CBHM Training: Reduced Speed Ahead

Whoa, how did another month of training for the Covered Bridges Half Marathon already go by? It’s less than a week from the event, and a little surprised to be here already.

At any rate, now it’s time to take stock of the 11 weeks of training gone by, and assess whether a new HM PR is in the cards for me this weekend. The verdict?

After all the miles I’ve put in – and the hills I’ve sprinted up, and the intervals I’ve plodded through – I wish I could say that a sub-1:50 half marathon was in the bag. But the truth is that over the last 4 weeks, my threshold workouts (where I did 6-8 miles at HM pace during 8-11 milers) have been disappointing. This was the first training cycle where I ran these workouts instead of conventional tempo runs, thinking I was at a point where I needed race-pace workouts more than all-the-other-possible-pace workouts. And maybe I did, to at least show me that my actual race pace may not be at PR level this time around.

I’ve always known I’m not a naturally fast runner, nor one whose speed would dramatically improve with some more-intense work. But like any runner, I like to do better each time. So for this race, better may have to just be another state ticked off the race-in-50-states list, rather than besting 1:50.

But another thing I’ve come to know is that running can be unpredictable. Several LRs and faster-pace interval workouts went surprisingly well for me during weeks 8-11, so there’s always room for an upset. Let’s see who’s right – skeptical me or wildcard me – in just a few days from now.

I’ve met my goal to raise at least $500 for Health Connections of the Upper Valley so I can run CBHM with their team! But if you’re interested in playing overachiever, any level of contribution you could make via my donation page would be greatly appreciated!


  1. Portia says:

    Wow, that race snuck up! I’m very interested in your threshold training. For my last HM, I did weekly tempo runs, of a shorter distance like 3-4 miles, and then my HM pace was supposed to be a bit faster than that. It didn’t work out, and this might be also due to the much bigger elevation gain of the race than was published on their website.

    Anyway, immediately after the race I told my coach I wanted to do longer runs at HM pace, so I could get more confidence running that pace. Like 8-9 miles. She basically said that it’s race pace because it’s fast, and you can’t run that fast all the time, but she agreed to add in a few longer HM pace runs during my next cycle. Anyway, it sounds like this is exactly what you did, and I’m curious what you mean by “disappointing” – was it hard to stay on pace during those runs?

    Every time I’ve trained for a marathon, I’ve realized at some point that the race pace I was aiming for was totally unrealistic. My conclusion? Make the pie lower.

    • eatingtheweek says:

      (for the record, I started to reply to this 20 minutes ago, then looked at internets & found myself reading about a nerd-con screening of Return of the Jedi in Austin TX)

      The overall scheme of this training I followed is to have 2 harder (generally faster) workouts plus the LR each week. The hard workouts were Tues intervals & Fri progression runs in weeks 1-6 or threshold runs weeks 7-11. The latter were 8-11 miles, with middle 5-8 at HMP (8:20/mi) either in one block or in 2 equal segments w/rest in btw.

      What I found hard was a) finding HMP by feel, and b) staying at HMP consistently throughout the interval. I often found I flagged halfway through, pulled up, but then could speed up again at the end (or even during the last 1-2 miles afterward that were meant to cool down). Several excuses can be made – maybe I went out too fast; I had a head cold one week; there are too damn many hills where I live – but I also think my head wasn’t in the game each time.

      My shorter, faster interval workouts all went very well, though; and once I stopped being an idiot about fueling, my LRs were all good. Thus, I don’t have a bead on which way this race is going to go!

  2. Portia says:

    ALSO! Good luck this weekend. I can’t wait to hear about it. I hope wildcard you is right.

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