Training Log

First half marthon. 5/11/20-…

I’ve never been a very consistent runner, but I’ve always enjoyed it. So I’m training for a half marathon.

I’m using Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 Half Marathon plan. Hal comes highly recommended from the runners in my life. He’s great on Twitter.

This is what the next 12 weeks look like.

The program uses a Saturday long run with increasing miles progressing towards the race date. I’ve not actually got a race pinned down, but am pretending 3 months forward.

Between the Saturday long runs are pace runs and 3 mile recovery runs. I’ll have to learn what that means.

Below I’ll keep a daily log, and summarize anything interesting here at the top.

In Summary

  • Run Stack
    • Run tracker: Strava.
    • Shoes: worn out Nikes.
    • Clothing: One pair Lululemon shorts. Assorted T’s.
  • Running Thoughts

    1. More stretching: make pre and post workout stretching part of the routine.

    2. More water: make hydration part of the routine.

    3. Define the loop and run the loop:

      Water → Stretch → Run → Stretch → Water

    4. Good runs move slow to fast. Bad runs move fast to slow.

    5. Protect good endings from bad beginnings.

    6. It feels different when you focus on pushing your body forward vs pulling your knees up, but it’s the same thing. Use your focus on what helps you move further and faster. *need an expert opinion here

      In a run, your focus is your experience. Control your focus to control the run.

    7. Long roads are mental loads. Train different muscles through different roads.

    8. Use the Buddy Arc at different phases:

      • Will I show up? (accountability)

      • Will I finish? (grit)

      • Will I go further and faster? (performance)

    9. Every run expands your capacity for the next one. A run is as small as the runner is big.

    10. Friction x Distance = Crisis.

    11. Small wrinkles lead to big breakdowns.

Log (most recent)

Week 1

Monday, May 11, 2020

Mondays are rest days, but I’m going to plan on continuing the 15-minute or 20-minute HIIT workouts I like.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Run: 3 mile.
Pace: 8:04

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Run: 3 mile.
Pace: 8:37

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Run: 3 mile.
Pace: 8:10

Friday, May 15, 2020

Run: Rest

I did a 15-minute low impact HIIT. The road miles are wearing on my joints. Need to watch the interplay between strength and run. May shift the HIIT workouts to core and upper body focused.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Run: 4 mile long run.
Pace: 8:31

First long run. This wasn’t bad. I’m excited to see what it feels like to run more than 5 miles over the next few weeks. I’m not sure I ever just ran further than 5 miles while training.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Run: Cross training

30 minute stationary bike ride. Also a 15-minute HIIT. Need to get some options for the cross training on non-running days.

Week 2

Begining to feel some wear & tear on my legs, particularly achilles tendons.

To add to routine:

  • Defined stretching and warmup/cooldown routines with workouts
  • Track splits for pace runs
  • Drink more water!

I’m going to experiment with where/when I fit in strength training / full body workouts with the program. Hal recommends Tues. & Thurs.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Run: Rest day.

Did a 15-minute HIIT.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Run: 3 mile.
Pace: 8:05/mile average.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Run: 3 mile pace run.
Pace: 8:10/mile average.
Splits: 8:08 | 8:12 | 8:09

Unclear on how a pace run” works. Run felt fine. I could’ve run faster. Performed better than I expected by holding back my speed. Exploring new routes around the lake.

To do: Ask Elan to write up an explanation of pace runs.”

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Awake. Beautiful day. Achilles tight and sensitive. Body creaks. I begin making small wagers with myself on which part breaks first.

Run went fine. Harder than the last two.

Run: 3 mile run.
Pace: 8:18
Splits: 7:52 | 8:26 | 8:34

It may be that first mile time. Coming out too fast kills the rest of the run. Need to keep around 8:10 on recovery runs or the legs and lungs go too early.

Ordered a pair of Hoka’s on the recommendation of Thomas, who described them as the soft-soled shoe for the distinguished gentleman runner.”

Friday, May 22, 2020

Run: Rest day.

Woke in the Berkshires. HIIT workout. Slight tinge in my heel. House hunting. Tomorrow’s the long run.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Run: 5 mile long run.
Pace: 8.53/mi.
Splits: 8:58 | 9:29 |. 8:41 | 8:33 | 8:49

Second long run, up to 5 from 4 miles last week. Long runs make me nervous, because I’ve never run much longer than 3 miles.

I went into this one scared I’d burn myself out in the first two miles and be dragging myself down the road for the last 3. About half way through it clicked I could set a harder pace. You can see it in my splits. Two slow first miles, then picking up the pace closer to about 30 seconds over my regular 3 mile pace.

