The sun is shining and training is back on track and I'm feeling good. I got a bit of a wake up call last week when I decided to kick off my training schedule for the Scottish Half.
Last Thursday my plan was to go out and run 4 miles up the cycle path. Have a rest. Then run back down the cycle path at target half marathon pace for 3 solid miles. Once that was done I would then jog back to the house for the final mile as a cool down.
What actually happened was slightly different!
I ran up the cycle path nice and steady. Not going too fast, this was just going to be an easy warm up. A bit of a stretch for the legs after being in the office all day.
I got to the end of the 4 miles and felt fine. I stopped for 2 minutes, psyched myself up and unleashed the speed.
Well, I got up to speed but very very quickly I realised that the target pace I thought possible was not going to happen!
There and then I decided to hold on what ever pace I could for as long as possible. I managed 5:56 min/mi but this was 6 seconds a mile slower than I had wanted and it turned out 2 miles shorter than planned!
1 mile done and I was spent. I'd put everything in to it and it really shouldn't have felt so hard. I mean, it felt like a full out race!
I gave myself 2 minutes recovery and decided to give it another go. This time with the aim of hitting 6 minute/mi pace. Mission accomplished, 6:00 on the dot. Another 2 minute recovery and then the final mile. I thought I was going to be sick during the second mile so I really wasn't looking forward to this one but as it happened, it felt easier and I clocked the mile at 6:01.
I woke up on Friday morning with legs like lead and it felt great!!
Fast forward a week and I headed out towards Cramond in the sunshine. This time, 1 mile warm up and then the plan was to hold on to 6 min pace for as long as I felt I could.
I lasted 1.38 miles and then I had a 1 minute recovery. The heat was really getting to me so I decided there and then to change the session slightly, rather than focus on the pace, focus on my heart rate and keep it in the Threshold range.
The next mile was 6:23 at Threshold HR pace and then I had another 1 minute jog recovery, then 1 more mile at threshold, this time it lapped at 6:05 pace.
I decided I was still feeling a bit too fresh so, after a short jog, I went all out for 1/2 mile. As the 1/2 mile clocked up on my watch I pressed lap and the pace was 5:48 min/mi - 2 seconds faster that my original target pace.
To think I can only just do that for 0.5 mile, I don't think it will be a realistic pace to try and aim for at the Scottish Half marathon this year, but it's something to work towards.
I love a half marathon and the training required for the distance so I'm now in two minds as to whether next year I take a year out of marathon and ultra marathon distance races and just focus on faster halfs.
What do you reckon?