New England Half Marathon Training: Episode 1

In case the last post didn’t give it away, I’m not a huge fan of summer. Sweating from every inch of my body while working out is bad enough. Sweating while just thinking about going outside when it’s 90º or more is terrible. Going outside to work out when it’s 90º or more is the worst.

However, in doing my very best to avoid the heat over the past month or two, I’ve also started to feel a little…shall we say, Jabba-the-Hutt-y.

Actual self-portrait. #iwokeuplikethis

So I did what any formerly fit(ish) Jabba would do: found a fall half marathon with free finish line beers, recruited a running buddy who will kick my butt back into shape, and developed a training plan. And now you’ll have to deal with my training recaps for the next 13 weeks. (Maybe. We’ll see which thing I give up on first: the training plan itself or writing about it.)


Plan: Rest or cross-train  |  Actual: Rest

Fun fact: “Never skip a Monday” is a lot easier when Monday is a rest day! I did honestly plan on doing a little sumthin-sumthin, but grabbing a couple of birthday margaritas with my oldest friend after work sounded like a way better idea.


Plan: 3mi easy (10:35ish pace)  |  Actual: 3mi “easy” (10:48 avg pace) + Softball

By Tuesday morning, I felt sufficiently recovered from a very hilly bike ride and a “let’s see exactly how out of shape I am” run over the weekend and dragged Tim out of bed to do some “easy” miles with me before work. The funny thing about our town, though, is that there’s pretty much no way to run easy unless you just go up and down Main Street a million times. There are hills in literally every direction from our apartment—which is great in the grand scheme of things, but also kind of sucks when it means your easy runs are like hill workouts in disguise.

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 1.25.01 PM
Piece of cake.

After work, I went to softball practice (I’ve been volunteering with the Nashua Special Olympics team all summer) and chased a bunch of balls, got a couple of okay hits, and melted in the sun until it finally dipped below the trees at the back of the field.


Plan: 5mi tempo (1mi w/u, 3mi @ 9:01, 1mi c/d)  |  Actual: 35min elliptical + Barre

Waking up was really hard for me on Wednesday morning, so when I finally rolled out of bed a little before 7, I knew I’d have to do this workout at lunch. By the time lunch rolled around it was approximately 248684º degrees outside, and I couldn’t get motivated to hit the road. Running 40 laps on the indoor track at the Y seemed almost equally terrible. And, for some reason, running on a treadmill destroys my knees. I’m super weird, I KNOW. So I did a short (I wasn’t going to be in the office on Thursday and wanted to try to get a little ahead on my work mountain pile) fartlek-y kind of elliptical workout instead and then met some friends for Barre after work.


Plan: Boot Camp  |  Actual: Adulting and the beach

This may be shocking to some of you, but I tend to be a bit of a procrastinator. In NH, you have to register your car and get it inspected by the end of your birth month. For me, getting these fairly easy, grownup things done on July 28th instead of the 31st is actually kind of a win. However, for me these things are also slightly more difficult—and definitely more exhausting—than a hard workout, so when I was finished with them, I changed out of my big girl pants and into a bathing suit as fast as I could and headed to the beach with a friend I hadn’t seen in ages.

Beach views.
Beach views.

(After the beach, we aimlessly wandered around downtown Portsmouth for a while…does that count for anything?)


Plan: 4mi easy (10:35ish pace)  |  Actual: 4.02mi (10:00 avg pace)

With a bit of a time crunch between getting home from work and the yoga class I was teaching at 7pm, I almost skipped this run…but I’m glad I didn’t! Even though it was insanely hot (the first thing Tim said when I got home was “ew, you look disgusting”) and, of course, super hilly, I felt really good afterward and rode my mini runner’s high for the rest of the night.

I'm only exaggerating a tiny bit when I say we're surrounded by hills!
See? I’m barely exaggerating when I say we’re surrounded by hills!

Plan: Hike or Bike or Climb  |  Actual: Manual labor

Well, sort of. Since my dad was taking care of some fixes my car needed, I told him I’d help unload a trailer full of giant chunks of tree and then go load the trailer up with the rest of the tree chunks. He wouldn’t let me deal with heaving the tree pieces around or securing them to the tractor (something about not wanting me to lose any fingers or toes), so I didn’t get nearly the workout he did…but driving tractors around all afternoon was surprisingly tiring.

Look at how huge that piece of tree is!

Plan: Long run (8mi @ 10:35ish pace)  |  Actual: Lots of chores and a walk around town

A combination of shitty weather, an unavailable running partner, a remarkable ability to make excuses for myself, and a million and one chores that refused to take care of themselves in my absence on Saturday led to me doing a whole lot of not exercising on Sunday. On the bright side, I was able to squeeze in everything I had wanted to get done the day before (like putting away laundry, cleaning the litter box, and all the other lame stuff I generally avoid) and still get through the stuff I had planned to do on Sunday anyway (which mostly just consisted of “make 5 hard boiled eggs to take to work this week” and “have dinner ready when Tim gets home from work,” but whatever). Tim and I did mosey around town for a little while after dinner though, so at least I wasn’t a total bump on a log all day.

Overall, I’m mostly pleased with my performance during this first week of training. At the very least, this was the most mileage I’ve run in one week in waayyy too long, so there’s that. I obviously didn’t follow the plan to a T, but I knew that would happen anyway. Besides, the first week of a training plan is like the first week of classes in college and nobody cares if you skip…right?

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