Kaiser Weeks 1 & 2: Muscle Memory

Hey there!  Hope y’all had a wonderful Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus… and if you don’t celebrate any of those holidays, then I hope you at least got a day or two off from work to relax this week. I had a wonderful time with the Gypsy Runner’s family over Christmas, eating, drinking, being merry, and talking about Serial. I also got a bunch of great gifts, including a portable space heater – well-timed, given our recent cold spell in the Bay Area – and a Kindle Fire 7, which is my new favorite toy. I’m a very lucky girl!  In addition to buying gifts for others, I’ve been doing almost as much Christmas shopping for myself. One running-related purchase I made that I’m psyched about is the Oiselle Flyer jacket. It was on sale over at Running Warehouse, and in combination with gift cards and discount codes, I paid very little for it. (For the record, I would be hard pressed to pay the full MSRP of $150 for any piece of running attire, especially something I wouldn’t wear year round.) I’ve been wanting to get a shell for a while now, and since we’re due for a wet el niño winter, I thought it was a good investment. I’ll be sure to report back with my thoughts once I’ve been able to try it out — however, that might be a while, because now that I’ve got a rain jacket, there’s no rain in the forecast (*of course*).

As for running, these last 2 weeks marked the beginning of official training for the Kaiser Half in February. I still don’t have a time goal for the race, as I’ve learned to wait until closer to race day to determine that (if at all). That said, I would like to be able to run a second sub-2 hour half marathon. When I plugged in my most recent 5K time into the McMillan calculator, it spit out a 2:04 or 2:05 half marathon time. However, I think I’m in better shape than that 5K time predicts, so for now, I’m training as if I’m going for 1:59:59 (9:09/mile).  I’m using the same training plan/workouts that I used last year since it seemed to work well for me.

Without further ado, here’s how the last 2 weeks went (mostly copied from my dailymile log):

Week 1:
Workout: 1-2 mile warm-up, 2 x 2 at HMGP (half marathon goal pace) with 4:00 recovery, 1 mile cool-down.
Actual: 1 mile w/u, 2 miles at HM effort, [way too long bathroom break, thought about throwing in the towel, decided to go back out for 1 more mile], 1 mile at HM effort, ~0.5 mile c/d.

I was excited and nervous about this one. Having not done any speed work in months, I knew that HMGP was ambitious (9-9:09/mile), so I decided to go with HR and effort instead. I ended up with splits of 9:35, 9:09, and 9:24 (Avg HR’s at 144, 155, 149 respectively). I was really annoyed about the GI issues — I would’ve liked to complete the workout, but next time I should probably avoid eating chili the night before! (Sorry if TMI!)
4.5 miles at 10:11/mile (average HR: 142)

Thursday: I was supposed to do a group run in the evening, but that got cancelled, so I ended up on the treadmill after work. I did 1 mile warm up (very easy), followed by about 38 min of running, ramping up the speed until my HR got up to 150 bpm (I would’ve capped it at 140, but let it be higher since it gets so hot at the gym).  Cooled down for 10 min.  Incline set to 1.0.
5.5 miles at 10:54/mile (average HR: 140)

Saturday: Jingle Bell Hell! I did a 1 mile warm-up followed by 5 easy miles instead of the 9 or 10 that I planned.  I wasn’t feeling great, so I bailed on JT at 2.5 miles and turned around.  I definitely didn’t defend my title like I wanted to, but it was still a good to go for the group run.  Plus, there were donuts and other goodies generously provided by MILF Runner (who had her first post-hip replacement short run – WOOT!). Afterwards, KP and I took JT to brunch to celebrate her upcoming birthday.
5.9 miles at 10:51/mile (average HR: 130)

Foggy morning along Nimitz Way.

Foggy, beautiful morning on Nimitz Way.

We need to start a "refuel with donuts" trend.

We need to start a “refuel with donuts” trend.

