Half-marathon training: week 3 - 4

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

The stats:

Week: 3-4/26

Workouts: 16/105

Distance: 30km/448km

Workouts:

Week 3

  • Speed run: 6x200m
  • Nike+ Training Club workout
  • Recovery run: 1.5km
  • Long run: 3km

Week 4

  • Benchmark run: 15 minutes
  • Long run: 4km
  • Recovery run: 1.5km
  • Speed run: 6x200m

Week 3 and 4 of my half-marathon training program marked another 2 weeks to be savoured — short, sharp workouts and easy distances. While the 4km long run in week 4 was challenging at times (it’s been a long time since I’ve run 4km), I can certainly feel fitness levels improving and that’s a great feeling. So far, I've been running down on the lakefront in Toronto and enjoying exploring this part of town especially when it’s warm and sunny!

So far, the long runs have been the most challenging. I’m noticing, regardless of distance, my pace starts to drop at the halfway point followed by another fresh hit of energy towards the end of my run. Reviewing my pace throughout my runs, I’ve noticed that I often start my first kilometre fast and strong, however, it’s leaving me tired when I still have half the run to complete!

Learning to recognise and feel what pace I’m running without the voice prompts is something I want to understand and start using to pace my runs better. For now, I’ll learn to do this by adjusting the pace updates from every kilometre to every 500 metres. I feel like more regular voice updates are going to help me quickly recognise what different paces feel like — a key focus for my training in the coming weeks.

In week 4, my second session was a 4km run. I completed the run in 23:35 at a pace of 5:53 per kilometre. Given I can’t remember the last time I ran 4km, without walking at times, I was content with this pace. I still can’t believe that a 4km run will become an easy recovery run over the next few months!

Also in week 3 and 4, the introduction of 200m sprint intervals in the speed runs have made for some intense breathing and aching calf muscles. It’s nothing a CrossFit style playlist on Spotify can’t fix though.

When I finished week 4 of the program, the Nike+ Run Club app prompted me to update my program based on benchmarking my pace and distance run in the first month of training against their statistics.

Week 5 consists of 3 recovery runs, a cross-training workout and a long run. With my initial memory that week 5 had more speed work in the program, it seems week 5 has adapted to a recovery and conditioning week, finishing with a 5.5km run on the Sunday. I’m looking forward to building my distance up, and this 5.5km run will be a great challenge and benchmark for how I’m going so far.

Have you trained for a big running event before? How did your training go? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.