years ago I ran at an 11 minute/mile pace. I never dreamed I’d be able to do a tempo run at a sub-8 minute pace. This reminded me that I need to BELIEVE I can do hard things!!!

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Saturday: XT – Yoga: Hip Openers (9:00). Normally on Saturdays I like to take Body Pump or Body Flow, but we were away for the weekend visiting family so I did a short yoga video on Youtube instead. I saw this one on Mile Posts a while back and bookmarked it to try some day. Even though it was only 9 minutes it was challenging at times and made my hips and legs feel amazing after my tough tempo run the day before.

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Sunday: Key Run #3 – Long Run. 8 miles in 1:06:39 (8:20 average pace). It rained ALL weekend while we were in Pennsylvania visiting family and was freezing outside. Normally I don’t mind running in the rain, but it was 32 degrees and pouring so I opted to do my run on my dad’s treadmill. I was also already sick with a bad cold and congestion and didn’t want to make it worse. The run actually went by pretty fast and I felt good. My goal was to do it at half marathon pace + 30 seconds (8:22/mile) and I was able to do it at an 8:20 pace. After marathon training for months, I am loving that my “long run” is only 8 miles!

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Week 1 Total:

  • Run: 21 miles
  • Cross Training & Strength Training: 1 at-home strength circuit, walking, and yoga

I am feeling the itch to get back to some of my classes at the gym, but this week was insanely busy so it didn’t happen. I don’t think it will happen this upcoming week either, because I have a 15K race this Saturday. Normally I run on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, but with my race I’ll be running on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday instead. The classes that work with my schedule are on those same days so it just isn’t going to work. I’ll do at home cross training instead and then get back to it the following week. I’m really excited for my 15K because it will be a good gauge of my current fitness level and will give me an idea of what to work towards in the half marathon.

Last time around I posted a motivational thought for the week and really enjoyed doing that, so I’m going to continue with it! This quote gave me great perspective on the ups and downs of running and training. Love it!



4 responses to “Potomac River Run Half Marathon Training: Week 1

  1. Pingback: Potomac River Run Half Marathon Training: Week 2 | Run Inspired

  2. Pingback: Potomac River Run Half Marathon Training: Week 3 | Run Inspired

  3. Pingback: Potomac River Run Half Marathon Training: Week 4 | Run Inspired

  4. Pingback: Potomac River Run Half Marathon Training: Week 5 | Run Inspired

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