Long run elevation chart - half marathon training cycle

Half Marathon Training Cycle No. 6, Week 1

After the big bummer that was the Moody Gardens Holiday Half, I immediately knew I needed to run another half marathon. After some schedule-checking and such, I decided on a February 20, 2016 half fairly close to home. But there’s a downside: a big bridge with a serious climb. In a typical half marathon training cycle, I technically could be lazy and avoid a lot of hills. This is Houston, or to be more exact, the Gulf Coast. It’s not known for a lot of different altitudes.

Under my usual training plan, I would have just started this week – which I did. I did a 2-mile time trial, which is faster than a tempo run, and bookended it with a mile warm-up and a mile cool-down. I did a short-ish tempo run. I did a “long” run Saturday morning, 6 miles, and threw in the bane of my 10K existence, the Kemah Bridge.

Long run elevation chart - half marathon training cycle

A couple of things about this long run: I started off in a very, very bad mood. I fueled differently (Quaker Chewy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip granola bar, GU instead of my usual banana or IsaLean bar and Cardio Igniter).

But I ran the bridge with the Veterinarian, one of the many amazing people I’ve met since I’ve moved. We talked and took the bridge at a comfortable pace. We saw the sun rise over the Gulf, and it was just so incredibly beautiful. Then we parted ways after slogging up the bridge, and I was left with whatever was percolating in my head for four miles. But by the end, by the time I reached my car, I felt a lot better and happier. Something about those endorphins, and the sunrise, and seeing people running and walking their dogs and living in such a beautiful part of the country – I was in a better frame of mind.

So that was the bulk of my running for the first week of what would normally be a 10-week half marathon training cycle. BUT…

I want to switch things up. I want to PR on that bridge. The half marathon I’m doing is a small one, and after looking at the results, there is a very real possibility that I can place in my age group (again). That means I’m going to have to spend some quality time with the Kemah Bridge during this half marathon training cycle.

I’m still working on how I’m going to do this. I normally have an interval workout and a tempo run in my training calendar, but now I’m not sure. I’m wondering if I should consider the climb on the bridge part of an interval workout or do the whole thing as a tempo. Again, not sure. I figure I’ll throw in four weeks of dedicated bridge running and include the bridge as part of as many long runs as possible. I think my schedule is going to look like this:

Monday: CrossFit

Tuesday: Tempo or Interval Run

Wednesday: CrossFit, a couple easy miles

Thursday: Bridge or Tempo, Barbell Training, Yoga (when feasible)

Friday: CrossFit

Saturday: Long Run

Sunday: Rest

How would you approach the bridge runs?

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