Half marathon training update – the cold, the marathon and my shiny new GPS watch

It’s half marathon training update time!

You may have noticed that I haven’t been doing the weekly weight loss progress anymore, and that’s because I think a monthly update is a better frequency – it gives me more time to blog about other things that are a little bit more interesting!  That being said, I’ve had a busy month so we’re overdue a progress check.   Since I returned from vacation, I have been working on my half marathon training plan and trying to get up to speed for my epic year of racing (and my first marathon!)

A BIG marathon based update

So I talk a lot about running the NYC marathon.  I’ve relentlessly plugged my marathon plans on the blog, I’ve bored my friends to death with my marathon ambitions, and I completed my 9+1 NYRR races last year to get guaranteed entry.

However, this month I’ve taken it one step further and claimed my place!  My pocket is lighter to the tune of $220, and I have 9 months to train for what will be the biggest achievement to date in my running adventures.

NYC Marathon
Photo by MTAPhotos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In other news, I need to learn how to run 26 miles by November.   I always forget about that part….

Not so excited after climbing the mammoth hill at the start!
That face you make when you’ve just remembered you need to run 26 miles


NYRR Gridiron 4M – First race of 2016!

This month brought my first race of the year, and it was a great one to start off my race calendar!  The NYRR Gridiron 4M takes place on Superbowl Sunday, an event which I must admit has little impact on me as I don’t follow football. I understand that teams play sports, and people get very excited about the sports, there’s a half time show and lots of commercials and then everyone eats a lot of food.  I’m down with that.

needsmorejpeg (credit on image)
Needs more JPEG (credit on image)

Anyway, back to the race.  As is the custom with most NYRR races, it took place entirely in Central Park, and people were encouraged to wear their favorite team’s football jerseys to run in.   I didn’t have a football jersey, so I wore a football shirt instead… some would say it’s the wrong type of football but I felt included nonetheless!

NYRR Central Park
Football shirts? I’ll let you decide

I started well in this race, and was aiming for 11 minute miles.  I was on pace until I hit a hill at the start of mile 3 and really lost my way, taking a walking break to recover my breath and really losing time.  My third mile ended up being nearly 12 minutes, and my target was slowly slipping away.  In an effort to pull it back, I basically ran flat out for the last mile of the course to recover some time, and managed to complete it in 44:16, or 11:04 min/mi average.  I was VERY happy with that – and my last mile was much faster than the others!  Splits were 11:20, 10:49, 11:41, 10:06.  Not bad, but I really need to work on consistency more.

NYRR Central Park Gridion
Shout out to my long suffering other half, who drives us in and battles NYC street parking while we run. He’s my biggest supporter!


A new watch for a year of marathon training

One of the more exciting things for me this month is my shiny new GPS watch.  I love it!  I bought a Garmin Forerunner 325, which is quite an upgrade from my current Forerunner 15.  I’ve spent the last few runs playing around with all the features, so I’m still getting used to it for now.  It connects to GPS satellites in seconds, and this alone makes it worth the money for me.  My previous watch would take over 10 minutes to connect!!

Forerunner watch
Also – look how pretty it is!


This just in: Winter sucks

Something I’ve learned in the past month – I HATE the cold weather.  I don’t hate running in the cold, but I hate the inconsistent way in which I am affected by the cold.  For instance, last week I ran in ~20F (-7C) temperatures, and I layered up to the max for it!  I had a long sleeve shirt, sweater, wind breaker and hat on, and I foolishly thought that would protect me from the cold.  Ha!  Mother nature had other plans for me.

I started like a big icicle, and took a while to warm up, but eventually I did start to feel more comfortable.  However, my face was so cold I could feel the wind stinging it as I ran!  I then ran with my sweater hood up and tied the drawstrings as tight as I could, which made me look like the coolest runner in the land (think Kenny from South Park).

Winter running NJ
Winter. I’m not a fan.

So now I was warm, my face was semi-protected from the cold wind, and I was on my way.  But wait!  My face was so protected that now I couldn’t see properly, and finished my run with the narrowest field of vision, staring at the tiny patch of ground I could actually see, praying that I wouldn’t run into any walls.  Or the Hudson river.

One tip for the cold – layer up appropriately.  All my upper half layers worked a treat – in fact, they worked so well that I got quite a sweat on by the end.  The bottom half, however?  Colder than a very cold thing in a very cold place.  My thighs were numb by the time I finished, resulting in my spending 15 minutes in my car defrosting with the heated seat.  So sweaty torso, numb legs, running along staring at the ground.  Running is fun!

Do you know what, though?  I’d take arctic running any day over the dreadmill.  I really, really, REALLY hate the treadmill.  I’m convinced that there’s a treadmill-specific black hole that’s fixed right underneath the conveyor belt of every treadmill on this earth, that alters our perception of time.  Think about it, when you’re clocking up your miles – to everyone else you’ve spent a few minutes on that infernal machine, but to you, on the machine?  HOURS AND HOURS OF TIME HAS PASSED.

Euch.  I’ve done a couple of treadmill runs the past few weeks, but have done well to avoid it where I can.   Which brings me to…

Half Marathon Training update – weeks 1-3

Now, I’ve written almost a whole blog post and haven’t included some sort of chart or spreadsheet yet.  Let’s rectify that!

Half marathon training update

You’ll notice the little red triangles on the corner of each cell – those are my comments to myself to track race times, distances, and strength work done at the gym.  It’s not particularly interesting, but if you’d like to know what they say then I’ve included a summary below:

Week 1: 3xrun, 2xstrength

  • Workout 1: 2 miles on treadmill, squat 55lbs (10×5)
  • Workout 2: Bench press 30lb (10×5), shoulder press 5lb (20 reps), 7.5lbs (15 reps), 10lbs (10 reps) 12lbs (8 reps) 15lbs (6 reps).  Bicep curl, 15lbs (8×4).  Tricep extension, 7.5lbs (8×4)
  • Workout 3: 3 miles outside, very easy run at 14 min/mi pace.  My friend’s first post-baby run!
  • Workout 4: 4 miles outside, ~12 min/mi.

Week 2: 4xrun, 2xstrength

  • Workout 1: Treadmill sprints, 3min @ brisk walk, 1 min @ 7.5 min/mi (repeat x4).  Squat 55lb (10×5).  Deadlift 55lb (10×5).  Bench press 40lb (10×5).  Bicep curl to shoulder press 10lb (10×5).
  • Workout 2: 3 miles, hilly route, ~12 min/mi
  • Workout 3: 3 miles, 2 on road and 1 on treadmill
  • Workout 4: Squat 55lb (10×5).  Bench press 35lb dumbell (10×5).  Bicep curl 12lbs (10×2).  Tricep extension 8lb (10×2)
  • Workout 5: Race!! Gridiron 4 mile race, ~11 min/mi.  See recap below

Week 3: 2xrun, 1xstrength

  • Workout 1: Squat 60lb (10×5).  Deadlift 65lb (10×5). Bench press 40lb (10×5). Tricep press 30lb (10×5). Pec fly, 8lb (10×5).  Walking lunges (10×5). Push ups (10×5)
  • Workout 2: 3.5 miles, ~12 min/mi
  • Workout 3: 5 miles, ~11.45 min/mi

I’m pleased with my progress so far, but there is definitely room for improvement.  Weeks 1 and 2 were great, I stuck to all of my training goals, but I let it go in Week 3 and now I’m trying to play catch up with my missed strength workouts and treadmill sprints.  I’m half way through week 4 now and have been pushing to get back on track.   I’m confident that by my next half marathon training update I’ll be completely up to date!

Have a great weekend!

Pam x 



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