Quality Week 8 and Quantity Week 9 of Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon Training

Sorry about taking last week off. There were days where I think I would have missed a workout if I were to get a blog post up. So, I opted to get the workout in. After week 8’s results, I felt like it’s time to up my game in this training cycle. So, let’s look back at the past two weeks.

After such a not so good 9 miles, I really wanted week 8 to be a bounce back kind of week. It was the end of Phase 2 in this training cycle. If I hit all 4 workouts, I would have ended phase 2 with only 1 less workout made than I did in Phase 1. However, the Tuesday run did not happen. I can’t remember exactly why. It just didn’t. For the previous 3 weeks, I had a financial management class at my church I was attending on Thursday nights. On Week 8, I was getting that night off. So, it was supposed to be an easier week for me to get all 4 workouts in. I did make sure to get out on that Thursday and take full advantage of having the week off from my class.

Here are the splits from this run. When I started this run, I really wanted to make sure I didn’t miss. As you can see from the splits, I got off to a pretty amazing start! When I got to the half mile mark and was still under a 12 minute per mile average, I was really excited. After such a bad run on the time before, I was loving how this run was starting. At 12:08, I was doing amazing! I made the switch to the 35 second walk breaks in mile 2 and it paid off amazingly! At the end of the mile, I saw that I finished it in 11:10. I’m not sure why the splits above show 11:11 because the watch showed 11:10. When I saw that, I almost did a little dance along the way! I mean, I had equaled my fastest mile of this training cycle from that awesome 7 mile long run. Even though things were going well, I prepared myself for a slower mile 3. After all, it seems like mile 2 or 3 is my fastest on this route. So, when mile 2 is fast, mile 3 is a little slower. When mile 2 is okay or not as fast, mile 3 is my fastest mile. That’s just the way things go. As I finished mile 3 at under 35 minutes, I got really excited for how mile 4 would go. I didn’t need to go crazy and I could end up with my first sub 47 minute 4 mile run of this cycle! Guess what? That’s exactly what happened! I was thrilled with my results!

Saturday of week 8 called for 8 x 4oo on the track. Each time I do a track workout, it represents a new record for me. So, by finishing, I’m already winning. In the past, I’ve only ever truly completed 1 400 without stopping or walking for part of it. Just like my previous track workouts, I got through the first 400 without stopping. On the second one, I almost made it to the final straight before feeling like I had to stop. As I finished off that 400, I thought to myself that I should have finished all 400 on that try. So, on the third one, I was really determined. All the way around the track, I told myself to not worry about the time. I really wanted this second full 400. I’m happy to say that not only did I finish the 3rd 400 without any stopping, but I finished 4th one as well. Yes, my times were slower. However, I’m still running faster than my goal for each 400. So, it’s all good. I felt amazing for finishing 3 of the first 4 without any stops! That’s progress my friends!

I really wanted to hit a 4th 400 without stopping. However, in each of the last 4 attempts, I ended up stopping in around the same spot. It’s kind of weird. As I start that last turn, my heart rate starts to race suddenly. It’s like I know I don’t usually make it all the way around and my body starts trying to get me to stop. Each 400 I’ve finished all the way, I’ve even felt the same. But, on those that I finished without the stops, I found a way to get into that last straight and made my way to the end. The victory of this track workout is that I finished more 400’s without stopping than ever! Also, my times were pretty consistent…and all of them were faster than my first track workout times!

So, at the end of week 8, I had 2 quality workouts. My speed was looking good. The way I felt about it is that I’ve done just enough to get by without sacrificing speed. If I want to hit my 2:35:00 goal at Rock n Roll San Diego, I need to be better.

So, after taking Monday off, I was back out for another 4 miles on last Tuesday. I felt sluggish at the start of this run and was expecting a slip on my time. But, I reminded myself that not every run will be speedy. I needed to find a way to get 4 workouts in this week. So, off I went.

Well, mile 1 felt slow and it was. Finishing in 12:28 did not leave me feeling like this would be a great run. Then, I made the switch in my run/walk intervals for mile 2. Guess what? My fastest mile of this training cycle! I couldn’t believe it! 11:06! Like the last 4 mile run, I prepared myself to be slower in mile 3. I thought I was going slower in mile 3. But, when I got to the end, I had my first sub 11 minute mile of this training cycle! Wow! It turns out to be my fastest 3 miles of this training cycle! On the road, I knew I was close to the time I had the week before. So, I was out to see how I’d finish. At one point, I thought I might actually take down my run from the previous week. However, I ended up 4 seconds slower. With how bad I felt in mile 1, I’ll take it. I was thrilled to have finished my fastest mile of this cycle and then beat it in the next mile! So, how could I be bummed? I was happy to keep myself under 47 minutes on a day where I felt sluggish!