Ended up easy with more in the tank.

Whoops. Turns out this is part of Hal’s plan:

Run slow: Run at a comfortable pace, one that allows you to converse with your training partners, at least during the beginning of the run. Toward the end, you may need to abandon conversation and concentrate on finishing with good form. Or, if you paced yourself properly, pick up the pace and finish strong. The important point is that you cover the prescribed distance; how fast you cover it doesn’t matter.

Trust in Hal (maybe I should read the fine print before moving forward). Good runs are faster at the end than the beginning. Protect good endings from bad beginnings.

One other thought I’ve had a few times on these runs: My natural motion is to push/pull my body forward. I feel it in my hamstrings and my quads. It’s moving weight. But there is another edge I can focus on of raising my knees - lifting my legs for the next stride instead of pushing my body for the next stride. The knee lifting feels lighter and faster, but I can’t tell if it’s changing my form, or if it’s better or worse form, or if there is any difference at all.

Is there a word for this? Is this a running thing?

Maybe it’s that focus is the experience.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Run: Cross training day. 20-minute HIIT + Swim. Long river walk.

Had planned on taking a swim, but instead went for a long walk down to the Green River with Kit and cousins and sat and watched a muskrat hunt for fish.

The mental mode in suburban running is reactive - more focused on continuous movement and response, less on overcoming the next repetitive step. It seems easier. You zig and zag, and avoid people and traffic and make quick route alterations. You rarely think how much further do I have to go?’ as you’re given a lot of reasons to think should I go this way or that?’ Most of the run happens in the eyes and the ears and mentally remapping the landscape.

In the country the road is hot and visible. These are long roads. There are no cars or people or curbs to dodge. Most the run happens in the legs and the mind. Can my legs keep going? Can my mind keep going?

To do: Name this. Frame this. Run Maps and Mind Maps. Legs Lungs & Learning. ?

update: I think i’ll frame this as Long roads are mental loads..”

Week 3

There is a rhythm here. Comfort to limits to new limits and new comfort.

I’m going to update my gear a bit, and add some diligence to holding my body together.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Run: Rest. 15-minute HIIT.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Run: 3.29 miles.
Pace: 8:38
Splits: 8:43 | 8:31 | 8:36 | 8:51 (.2 mi)

Ran with Ben, back the way we went to the river on Sunday. First time running with another person since I began training. Pace pushed harder. Went further than I had planned. Took a hard hill at the end.

Running with friends is a boost. You have a higher floor on pace, you have a higher reluctance to stop on distance, and you have a clear feedback loop on voice/breath - how hard is it to have a conversation.

We stopped talking at the beginning of the third mile.

To do: Give a name to the buddy force, more specific than the obvious accountability’ etc.

Update: The Buddy Arc: Will I show up? Will I finish? Will I go further and faster?

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Run: 4.02 miles.
Pace: 8:36
Splits: 8:18 | 8:21 | 8:51 | 8:49

Back in Newton.

I can feel my capacity building, and, through that, my perspectiving shifting on the runs. 3 weeks ago a 4 mile run was big, and if I had it ahead of me I would feel nervous, overly cautious, and constrained. Now, it feels like a play thing. I can look at it and say what do I want to do with this?” It’s not a question of can I do this, it’s how I want to. That’s powerful.

How can I principle that? Every run expands your capacity for the next one. Something like that. On Saturday I ran 5 miles. This coming Saturday I’ll run 6. 6 looks big, but in a few more weeks I’ll be running 10 and 6 will be a toy.

I’ve been thinking about this in regards to coaching. Coaching and consulting sit on two poles. Consulting focuses on a problem, and helping to solve it. Coaching focuses on the person, and their capacity to help themselves.

The coaching focus difficult to hold. Problems are so seductive - the opportunity to be smart, useful, right. Problems are clear. They hold proof, and can be measured. And they are simple - even the most complex problem can be broken down and divided.

People aren’t any of the things a problem is. They are complicated, interesting, and whole. They can’t be divided, but have an incredible capacity for expansion.

I’ve begun writing down a mantra before sessions to remind me of the need to focus on people in the face of problems:

The problem is as small as the person is big.

Right now, running feels like I’m getting bigger and the runs are getting smaller as I grow.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Run: 3.01 miles.
Pace: 8:19/mi.
Splits: 8:02 | 8:18 | 8:34

A blurry picture. Didn’t sleep great, so not an easy run. Feel like I made a few wrong turns as well. Want to get more deliberate in mapping my routes here in the suburbs. Something about knowing where you’re going lets you create little performance obstacles within the map. I’ll write about those mental games in the future.

