Healdsburg Half Training: Week 7

After last week’s awesomeness,  I was left with a tricky decision. With two weeks to go until race day, should I keep pushing hard in training or tone it down a bit? I know that this coming week is be Taper Week but I didn’t quite know how to handle the last final week of actual training. So I consulted with Angela and Margot and Danielle, got feedback from other running friends (thank you) and…never quite made a decision.

I definitely cut back on a very long tempo run I had in the plan and I resisted the desire to do another 15 mile long run this weekend, but everything else I kept the same. I have NO idea if I did the right thing. (I have no cool photos to share this week so I shall be illustrating this post with totally random photos that I like but that I haven’t featured for a while.)

Monday: Easy run

The Husband headed off to Arkansas this week with work, leaving at 6.30am so I snuck in an early easy 3 miler here. 3 miles @ 10.07

me dude tokyo
Remember the time we spent 3 weeks in Tokyo?

Wednesday: Speed session

I met Lisa at the track whilst our kids were at Kids Club at church and set off doing 8 x 800m repeats at 5k pace (8.00). I kept an eye on how my legs felt, if they’d started feeling the strain too much I would have cut back to 400m or done fewer repeats but I felt pretty strong throughout and nailed those goal paces.

Friday: Tempo Run

Tempo Runs have been the session that I have struggled with the most on this training cycle. I’ve never hit my goal paces in the first mile and often haven’t really hit goal pace at all. My goal here was 3 miles at 8.20 – they came in at 8.28, 8.27 and 8.20. Those first two splits are pretty much my half-marathon goal pace (8.30) so  I was a bit downhearted when I got back.

Boulder snow
That time we went to Boulder and it was cold beyond belief!


Sunday: Long Run with fast finish

Aaand this is where I think I screwed up. So much of my mental preparation depended on this long run. My goal was 13 miles with the last 5 at race pace. I was due to meet Lisa at 6am but when I woke up ready to run, I felt really sick so I cancelled on the poor girl and went back to bed. Woke at 7.30 feeling better. I think I’d eaten too much the night before.

I ended up running at 4.30pm. I did the first 8 miles happily at 10  min miles and then sped up for the last five. It was a WHOLE lot tougher than last week, after 10 slower miles. I was having to work really hard by that final mile. And when I stopped, I was literally exhausted. I crept back into the house but then I got cold and shivery (I had got cold walking back to the house after my run) and really didn’t feel well all evening.

I can think of some preparation errors I made – I’d not eaten since lunchtime, I hadn’t drunk much all day, I hadn’t fueled or hydrated on my run. But I honestly don’t know if I can run that fast for 13 miles next weekend – and more important to me is running healthily! I’m suddenly nervous about holding that pace for so long.

Having said that, I did hit those miles splits – they came in at 8.19, 8.26, 8.29, 8.30 and 8.32. Silver linings?

So overall, I managed 28 miles and I managed to run 111 miles in September, my biggest mileage for at least a year so that was good!

Taper Week Plans

My plan for taper week is to cut back dramatically – I’m nervous that I burned my legs out too much on yesterday’s run! So I’ll be doing a few easy runs, maybe with some strides, but I’m going to rest and rest and rest.


Eating – due to my bowels’ tendency to see race mornings as Party Time, I’m cutting out fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans…all my favourite things…as of Thursday morning. It’ll be carbs and protein, people! Cheese on toast all week 🙂

Sleeping – I am aiming to be in bed at 9.30 with lights out at 10 every night this week (except Monday when I have college). I’ve just finished ‘Running with the Kenyans’ and one thing that struck me was how much rest Kenyan athletes get – how much sleep, how much downtime. I can’t live at altitude, I don’t eat ugali, I don’t have their amazing genes but I can get more sleep!

Doing – Playlists, packing, visualising the finish line, planning a race-strategy…all the good stuff. I may get a massage too.

Let’s see how this week goes, eh?

8 Comments Add yours

  1. I really think you should not worry about this long run. First, you obviously weren’t feeling good. Second and most important: there’s ALWAYS a bad run (or a bunch of bad runs) the weeks just before an important race! You worked your heart out for this race. You care about it a lot. And that’s good! So I think it may be it. Mind is so tricky!

    Good luck for this last week. I’m behind you!! YOU GO, GIRL!!!

    1. Cathryn says:

      I think you’re right. There’s always one bad run! As long as it was this weekend and not next weekend!! Thanks for the intercontinental cheering xx

  2. So excited about your race! Good luck! It’s going to be fantastic!
    p.s. I sent you an email under your blog mail address.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thank you for commenting, 5k queen xx

  3. Jen says:

    Race week! You’ve worked hard, hay is in the barn, etc. Bring on the Healdsburg magic!!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Healdsburg Magic is a real thing!

  4. Grace says:

    I’m incapable of running long in the afternoon, so hats off to you! 🙂 I think you’ve got this. Bring it on!

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