Healdsburg Half Training: Week 6

I’ve hummed and haahed about whether or not to say this ‘out loud’. Would I be jinxing my race? Would I seem arrogant? Would I crash and burn, and deeply regret saying this on the blog? Well..whatever…I’m going to say it.


me danville wine
How I feel right now

I have loved running this week and I feel like I may have turned a corner and my training may be kicking in. Healdsburg is two weeks away (October 9th) so I’m wary of peaking too soon but at the moment, I feel REALLY good. I have NO idea if I will PR, there are so many factors at play, but I feel as good as I could possibly be feeling two weeks out.

Let’s look at the training.

Monday: Tempo Run

My goal for this was to warm up, run four tempo miles at 8.20 – 8.25 and then cool down. I ran in the evening, which is unusual for me but felt okay. In the end, my tempo miles came in at 8.41, 8.28, 8.24 and 8.15. That first tempo mile is disappointing and brings my average down to 8.27 but I was pleased with how the miles got quicker and ended pretty fast. I felt okay about this, but not awesome. 6 miles @ 9.06

Tuesday: Mid-pace Run

This run changed my mindset completely. I’ve been glum lately about how hard my long runs feel. I’ve been glum about how my easy pace is now 10 min miles when I remember how it used to be 9.30 and even 9.00 for a fleeting period. I’ve been wondering if this is middle-age catching up with me. So I set out for 6 evening miles aiming to hold 9 min miles throughout. Could I do it?

Mile 1 came in at 9.06. Not bad. I upped it a little bit. Mile 2 came in at 8.37. What the heck? I still felt really good so I wondered if I could hold Half Marathon Goal Pace (8.30) for the remainder of the run. Could I?

Kind of. The miles rolled by. M3 – 8.32. M4 – 8.30. M5 – 8.27, M6 – 8.35. They weren’t exactly 8.30 but they were pretty solid and I felt really good throughout the whole run. I got back buzzing and suddenly thinking that a PR might potentially be a possibility. 6.15@8.39

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Track Sesh

Another evening run. I made it to the HS track for 6.30, where the girls’ footie (soccer) team were practicing and I set off. My plan was: 1 mile WU, 8 x 800m at 5k pace (8.00) with 200m recovery and then 1 mile CD.

Basically I nailed it. Those 800m repeats felt pretty solid. Not easy but comfortable. My pacing was pretty much bang-on throughout and I felt really good throughout, until the lovely, swishy-ponytailed HS girls started casually jogging round the track faster than me, but whatever! It was too dark at the end to run the full mile cool down but I jogged 2 laps and then drove home thrilled with myself. 6.4 miles @8.40

So fast I'm blurry!
Another track sesh. I didn’t take a personal photographer this week.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Long run with fast finish

My key run of the training cycle. I felt that if I nailed this, I could feel confident with my training. If it went wrong then I needed to scale back my hopes. The plan was 15 miles in total – the first 10 would be at easy pace, the last 3 would be at 8.30 pace. I’ve only run 15 miles a few times this year, the last time being in Oklahoma, so it was a big day.

It went REALLY well. I ran three miles then met up with Lisa and we ran the next 7 miles together chatting and putting the world to rights. I love running with friends and the miles flew by. We finished the first 10 miles at a local park where we stopped for the loo, drank water and I took a gel. Lisa knew my pace plan so we agreed she’d stick with me as long as she felt comfy and when she needed to drop back, I’d keep running. So we high-fived and set off.

The first mile was a little too fast (8.17) but it felt pretty solid. I focussed on my feet, on my breathing and was pleased with how undeathly it felt. Mile two was where Lisa dropped back – I waved goodbye but felt horrible running off and leaving her, even though we’d agreed it. But I pressed on for the whole of those five miles and somehow, I got back to my house and I’d done it. My average pace for those miles had been 8.29 and I had felt really comfortable throughout. It wasn’t easy, of course, but it had felt okay. At one point, my pacing had been so solid that I’d wondered if my watch was broken because every time I glanced down, the pace field said 8.30. I was really thrilled.

The only fly in the Long Run ointment was that between Lisa and I, we took four bathroom breaks. I took one after one mile, we both took one at M6, she took one at just before M10 and I took one just after M10. I’ll take imodium for the race but it was frustrating and slightly worrying.

SF Half Loos
What I would like to see at every mile marker on all my long runs


Anyway. Overall overawesome. 15.2 miles @ 9.34.

Sunday: Rest

I meant to do an easy 3…but it was hot and it turned out I preferred drinking wine on the balcony with the Husband.


Did okay!! Ate well. Not too much, mostly plants. I’m at my happy weight again. I’m very focussed on this now for the next two weeks. I may lose a pound or two but I’m determined not to put any back on. This is a good place for me.


Also did well. Could have done with a few more early nights but not bad.

All in all, I had a big (for me) mileage week at 34 miles and they were all good solid miles. I feel SO good this week. Please excuse me if I’ve been a bit arrogant/obnoxious in this post but I just feel like I’m in great shape and that’s quite a rare feeling so I’m a bit over-excited!

The husband is away next week which will make training a little more complicated but will make getting more sleep easier – no-one to encourage me to watch ‘just one more’ episode of West Wing 🙂 I’d also like to do a little bit of yoga/stretching, without risking pulling anything.

Two weeks to go. Healdsburg, I can feel the race magic already!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. dlubi says:

    Congrats!! You are crushing the training!! 8:30 min/mi race pace seems totally reasonable for the paces you are consistently hitting in training! Stay confident, visualize that finish line, practice your race hydration / nutrition plan, & go get it!!

    1. Cathryn says:

      On it. Thanks love xx

  2. Jen says:

    Solid week!! You have good reason to feel excited! I think now that your key workout is behind you, maybe scale back a little bit? The anxious part of me is afraid you might be doing too many fast miles? (But then I think, “Well, it seems to be working…don’t mess with it.”) I don’t think you should worry too much about what your “easy” pace is. My easy pace is anywhere between 10-11 min/miles, depending on the day and weekly mileage. Remember the point is to work on your aerobic base, not on speed. And if Angela can humbly run 10 minute miles, then we surely can! 😉

    1. Cathryn says:

      I’m with you – so torn about whether to pull back a bit or keep going. My legs feel good and the plan I’m ‘kind of’ following has one more tough week but I’m nervous of using up all the magic.
      The bit that worries me about the 10 min mile thing is NOT the pace itself but rather that this is my ‘comfy’ speed, not my ‘holding it back for aerobic base’ speed. But I’m not as worried today as I was last week.

      1. dlubi says:

        Keep the intensity up, but drop the volume! Happy to look at your plan & help you adjust it if you want! You got this!!

    2. gracechua31 says:

      I struggle with this too. Sometimes it’s just that if I ran any slower than 10min miles, I’d be late for daycare pickup…ugh, planning. Do you guys use a HRM? The too many fast miles might be more significant for a full marathon than a half – you can always hang on and be a little uncomfortable for a few miles at the end of a half, and to me that’s easier than doing the same at the end of a full marathon.
      Cat, I think you are completely rocking your training – now it’s taper time!

      1. Cathryn says:

        I hope so…I am fighting a cold. I don’t have one but I can feel it threatening me and I’m fighting it hard with sleep, wine and fury!! I cannot muck this up.
        Also, I love how you have to run a certain speed to be there for daycare pick up. Yes…if I ran much slower I’d be late for everything.

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