Here’s one - listen to podcasts. They’re fun! You learn stuff. You often feel like you’re in a conversation. It’s buddy running by yourself.

Here are a few of the podcasts I’ve been running with recently:

  • Coaches Rising: These are deep conversations with coaches about coaching, that often turn into coaching conversation. If you’re interested in hearing the variety of how coaches work this is a good starting point.
  • Conversations with Tyler: It’s amazing how different a Tyler Cowen interview is. They are conversations with high torque. Tyler’s guests never get to go down the same path with the same answers they’ve used before. Every convo reveals something new.
  • EconTalk with Russ Roberts: Professor Roberts is humane, a great disagree-er (“I disagree with you there, but for the sake of argument lets say …”), and moves more towards doubt than certainty. Wonderful view on economics as an art, and dignity as a force. See his 12 Rules for Life.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Rest Day

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Run: 6 mile long run.
Pace: 9:04/mi
Splits: 8:58 | 8:45 | 9:06 | 9:01 | 9:20 | 9:14

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Run: Cross training.

Legs tired. Knee sore.

Week 4

Monday, June 1, 2020

Rest Day

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Run: 3 miles
Pace: 7:57 / mi.
Splits: 7:38 | 7:51 | 8:18

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Run: 4.1 miles.
Pace: 8:37 / mi.
Splits: 8:34 | 8:28 | 8:36 | 8:49

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Run: 3 miles.
Pace: 8:09/mi
Splits: 8:29 | 8:05 | 7:53

Friday, June 5, 2020

Rest Day

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Run: 7 miles.
Pace: 9:06/mi.
Splits: 8:55 | 9:03 | 9:11 | 9:02 | 8:52 | 9:23 | 9:15

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Cross training. Rest Day.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Cross training: 15-minute HIIT.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Run: 3 miles.
Pace: 7:49/mi. Splits: 7:49 | 7:49 | 7:45

I tried to get fancy with the photo today, but don’t think I like it.

Fun run though. Last week, after the 6 mile long run, my legs felt beat. I was worried the rest of training was going to feel that bad. This week, after the 7 mile run, I feel great. Not sure why. New shoes maybe.

I think I know what to do with these 3 mile Tuesday & Thursday runs - run them kinda fast, or slow if I’m tired. Today I went out fast thinking I’d pull back a bit, then got to mile 2 and figured I could keep the pace, then did the same for mile 3.

2 things that helped:

  1. Cool weather
  2. Mostly flat route

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Run: 4 miles.
Pace: 8:08/mi.
Splits: 7:39 | 8:20 | 8:21 | 8:12

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Run: 3.13 miles.
Pace: 8:04/mi.
Splits: 7:13 | 8:03 | 8:05

Had a couple personal bests (as measured via Strava):

  • 1 Mile - 7:10
  • 2 Mile - 15:14
  • 5k - 24:54

I put some speed intervals into this one.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Rest Day.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Run: 8.01 miles.
Pace: 8:37/mi.
Splits: 8:00 | 8:46 | 8:28 | 8:26 | 8:53 | 8:41 | 8:55 | 8:41

A wrinkle in my sock near the ball of my foot led to a blister. I noticed it about 4 mile in and decided to push through. Not wanting to stop and break my time. Not wanting to risk stopping and not starting again.

The blister isn’t bad. I’ll be fine to run again on Tuesday, but I need to be more aware as I’m putting in more miles of small frictions in the process. Friction x Distance = Crisis. Small wrinkles lead to big breakdowns.

Todo: Set a starting protocol.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

I’ve got some catching up to do here.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Cross-training: 15-minute HIIT.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Run: 3.01 miles.
Pace: 7:35/mi.
Splits: 7:42 | 7:36 | 7:25

Fastest 2 mile time (15:00). Last week I ran my fastest 1 mile (7:15) but ended at 15:15 for my 2 mile time. Pace for my 5k next weekend might be around 7:20/mi.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Run: 4.04 mile pace. Pace: 7:53/mi. Splits: 7:49 | 7:46 | 8:05 | 7:52

Missed a turn and got lost. Would’ve been faster on the back two miles.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Run: 3.11 miles.
Pace: 7:48/mi.
Splits: 7:49 | 7:55 | 7:48 | 6:27 (0.1m)

Friday, June 19, 2020

Rest Day

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Run: 5K race (kinda)
Pace: 7:33/mi.
Splits: 7:15 | 7:36 | 7:56 | 6:23 (.1mi.)