So, since I had that financial management class at church on Thursday again, I was off on the very next night for 4 more miles. As I started this run, I had no idea how it would work out. I mean, would I be tired from the previous night? Let’s see…

Amazingly, I felt even stronger on this run! Mile 1 at 12:14 wasn’t too bad. I actually felt pretty good at the end of mile 1. When I finished mile 2 in 11:02, I knew I was on a good run. After all, I was even feeling better than the night before! I was a little bummed that I didn’t have a repeat and finish mile 3 in under 11 minutes. However, I knew I was still ahead of my time from the day before. As I made my way way through mile 4, I kept doing the math in my head. Could I have my first sub 46 minute 4 miles? As you can see, I almost did! This was my fastest 4 miles of this training cycle! I love saying that!

Four mile runs are great. But, the real test is in those long runs. As I thought over my strategy for the 11 miles I ran on Saturday, I thought about how much my 4 mile runs have improved over this cycle. I knew that I needed more hills in my runs because Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon will have plenty of hills. So, with long runs of 11, 13, 15, and 17 miles left on this cycle, I decided to pull my run/walk intervals back on this run as I re-introduced myself to the hills on this training path through South Pasadena and Pasadena.

Here are the splits. I want to do a full write up on this training run this week. So, for now, I’ll just leave them here with a few comments. First off, I made it through the run with hitting all but 2 of my run/walk intervals at run 25 seconds, walk 95 seconds. The first time I missed was in mile 9 as I came out of the Rose Bowl. That hill is pretty killer and I finished 20 seconds of the 25. The other interval I missed was the very last one. I got that twinge in my calf again during the last quarter-mile. I had it happen in two run intervals in a row (right at the end of them). So, I decided to just walk out that last interval and save myself to fight again. After all, it wouldn’t have made a huge difference in my time. I thought I’d probably have finished 15 seconds quicker at best. So, it wasn’t worth it to risk an injury for such a small time gain. Plus, I’m using this run as a base line 11 miles for me. As I go forward, I hope to beat this time in each of my last 3 long runs.

If I want to hit this time at the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon in June, I’ll need to take off, around 13 minutes from this 11 mile time. If I can get 7 to 10 minutes off this time I just got, it should be enough to have me in the right position for race day. After all, the adrenaline of running in front of spectators does help. When I set my last half marathon PR (in 2013), I was finishing 13.1 miles of training in around 2:50:00 and I finished that race in around 2:43:00. Of course, if I can finish 13.1 miles of my 17 miles in 2:35:00 or quicker, I’ll be over the moon. Right now, I feel like I’m in striking distance. For now, the dream continues.

On Sunday, I finished my 4th workout of the week! It was the first time since week 1 (I think) that I got all 4 workouts in! This gym workout was brutal. I was really tired heading into the workout. My boy was up until around 1am with an ear and throat infection. We didn’t know about the throat as it just started up on Saturday right before bed. We were at urgent care on Saturday for a few hours with our poor little guy. Let me tell you, it’s hard when your boy is in pain and you can’t really do anything to relieve that pain. We had to wait until Monday to see his doctor.

That said, as the clock got to midnight on Sunday morning, I totally thought my shot at 4 workouts was out the window. However, as Sunday went along, I thought about how much I wanted to at least try. The schedule worked out for me to go and try. I had 10 x 400 on the treadmill to start off with. The first 400 was like my warm up. I felt my legs loosen up as I went along. By the end of the 2nd 400, I knew I’d at least get to 8 of these repeats! I felt really strong through the 9th repeat which gave me the confidence to tackle that last one. I’m not gonna lie. The last 0.05 of my last 400 was brutal, but I made it!

In addition to the treadmill, I hit up the assisted chin ups and dips, abs, and leg press machine. This workout really pushed me. I made it through all of my reps and sets without having to stop. I was tired, but I was making it! Unfortunately, I got to the gym too late in order to finish the workout with the elliptical machine. I was okay with that because of how much more I’m doing on the treadmill now. Plus, I was simply out of time. If I had more time, I would have at least attempted to get that part of the workout done. Hopefully, this week, I’ll have enough time to get it done.

Bring on Week 10!

3 thoughts on “Quality Week 8 and Quantity Week 9 of Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon Training

  1. Hi- I have a question- you say in this post, that you “I made the switch to the 35 second walk breaks in mile 2 and it paid off amazingly! ” – what were your run intervals during that time?

    You’re doing great- I’m trying to do 2:15 run and 45 sec walk , but average pace is slower than yours. I’m considering trying shorter intervals.

    Thanks, Caryl

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Great question!I go with run 25 seconds, walk 95 seconds for mile 1 of my 4 mile runs. Then, I switch to run 25 seconds, walk 35 seconds for the rest. If your pace is struggling, you might want to think about shortening the intervals. As the Walt Disney World Marathon came up this year, I noticed something interesting with the pacers for the race. There were several paces that included a run 30 seconds, walk 30 seconds. So, the pace isn’t entirely about your intervals. These training runs give us time to experiment with what works best. As you get used to the intervals, your pace should get a little quicker. However, there are limits. Once you reach yours, then, it’s a good time to try and change the intervals.

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