Advent 2017 Half Marathon Training: Week 1

I’ll be posting my workouts and runs for the week during my half marathon training. I haven’t even picked a half marathon to do at the end of the 12 weeks yet. I should probably get on that! But for now, I’ll just name these posts Advent 2017. 😛

Monday: I always start off the week with yoga, since Mondays are just a struggle for me in general. I live really close to a YMCA, so instead of doing a video at home, I decided to go to a class there.


I could definitely tell I haven’t exercised regularly in at least a month. My muscles were super tight and shakier than I’m used to. I couldn’t put my heels all the way down during my downward dog until the end of the class. And the downward dog was less of a resting pose than it normally is for me. Overall, though, it was good to be back on the mat, and back in the training mindset in general.

Also, the class was perfect when it came to my faith. Although I don’t quite understand the “no yoga” stance that a lot of Catholics are taking now, I can understand why going to a class with a heavy emphasis on the spiritual aspects of another religion would be undesirable. The teacher for this yoga class didn’t do ANY sort of spiritual stuff, though. It was all about the stretches – which is what I do yoga for anyway.

Tuesday: First run of my training! Also first one since Thanksgiving Day. And the Thanksgiving Day run was the first run since – pretty soon after the Bourbon Chase. Which was in October. So, clearly, I’ll need to work back up to my best running ability.

I went to my parish to see if anyone would show up for the group run I’m trying to start every Tuesday night for Catholic Women Run. I was all prepared – headlamp, reflective vest, warm clothes, Bible. But no on showed up. I’m expecting some this week, but no dice this time. So instead of running outside in the cold and dark by myself, I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill.

Here are the stats for that (and my lame picture for it). These stats are what everyone else seems to keep track of. Anything else I should note for every run?


Distance – 3 miles; Duration – 33:15; Average Pace – 11:00; Splits – No idea; Weather – N/A. I’m also going to keep track of the day of my cycle, since I track that anyway. I imagine it will affect my runs, so I think it would be good to know how. I was on cycle day 25 for this run. How I felt – Eh. First run in a while. So I couldn’t go as fast as I would have when I was training for the Bourbon Chase.

Prayer takeaway – There was a male trainer talking a young girl through a workout on the rowing machine right next to me. I started thinking that, of all the names I use to name God, one I’ve never used before is trainer or coach. But God was there for me during the run in the same way that trainer was there to coach the young girl. Encouraging me, pushing me when I was being too complacent, correcting me. I’ll be listening to what the greatest coach of all is saying to me for the rest of this Advent season.

Wednesday: Strength day! Here’s what I did (3 sets of 10):

  • Squats
  • Single arm press (on both sides)
  • Burpees + press
  • Plank twists
  • Leg lifts + crunch
  • Deadlifts

I felt pretty good and strong when I finished the circuits…and then I could barely sit down the next day. My hamstrings and lower back were SO SORE. But, again, that’s what I get for taking such a long sabbatical from a regular workout routine. I only have myself to blame!

Thursday: Second run day! Still didn’t feel like running outside in the cold, so I went to the Y to run on the treadmill again. I did my normal 4:1 run/walk instead of looking for an interval on Pinterest.

This is about when I decided to be more serious about my running. So I actually have a better picture for y’all! Still not of me running…but hey, it’s better than just a picture of the treadmill!

thursday run

Distance – 3 miles; Duration – 31:41; Average Pace – 10:20; Splits – No idea; Weather – N/A. Cycle day – 27. How I felt – Better! Which is reflected in the faster average pace. But still not as strong as I’m used to. Prayer takeaway – Consistency is key, in fitness AND in faith.

Friday: Rest day! Which I really needed, since the second day soreness from the strength day was in full swing. I foam rolled instead. Which was both painful and heavenly. Like most foam rolling sessions are.

foam roll

Here’s the picture I made Adam take of my. My question is how popular runners take such perfect foam rolling photos for Instagram?! Because this is very much not Instagram-worthy. And yet I still posted it…

Saturday: Cross training day! So I did the stairmaster for 30 minutes. I used this workout that I found on Pinterest.