Not a good run. Went in with plans to hold a steady 7:20 pace (not really based on any evidence that was a good idea). Came out a little fast, ended up with a second mile that was a steady uphill climb, and heavy heavy air. Needed to stop and walk for a few seconds at the start of the third mile to catch my breath.

Next 5k: Pace towards 7:40 | 7:30 | 7:40 | kick.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Rest Day

Monday, June 22, 2020

Rest Day

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Run: 3.41 miles.
Pace: 8:08/mi.
Splits: 8:12 | 8:15 | 8:14 | 7:26 (.4mi.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Run: 5.02 miles.
Pace: 8:20/mi.
Splits: 8:29 | 7:45 | 8:21 | 8:36 | 8:31

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Run: 3.11 miles.
Pace: 7:43/mi.
Splits: 7:56 | 7:46 | 7:33 | 6:53 (.1)

Friday, June 26, 2020

Rest Day

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Run: 9 miles.
Pace: 8:58/mi.
Splits: 7:40 | 8:23 | 8:21 | 8:42 | 8:45 | 8:47 | 9:02 | 10:47 | 10:09

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Rest Day

Monday, June 29, 2020

Rest Day

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Run: 3 miles.
Pace: 8:07/mi.
Splits: 8:20 | 7:59 | 8:00

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Run: 5 mile pace run.
Pace: 8:37/mi.
Splits: 8:51 | 8:48 | 9:00 | 8:51 | 7:40

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Run: 3.11 miles.
Pace: 7:30/mi.
Splits: 7:45 | 7:46 | 7:31 | 6:36 (01.mi.)

Friday, July 3, 2020

Rest Day

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Run: 10.01 mile long run.
Pace: 8:46/mi.
Splits: 8:46 | 8:56 | 8:55 | 8:44 | 8:46 | 8:51 | 8:28 | 8:36 | 8:46 | 8:46

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Rest Day

Monday, July 6, 2020

Rest Day

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Run: 3 miles.
Pace: 7:39/mi.
Splits: 7:44 | 7:31 | 7:41

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Run: 5.01 miles.
Pace: 8:10/mi.
Splits: 8:01 | 8:18 | 8:25 | 8:15 | 7:55

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Run: 3 miles.
Pace: 8:15/mi.
Splits: 8:20 | 8:11 | 8:10

Friday, July 10, 2020

Rest Day

Saturday, July 11, 2020


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Rest Day

Monday, July 13, 2020

Rest Day

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Run: 3 miles.
Pace: 7:27/mi. Splits: 7:30 | 7:25 | 7:25

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Run: 5.01 miles.
Pace: 8:05/mi.
Splits: 8:09 | 8:32 | 8:05 | 8:01 | 7:39

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Run: 3.1 miles (5k).
Pace: 7:30/mi.
Splits: 7:42 | 7:35 | 7:16 | 7:07 (.1)

Friday, July 17, 2020

Rest Day

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Run: 11 miles.
Pace: 8:42/mi.
Splits: 8:49 | 8:55 | 8:36 | 8:49 | 8:41 | 8:43 | 8:41 | 8:48 | 8:49 | 8:31 | 8:23

This was a good run. Felt like I could definitely have made another two miles. Foot is a bit sore with some clicking in the ankle.

What worked:

  • 2x18oz water before bed.
  • 1x18oz water when I woke up.
  • Carbs and protein dinner night before.
  • Early start - on the road by 6:45 - greatly reduced the heat.
  • Also, it was less hot and humid than it had been in previous runs.
  • PACE! Particularly in those first 3 miles when it’s tempting to push out fast. Aimed for 9:00/mi pace, always a bit ahead, with some downhills early that let me get some time.
  • New Under Armour compression shorts and some anti-friction deodorant-like stuff to protect against chaffing.
  • Rest - taking it easier the week before took a lot of the grinding pain out of my legs.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Rest Day

Monday, July 20, 2020

Rest Day

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Run: 3 miles.

Something happened after my 11 mile run on Saturday. My right ankle began clicking a bit. Then I went on an (ill-advised) hike up about a half mile of steeps gravel roadway. Then I did an (ill-advised) runners yoga in the morning. Now, I having a lot of trouble putting any weight on my ankle, it’s movement is limited, it’s stiff - but doesn’t seem to be too swollen, and my heel is quite sore.

I have bum ankles. A slight curve in the way my heels land has left me with a rc