RNR Half Marathon Training: Weeks 1 and 2

Unless otherwise noted, my runs are on the treadmill. I don’t usually run outside unless it is still daylight out, and even then I’ll sometimes just go downstairs to the treadmill if the run is under 6 miles.

I’m also making the switch to “minimalist” running shoes, in the hopes that it will reduce my risk of injury – especially considering how prone I am to running injuries.  This means that I’m adapting my running form so that I am running with more of a front-midfoot strike, rather than a heel strike, which means that I am engaging my calves a whole heck of a lot more than they are used to. Adam made the switch last year and said it took him a few weeks to adapt.  Because my calves get tired/sore/tight more easily, I’m running slower and taking more walking breaks as I’m getting used to this new running form. I’m hoping that in a few weeks I’ll see the benefits of the minimalist shoes and be as fast, if not faster, as I had been at this point in my half marathon training last year.

* * * * *

Week 1:

Monday 12/26, Tuesday 12/27

Last two days before we start training – in Connecticut and traveling home.

Wednesday: 3 miles (33:00)

This run went pretty well, but my calves were SO SORE after. I was hobbling around a bit. Rolling them out helped a little, but they were still pretty sore and tight.

Thursday: 3 miles (32:57)

Ouch!  Although my pace was pretty much the same for this run as the day before, it felt WAY more difficult.  Good news is that my knees and the spot where I had my stress fracture didn’t hurt or feel tender at all… hopefully that means the new shoes/running form are working!


We had a 3 mile run on the schedule, but my calves were SO sore after Wednesday and Thursday that I figured it’d do more good to take a rest day before Saturday’s race.  Seriously, there were a couple of times I almost fell over while walking in my heels at work.

Saturday: Fairfax Four Miler

This is the second time we’ve run the Fairfax Four Miler on New Year’s Eve. It was still so warm (probably mid-40s/low 50s) at race time, I wore my knee tights, a short sleeve tech tee, and a light running jacket. (By comparison, last year, I was so freezing cold, I had to buy running gloves at the store when we checked into the race.)  My calves were still pretty sore, but I made it to the 3 mile marker before taking a walk break. I was actually on a pretty good pace, maybe 10:20/mile or so, for the first two miles, but my third mile was about two minutes slower.  But even though I walked a little of the fourth mile, it was faster than my third, and overall I ended up at about 11:00/mile pace, which is what I’d been running the training runs earlier in the week.

I ran this race 1:30/mile slower than my four mile race PR.  It feels kind of pathetic for my runs to be going so slow and for me to need to take so many walking breaks, but I need to remember that I’m teaching my legs a new way to run and that this is using my muscles in ways they aren’t used to.

Distance: 4 miles
Time: 43:52
Pace: 10:58/mile



Week 2:


Rest. This was supposed to be a strength training day, but we did do a lot of cleaning and reorganizing of our apartment, so it isn’t like our muscles weren’t put to any use.

Tuesday: 3 mile run (33:58)

We are following the Whole Living Action Plan for January, which means that we were a little light on the calories and the protein this week. The plan does not recommend strenuous exercise in the first week, so I took the runs a bit slower this week than I would have been able to had we been eating differently.

Wednesday: 3 mile run (34:52)

See above.  Also, this was the first run where my calves were not super sore afterwards. I could definitely feel them and they were tighter than they used to be after a run in my old sneakers, but I was able to walk around just fine.

Thursday: 3 mile run (34:40)

Even less calf soreness and tightness. I felt kind of sluggish though – this was day four of the Action Plan and my body was starting to really feel it.

I skipped the strength training I was supposed to do this day. I’m going to either need to get up early to run and lift or go to Body Pump after work, or just plan on eating pretty late on Thursdays if I’m going to get this in.



Saturday: 4.7 mile run/walk (1:08:00)

The weather was gorgeous on Saturday, so I decided to take my run outside. (I generally do all runs under 6 miles on the treadmill.)  I mapped out a 5 mile route, threw on shorts and a t-shirt (in January!), laced up my sneakers and headed outside.

My planned route was to take me over the bridge into DC and then do a lap around the Lincoln Memorial.  Problem was that I completely forgot about the construction around the reflecting pool and I had no idea how to re-route myself to still hit 5 miles. So I decided once I got to the Lincoln to just have this be my cross-training, and jog/walk (with an emphasis on walking – didn’t want to wear myself out) home.  I measured out the distance of what I think was my actual path and it was closer to 5 miles than I thought. Oh well… it was nice to just get outside in shorts and a tee in January, although it is WINDY on the bridge and it got cloudy towards the end, so I started to get a bit chilly on my way home.

Sunday: 5 miles (59:49)

I’m glad I ended up re-doing this run. Although it wasn’t easy (I was pretty tired), I felt pretty good for most of it and my legs felt SO much better.  I think they are starting to finally adjust to the new running shoes/form… and hopefully next week, my runs will be even stronger.


1 Comment

Filed under Pretending to be a Runner, Race Recap

One response to “RNR Half Marathon Training: Weeks 1 and 2

  1. I am reading (or rather listening to the audiobook) Born to Run. I’m still a little skeptical of the minimalist shoes idea. I’m curious to know how the switch is going for you?