road to the half marathon: training week 5

After feeling a bit defeated by my efforts last week, I shook myself off and hit the ground running again. I started the week off on the day of summer solstice with a delectable 4 mile sunset run in Balboa Park. This week was honestly a bit of breakthrough for me and I realized what was happening to derail my training. Number one I was not planning the day ahead of me and thus not finding (making) the time to run. Secondly, I had set a pace and a goal time for myself that was honestly unreasonable. All in all I needed to find the balance in my training and my pacing.

Sunset runs are the bestCan't help but appreciate yourself when staring into the eyes of a sunset...

The first thing I fixed was my pace. I consistently run at a 10 minute mile pace if not higher, and was wanting to cut down to 9 minute 45 second mile pace. Don't get me wrong, I believe in setting huge goals for yourself, however I was beginning to despise running because the pace I was setting was so uncomfortable for my body to handle. So instead of progressing run by run, it felt worse mentally and physically. I reset my goal of finishing 10 minute miles, which is reasonable and means I have to push myself every stride of my run to hit that mark.

Even the cake tasted better after my run!With balance, you really can have your cake and eat it too.

After my sunset solstice run, I sat down and planned my entire schedule out for the week and hit every run as a result. I even woke up at 7am on Sunday morning, the day of my 1 year wedding anniversary to squeeze in the 6 miles I had on the docket. Let me tell you, our wedding cake that had been frozen for a year tasted even better with those miles under my belt. My appreciation for myself is directly reflected by moving and working out, and the world seems to taste better when I run and sweat daily. (My husband also really appreciates my lack of crankiness and self angst, so I owed it to him to go run and then enjoy our day entirely together.)

post run stretchesMy cat George decided he needed to stretch out his muscles from sleeping all day as well.

A few of you had commented last week to feel thankful just to be moving, and on all of my runs this week I truly was. I really cannot thank all of you enough for all of your encouraging words and understanding in the course of my training. I train by myself and it can feel lonely running 6 miles alone, however in reading all of your comments last week, I felt like I had a running partner in all of you and it honestly made a difference. Keep those comments, vegetarian protein recipes and running tips coming my way, it truly helps!

This week’s training mileage total: 16 miles!
Longest run: 6 miles with a pace of 9:58 (right on track, and so comfortable)
Cross training: 2 yoga classes and 2 Jillian Michaels workouts
Wore on my long run: Run:Swiftly Tech SS and Run:Empower Crops (both so comfortable and quickly wicked up my sweat)

7 weeks until race day! Here is my training schedule for the week:
Monday: 4 miles + hot yoga
Tuesday: 2 miles + Jillian Michaels workout
Wednesday: 4 miles + yoga sculpt
Thursday: hot yoga
Friday: Barry's Bootcamp
Saturday: 7 miles!
Sunday: yoga + rest

P.S. Anyone have any rocking tunes I could pump up my running playlist with? I am literally running out of options with good tunes!

read more related posts:


Whitney, congrats on your running and your anniversary! I know how it feels to be logging lots of miles on your own (I’m 3.5 weeks away from a marathon and have done every training run alone) and how it can sometimes be hard to get up in the morning and get out the door!

I’m not sure what kind of music you like, but my favorite for running is Girl Talk… it’s a DJ that has the best mash-ups I’ve ever heard. Super upbeat and the music is always changing, so you never get bored! Plus each CD is a continuous stream of music, arbitrarily broken into “songs” so one flows into the next. (

Best of luck with your runs!

Comment by Sarah — June 29, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

Love your diary entries! I’m currently enjoying a majority of the tunes from Glee. I know it’s totally cheesy but it works for me.



Comment by Kristen — June 29, 2010 @ 2:47 pm

what color is your swiftly tech? so pretty

Comment by christine — June 29, 2010 @ 2:53 pm

Happy anniversary, and cute kitty! (My cat HATES it when I stretch… he’s like, WTF? and starts attacking my legs.)

You’re not trying to do 10-minute miles on your long runs, are you? I’m a week behind you in my half marathon plan, and I usually run 10:30 miles — but only for less than 4 miles. When I’m on my long runs, I can’t maintain even splits (let alone enjoy myself!) unless I aim for 11:30- to 12:00-minute miles. And if it’s hot out, I have to take it down even more.

Comment by elaine! — June 29, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

Definitely checking out all of your music recommendations, thanks so much!

@Christine, I am wearing a Bold Blue Swiftly Tech SS from last summer!

