Half Marathon Training: Week 4

Weekly Training: February 29 – March 6

Monday: Gym – After my long run the day before, I was feeling pretty tired on Monday. I won’t bother writing out what I did at the gym, because I didn’t put much effort into anything and felt like I was wondering aimlessly from exercise to exercise. 


Running & Reflecting – photo courtesy of fellow group member

Tuesday: 3M @9:10 – This was definitely a step outside of my comfort zone. Marathon Sports was hosting a group run & private shopping night (with 20% discount) for a local running group that I’m part of, but not super active in. As soon as the event was posted I committed to going, but the closer it got the more I wanted to back out. It was fun and I’m glad I went, but still a bit awkward for this semi-introvert.  I did take advantage of the 20% discount to pick up a new sports bra, some GU, and a metatarsalgia pad to hopefully alleviate some of the discomfort I’m having in my right foot on runs. I also got to test out a pair of Brooks Launch shoes that felt very spring-y and much softer than my Wave Rider’s. During the first half of the run I thought the softer forefoot might be an improvement over my Mizuno’s, but on the way back the discomfort, which I can only describe as a nerve firing in between my toes, started up. 


Wednesday: Plan: 5 x 1000m @7:33 – Actual: 10 min w/u, 4 x 1000m @7:35 (.3M RI @10), 1M c/d = 5.75M @8:45 – Since my little one had a doctor’s appointment Tuesday morning and I knew I’d be running later that night at the Marathon Sports event, I moved my speed work to Wednesday. As is becoming my (bad) habit, I skipped out on the last interval. These didn’t feel terrible, but by the 4th one I was struggling to make it through the whole repeat. I feel like part of my struggle is doing these on the treadmill vs. outside. Looking back at old training logs I can see a difference in my speed work paces once I started running them outside. Right now I’ll stick with running them on the treadmill since my husband runs in the morning before he leaves for work. I am able to run during the day so I wouldn’t hijack his running time, but as it starts to stay light out later I can maybe do some runs after our girls go to bed. There’s a local track nearby so that should be easy enough to do, but with heavy commuting traffic I probably won’t attempt tempo runs at night. There’s a reason drivers here are known as Massholes! 

Thursday: Plan: 6M Easy – Actual: 6M @9:31 – Pace felt comfortable. I’ve been feeling so bored on the treadmill lately. I have a couple podcasts I like (Run to the Top, Totally Married, and Another Mother Runner), but they don’t engross me as much as a good show. Any suggestions for good podcasts or running music? 

Friday: Plan: 1M Easy, 3M @ Short Tempo, 1M Easy – Actual: 1M @9:20, 3M @8:13, 1M @9:09 – 5M @8:37 – Friday morning was “Beach Day” at my oldest daughter’s school and I got to help out in the classroom. Between getting to go in to read a book for her “VIP” week at school, helping decorate the classroom for Beach Day, and then volunteering at the party, I’ve had an awesome few weeks of getting to see her in action at school. As a parent, it’s so incredible to get to see her in this little world that’s all her own. After I got home and put my youngest down for a nap I ran on our home treadmill. Hooray for Scandal! The pace felt comfortably hard, as tempo pace should, and I was really, really happy to have Netflix to watch during this. Knowing how mentally hard my runs at the gym have been lately, I think I would have psyched myself out at running 8:13 pace for this. 

Saturday: Plan: 9M @HMP+20 – Actual: 9M @8:21- So, my long run pace was only 8 seconds slower than my short tempo pace this week and last week I ran it at my mid tempo pace. Yet it feels SO much easier to run it outside. Both runs were faster than I had planned, and I can’t tell if my fitness is just improving, or if I’m running harder than I should. I definitely don’t want to leave my best runs out on the training floor and then be burnt out for my race, but I also want to push myself to being a better runner. Both efforts felt like moderate intensity, they didn’t feel like I was all out pushing, but definitely harder than a typical Long Slow Run. I’m running a 5k next weekend that I’m planning to use to gauge my fitness.  I did put the metatarsalgia pad I picked up Tuesday night in my shoes and while they felt good the first 4 miles, I still had discomfort from time to time. It’s not painful, but it’s a distinct annoyance when it’s happening. 

Sunday: Rest

Weekly Total: 28.75 Miles

Over a training cycle how do evaluate & reevaluate your fitness and goals?

Do you belong to the “Long Slow Run” camp or the “In order to race fast you have to run fast” camp? 




