Toronto Half-Marathon Training: week 7- 8

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

 

The stats:

Week: 7-8/26

Workouts: 33/105

Distance: 81km/415km

Workouts:

Week 7

  • Benchmark run: 15 minutes
  • Long run: 7km
  • Recovery run: 3.5km
  • Nike+ Training Club workout

Week 8

  • Long run: 7.5km
  • Speed run: 6x200m
  • Recovery run: 4km
  • Tempo run: 4.5km

As I write this post, it’s the beginning of week 9 and I have enjoyed a blissful 3 consecutive rest days following the automatic training program update in the Nike+ Run Club app at the end of week 8. How did I score 3 consecutive rest days you ask? The app updates regularly based on your average pace across the different run types.

The last few days of rest have helped me realise that my actions outside the program are just as important as when I’m running. It’s time for me to get more diligent about adequate hydration, stretching regularly and eating well — all the fun stuff!

Week 7 - farewell old running shoes

Let’s rewind for a second so I can tell you about week 7. It was my final week in my previous running shoes — the running shoes that are incredibly light with a slim design, great for walking the dog or throwing on active wear to grab a coffee. Training for a half-marathon? Not so much.

I enjoyed week 7, it was the perfect balance of intense and low-key workouts. The benchmark run was invigorating, with the short burst of sustained speed work, while the recovery run and the Nike+ Training Club wake-up call workout gave me an opportunity for active recovery.

If you’re looking for an easy, low-intensity mobility workout that will stretch and strengthen your core muscle groups, I highly recommend the wake-up call in the Nike+ Training Club app. I loved the combination of yoga inspired exercises (cat/dog stretch and bird dogs) and traditional exercises like alternating lunges and walkouts. I think this will be the perfect session to revisit on rest days and in the days following race day, not that I’m getting ahead of myself or anything!

The 7km long run in week 7 was challenging given it’s the longest distance I have run in about a year. Reviewing my pace, it was no surprise that in the middle of the run I averaged about 6:30/km. My feet were burning, beads of sweat rolled down my forehead, stinging as it reached my eyes, and the thought of running the second half back to my starting point made my chest tighter with every stride.

Not too long after the long run though, my breathing recovered and I felt awesome for conquering another milestone in my training program — my farthest run in a year. The sense of accomplishment that washes over me after adding a new long distance benchmark to my program keeps me motivated and focused on race day. Just when I think I can’t go any further, I remember that feeling, that endorphin rush — I guess they call it runners’ high for a reason.

Week 8 - an "off week"

In contrast, week 8 was a slow one. It was challenging, exhausting and tested my perseverance. I felt slow, lethargic and unfit which took me by surprise given my previous 7 weeks of training, making me realise this program is getting increasingly more challenging for my body and mind. 

Adjusting to new running shoes and leaving my run until the afternoon when it was warm also didn’t help. I know we all have off workouts or days, but this was an entire off week. I tried to be kind to myself with lots of stretching, keeping hydrated and accepting that there were better weeks to come. Sometimes we just need to accept that we’re having an off week whether it’s with work, our fitness or family/friends. I think it makes me appreciate the good times and wins even more.

Now that I’m moving towards half- way through my training, I’m putting a plan in place to give myself the best opportunity to perform well. From now on I’ll be running before 10:30 am or after 5 pm when the day is cooler and the sun has less bite to it. I’ll also be taking an Epsom salt recovery bath each week and researching the right mix of healthy carbs, fat and protein to eat before and after training. As I find things that work for me, I'll be sure to share them with you to help you prepare for your own training.

I’ve accepted my off week, enjoyed my rest and I’m ready for the weeks to come. Bring it on!

Have you experienced sessions and weeks in your training program where you have felt off? Let me know how you dealt with it in the comments below.