The stairmaster is one of my new favorite ways to get my heart rate up (besides running, of course). I started using it after my hike to the top of El Capitan this summer when I realized how dreadfully unprepared I was for hiking high elevations. My boyfriend and his two friends seemed to have no trouble at all going up…and up…and up…and I was dying. I mean, I got to the top and back down even though there were times when I didn’t think I could. And it took like 10 hours. But I was embarrassed by how out of shape I was compared to the guys. So, being my competitive self, I decided to create a half marathon/14er training plan for myself. (If you don’t know, like I didn’t, 14er means a 14,000 elevation hike.) The plan included a lot more hiking and stairmaster workouts than I had ever done before, as well as my normal running.


In the few months since I’ve added the stairmaster into my routine, I’ve seen my running performance improve as well. I was very worried about the hills in the Bourbon Chase, which I mentioned in this post. My second leg of the race was one that people warned me was particularly brutal because of the hills. But then…I was totally fine. I attributed it to my stronger leg muscles. And those stronger leg muscles also made me faster on some of my runs. So now I’m hooked!

Also. my back muscles are looking very undefined in this picture. Clearly I need to add some moves for my back this week on my strength training day.

Sunday: Last run of the week! And the long one. Long meaning 4 miles at this point in training. So not too bad.

I was impressed that I did this one outside. I had to wear a sleeveless shirt with one of my long-sleeved shirts and one of Adam’s long-sleeved shirts, plus gloves and a hat, but it really wasn’t as bad as I was expecting! Maybe I can be a cold weather outdoor runner!

Since I’m trying to improve my times, I decided to spend the first mile of this run just running, so I can see how fast I am without the run/walk method. Pretty happy with the result. Although still unsure what my run/walk method should be based on that. I’ve only found a suggestion for 9 min/mile and 10 min/mile. Since I’m somewhere in between, I’m going to try 2 min/30 sec this week during my runs. Not sure if that will get me under 2 hours for my half, though. So I might need to try another timing. This will be an experiment!

Distance – 4 miles; Duration – 41:43; Average Pace – 10:25; Splits – 9:45, 10:42, 10:53, 10:19; Weather – 38 degrees. Cycle day – 2 (ugh). How I felt – A little off at the beginning of the run. Adam and I went to a game night at a friend’s last night and I may have had a bit too much to drink. I wasn’t sick or anything, but I did feel a little weird. The run helped (especially being out in the cold), but I still feel a little weird even writing this a few hours later. Also, we didn’t get home until around 1AM. Even though we slept in and I got a full 8 hours of sleep, my body may have just been thrown off. Still worried that I’m not fast enough to run a half marathon under 2 hours. But it is only the 3rd run of the training. And I wasn’t even on my A game. So maybe it will get better.

Prayer takeaway – Honestly didn’t think about much except how cold it was, how fast I was, and whether or not I could take a running selfie. Ha. But it is Sunday! So here’s what my Mass takeaway was, at least. The podcast I was listening to on this Sunday run, as well as the homily, had to do with evangelizing. Namely, that any interaction we Catholics have – whether in real life or over social media – reflects our faith and, more importantly, Jesus Christ himself. As my priest said, we may be the only Gospel some of the people in our lives will ever know. So every time I see someone, or talk to someone, or even if someone sees me or talks to me, I need to remember Who I am representing in their eyes.

I took multiple pictures of this run. Testing out the running selfie, the selfie with the phone propped against something, and the active picture of me running past the phone. There were some good ones, actually! Hopefully I get better at this as I go. 😛

How were your workouts this week? What theme(s) kept coming up in terms of your faith? What’s your favorite form of cross training? What run statistics do you keep track of? I’d love to hear your answers, so leave me a comment!


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