Half-marathon training: week 1 - 2

Regular updates on my training for the Toronto half-marathon.

The stats:

Week: 1-2/26

Workouts: 8/105

Distance: 14.94km/448km

The challenge

We left Australia on Sunday 12 March. In the lead up to our trip, I was working hard in high-intensity circuit classes and weekly personal training sessions. Fast forward through 6 weeks of travel, enjoying good wine and lots of restaurant meals; I was feeling in need of a lofty fitness goal to get me back on track with my fitness and health.

One evening at our Airbnb, Rich and I chatted, over a cheese platter and drinks, while I said I needed to set a big fitness goal to get back into a workout routine again — a common theme in our travels; talking about fitness plans while indulging in great food and wine. The irony is not lost on me!

In a split second, I remembered seeing on Instagram last year that someone had run the Toronto half-marathon. I looked up the date to see how long I would have to train, quickly realising the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon isn’t until 22 October and there is a 5km and half-marathon race too. I’ve completed several 5km fun runs since I started running, so I thought it was time for a big challenge — completing a half-marathon!

I reviewed the half-marathon training program on the Nike+ Run Club app and the maximum length of training is 26 weeks. At this point, it was 28 weeks until race day — perfect timing.

The training

On Monday 24 April, I started training for the Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon. I have 26 weeks to train, 105 workouts to complete and 448 kilometres to run in the lead up to race day. The goal — complete the half-marathon in under 2 hours, 23 minutes.

I know 2 hours, 23 minutes isn't a particularly quick pace (6:47/km to be exact) or "punters pace" as Rich would say, but given my lack of running and restaurant meals in recent months, this gave me an achievable benchmark to work towards. After a few test runs in week 1 and week 2, my average pace of 5:54/km gives me the conviction that I’ll be able to continue improving on this pace and reach my goal.

Each week consists of 4 training sessions. In some weeks, these sessions are all running and in other weeks it’s a mix of 3 runs and a Nike+ Training Club workout to assist with strength and mobility.

There are different runs to complete each week including a benchmark run (slow pace with bursts of maximum effort), speed run (interval sprints), recovery run (slow pace and short distance) and a long run (longer distances building each week).

I savoured the first two weeks of training. They were an easy, low impact re-introduction to running and it was great to get outside in Toronto for something other than condo hunting!

Trying to get outside to run

I’ve been keeping an eye on the weather so I know the best time to head outside for a run, even if that means wearing long running tights and a running jacket — both essential purchases that had to be made after rocking a heavy-duty rain jacket in my first week of training.

I’ve been using the WeatherBug app (available on iTunes and Google Play) to monitor the forecast and how quickly any bad weather will move through the city because I much prefer running outdoors than on a treadmill. The Doppler radar within the app has been helpful so I know when bad weather will pass so I can get outside to run each day. 

The Doppler weather radar displaying rainfall in the region.

The Doppler weather radar displaying rainfall in the region.

Given the time of year, I’m keeping an eye out for rain on the radar, but there are different colours on the radar to tell users what type of storms may be coming (snow, rain, hail), and the severity.

By knowing the size of the weather event and how quickly it’s moving, I can then decide if it’s worth waiting for the weather to clear or just putting on a podcast and heading to the treadmill at the gym.

Apart from runners, the radar is helpful for people driving long distances, people going boating and sporting leagues. Being one of the few apps that includes the Doppler radar for Canada, it’s easy to see what weather is heading our way from just over the US/Canada border.

2 weeks down, 24 to go!

After my first two weeks of training, I was feeling great for getting back into a regular exercise routine and I can already feel the sense of accomplishment I’ll get when I cross the finish line on 22 October — I can’t wait.

Each fortnight I’ll share updates on my training progress and how the program is advancing over time. Wish me luck!

This post contains sponsored content but all opinions are my own.