Sunday: I was going to take the day off, since Saturday’s run was lousy and I still felt tired when I woke up. But then the sun came out and I was feeling a bit antsy, so I decided to go out for a very leisurely recovery run – minimum of 2 miles, maximum of whatever I felt like. The only “rule” was to keep it extremely easy – i.e., HR lower than 130. The first 2 miles were sluggish, but then it felt easier and easier.  I was glad I decided to run – I actually felt more energetic after the run than I did before, i.e., it was a true recovery run.
4.65 miles at 11:06/mile (average HR: 124)

Week 1 total: 20.55 miles.
How I felt about it: A rough start, for sure.  Tuesday’s workout showed that my legs were a bit rusty, though it was nice to see a 9:09/mile with a relatively low HR.  I just have to get my mind and body used to running faster again.  One mistake I made was going too hard on Thursday night on the treadmill — I was bored so I wanted to constantly increase the speed, but I should’ve kept it easy.  The fatigue showed on Saturday’s run at Jingle Bell Hell.  By Sunday I had learned my lesson about running too hard on easy days, so I kept it truly easy and it paid off.


Week 2:
Tuesday: I took advantage of a half day of work to do my run in the afternoon instead of during the dark pre-dawn hours. The workout called for 4 miles at HMGP. I figured I’d be happy with anything under 9:09/mile. I was also a bit scared, seeing as last week’s workout wasn’t particularly successful.

My HR was already high during the warm-up, so I decided to disregard HR data and go for effort (I had previously thought 150-160 would be a good HM range). To my surprise and delight, my splits were: 8:57, 8:59, 8:56, and 8:57. Average HR was in the mid-160’s. I stopped twice for 10 second water breaks and finished with a cool down jog.

While I’m happy with how this run went, I also know it’s one thing to nail 4 miles at HMGP and another to run a whole freakin’ half marathon at that same pace. I have a lot of work to do, but at least I know I can still run 4 sub-9:00 miles in a row!
5.9 miles at 9:40/mile (average HR: 154)

At the end of Tuesday's run.

At the end of Tuesday’s run.

Thursday: Chilly morning, for California anyway: low 40’s at 7:00 am.  The workout was to do 4 x 1 mile at 10 seconds slower than 10K pace, with 60 seconds of recovery in between. I was aiming for 8:40-8:50/mile.  My splits were 8:57, 8:35, 8:40, and 8:29. The first mile was tough – I think my body was still trying to wake up.  I fought hard in the last mile for a fast finish.
6 miles at 9:42/mile (average HR: 151)

Friday: Easy jog around the neighborhood.
2.9 miles at 10:53/mile (average HR: 126)

Pros: miles flew by with the company of JT, it wasn’t as cold as I would’ve thought (i.e., I didn’t need my gloves), we kept it easy and conversational, as intended, and we had a delicious post-run breakfast at Tacubaya, one of my favorite places.
Con: 3 pit stops due to an angry tummy.
The pros outweighed the con, obviously.
8 miles at 10:37/mile (average HR: 137)

Week 1 total: 22.8 miles
How I felt about it: A quality week! I hit my target paces for the speedy runs, and kept things easy for the non-workout runs.  I’m starting to remember how good it feels to go out for a speedier session, unsure of how it’s going to go, only to surpass my expectations of what my body can do if I focus.  I’m also really happy that my left hip/butt hasn’t started to feel weird/achey yet, despite 8 miles of speedier running this week.  I feel like my form has gotten a little better since MAF training; hopefully, the niggles will stay away as I add on more speedwork.  We shall see – fingers crossed!


Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

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6 comments on “Kaiser Weeks 1 & 2: Muscle Memory
  1. heatherihn says:

    I am in AWE at your HR and paces! This was a very inspiring post for me. 🙂 You can DEFINITELY do a sub 2:00 half, I’m positive! Kaiser is awesome too, not sure if you ran it before. Such a fast course!

    • Jen says:

      Thanks, Heather! I ran Kaiser for the first time last year and finally ran a sub-2 hour half, after many attempts. So yes, I love that course!

  2. Grace says:

    Some real quality workouts in there! Good stuff. I’m impressed by your heart rates! And more runs ought to be fuelled by donuts…

  3. Jan says:

    I love the jacket! You definitely got some good workouts in at great paces!

    • Jen says:

      Thanks, Jan! I just got the jacket today – it’s a little big, but not outrageously so (the smallest size they had was medium). There’s no rain in the forecast, but we’re experiencing high winds through tomorrow, so maybe I’ll take it out on a jog and see how it works.

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On the docket…

9/2/18: Race to the End of the Summer 5K
4/28/19: London Marathon

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