10 thoughts on “Half Marathon Training: Week 4

  1. Great job this week!! Well, it’s a personal preference thing but in general, I don’t believe in speeding through long runs. A big part of becoming a faster runner at longer distances is building our aerobic capacity – and that doesn’t happen when we’re pushing the pace, it happens during our easier, slower runs. The best runners in the world do a lot of slow running. That should tell us something.

    A “best of both worlds” solution I find really helpful is to add SOME speed to long runs but not blow through the entire thing at goal pace – aka, a fast finish at goal pace or doing every 3rd or 4th mile at threshold, etc. That way long runs can still be a challenging workout, but won’t unnecessarily tire you out like they do when you try to race through them. That said, all of my marathon long runs tend to be slightly faster than most plans recommend – I end up doing them at a more comfortable moderate pace (40ish seconds slower than goal MP) as opposed to the 60-90 seconds slower you’re “supposed” to do them.

    But do what works for you. I know some people who speed through their long runs, because it makes them feel better mentally to do it that way. Also, you’re training for a half whereas I’m training for a full, so I think you can afford a bit more pace-pushing than I can. If I were training for a shorter distance I’d probably do a lot more fast running.


    • All great points, Hanna. I would definitely like to add some goal pace or threshold miles into my long runs. That’s an area where I find the Run Less, Run Faster plan lacking. Probably because they do have the long runs at paces faster than most plans typically call for, but I want to make sure I get a chance to run goal pace miles so I have a feel for it.


  2. Great week of training! Over a training cycle, I like repeating the same workouts once every couple of weeks to measure progress. Also, I like to fit in some other races as a trial for the actual race (ie- half marathons for a marathon). Good way to measure fitness progress! Good luck!


    • Thanks, Jane! I have a 5k that I’m running this weekend to see how/if I’ve progressed since my last one in November. I’d love to find a 10k to do since it would give a more accurate guide for the half marathon distance vs. a 5k, but I feel like there aren’t many nearby. I’ll try your suggestion of repeating a workout every few weeks too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve seen so many friends get injured doing their long runs fast or at their race pace. I can see the benefits of doing some at pace but I think the important thing is accomplishing the distance and saving yourself for the main event.

    I like the struggle of tempo runs and nailing those is where I gain confidence. For my last half training, I worked hard on those and then when I raced the 10k and saw how fast I did it, it helped me strive for- and believe I could do- a faster half.


    • Yep, an injury is definitely what I want to avoid!! I know you have little kids too, do you do most of your runs inside or outside? When in your day do you usually fit in your runs? I dread tempos on the treadmill! I know they’re going to be hard and won’t have the relief of a rest interval like speed work does!


  4. Congrats on a great week of training and nailing that long run at pace. I’m totally torn between the long slow versus train fast to race fast theories. In my current cycle, I’m trying to dial in my next marathon pace and have been doing so much better at sticking to the slower paces as described…ie, more of the LSR approach. So, on Saturday at a flat, fast half-marathon in perfect running conditions, I was anything but fast and came nowhere near close to my PR – I was over it by 8 minutes! But, in hindsight it kinda makes sense. I am targeting a PR at my next full marathon and am totally focused on a marathon pace of around 8:50-8:55 so it stands to reason, I can’t just dial up a half and run at 7:45 pace, I guess. Right? Who knows! But, anyway have a great running week! Cheers!


    • Thanks, James! I do think when you spend a lot of time training at a certain pace, that your body naturally gravitates towards that when it comes race time. In Chicago, I think a lot of the reason my splits were so consistent is because I ran ALL of my runs as steady state runs. I latched onto a pace and just stayed there. So I can definitely see your body staying towards your MGP at the half if that’s where you’ve spent a lot of time in training. Also, there’s probably a lot of cumulative fatigue on those legs that have run 2 full marathons in the last 5 months!! I didn’t even get around to registering for a March or April half because I was still tired from Chicago! 🙂


  5. I have a bad habit of skipping out on final reps. I cut my 6-8 1000m reps this week to 5, but I’m blaming it on running at 5am when I’m a PM runner and if I ever run in AM it is never speed!

    I find that my trick (for outdoors at least) is to preset these ones in my watch. If my watch counts down from 5 reps and the warm up and cool down is included, it’s forcing me to complete them! But this week, that didn’t work 🙂


    • Yeah, speed & 5am definitely don’t go together in my opinion! 🙂 That’s a great trick. My watch has the capability to program workouts and I’ve never taken advantage of it. I’ll have to try that! With the clock’s changing this weekend and warmer weather coming I hope to get outside more this spring!


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