@Elaine, you go lady! I am trying my best to maintain the 10 minute mile, and so far I have done okay. We will see this week when I run 7 miles, because that’s a whole different story!

Thanks for your support everyone!!

Comment by Whitney — June 29, 2010 @ 3:28 pm

Happy Anniversary! I think I’ve been to Balboa Park when we were out in SD visiting a friend. It has a greenhouse/botanical garden in it, right?

I know what you mean about feeling lonely on those long runs! I trained for my first half marathon (it was 2 months ago- in April) by myself. During training, my husband would come along on some of my easy 2-3 mile runs, but any longer than that I was on my own.

Don’t feel discouraged if it’s hard to keep up that pace over longer distances! I ran my first 5k last July in 30:39 (~9:51 pace?) and based on that race time, I made a training plain through (“smart coach” – it’s free!) for my half marathon training. It tells you what pace to run for each of your runs (easy, interval, distance, etc). I finished my half marathon right on target, with a chip time of 2:21:10 (~10:46 pace).

I found it helped for me to plan out my runs ahead of time too. My training plan helped – I kept a copy bookmarked online, and a printout in my work calendar book & on the fridge as reminders! I just had to figure out if I was going to do it before or after work. If I ran in the morning before work, I’d lay out everything I needed the night before so it was all ready and I wouldn’t waste any time.

I’m training for my second now this fall, the Rock n Roll half in Philly. Looking to shave ~5 minutes off my time (or a ~10:22 pace). Good luck with your final weeks of training!

Comment by Amanda — June 29, 2010 @ 3:37 pm

Whitney, I wonder if you’ve ever heard the advice to “slow down to speed up.” The idea is that if you’re always running at your highest pace, your race pace will never be what it could be. There are a bunch of calculators out there (I like the McMillan one) where you put in a recent race time and it tells you what your training pace should be, your speed work paces, and anticipates your race pace at different distances. I set a PR last year in the half marathon (2:08:16) by slowing down my long runs to 10:30 to 11 minute miles and doing speedwork or hills once a week. If you slow down your training runs even farther and incorporate some speed work, you might find that 9:40ish pace is more doable than you think. Regardless, it’s great that you’ve slowed down your long runs. They should be all about just doing the distance, at whatever speed. Anyway, I just throw it out there because you run at a similar pace to what mine used to be (I’m slower now because I just had a baby a few months ago) and the advice to slow down, though counter-intuitive, has really worked for me. I’m using it now as I train for my second full marathon (Columbus in October).

Comment by Genevieve — June 29, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

I second sarah with girltalk! calvin harris is also great for getting you in the mood for running :)

Comment by Lisa — June 29, 2010 @ 11:14 pm

If you don’t mind some synthpop, check out VNV Nation. Many of their songs have really uplifting lyrics, and their dance floor anthems are spectacular. My favorites include “Entropy,” “Chrome,” “Sentinel,” “Tomorrow Never Comes,” “Legion,” “Standing,” and “Darkangel.”

Best of luck!

Comment by Emily — June 30, 2010 @ 5:07 am

@Sarah, I LOVE Girltalk.Had never thought about running to it, (duh to me!)

Comment by Amber — June 30, 2010 @ 10:53 am


Doesn’t it feel just great to have a good week? I’m not training for any races, but I started jogging about 8 weeks ago, when I moved way up north for a summer job. There’s nothing to do here, and no distractions to keep me from running. Yet, some days it rains or I feel tired. I stay motivated by imagining my heart beating and my muscles moving and blood pumping and health increasing. I keep going because this body is the only one I’ve got and I need a well kept home for my mind a soul.

My delicious recipe this week was a soup made of vegetable stock, a 13 bean mix, brown basmati rice, sautéed vegetables and coriander and cumin for delicious flavour. I brought dried beans to a boil at lunch, put the lid on the pot and left them there until after work. Then I rinsed them after about 5 hours and added them to veggie stock to start simmering. I added the rice about half an hour later. Then sautéed some onions, garlic, coriander, cumin, carrots, celery, and zucchini in a little bit of sunflower oil, then added it to the pot after the beans had been cooking for an hour. I let the soup hang out together for about another half hour on low, then ate it with my roommate!

It’s been great for leftovers and has so much flavour there’s no way you’d miss the meat.

For me, the key to cooking great food, especially veggie, is lots of flavour added through spices.

Tonight: quinoa and dried pea stirfry. I wonder how tonight’s adventure will turn out…

Love reading your blog, it’s awesome.


Comment by Deb — June 30, 2010 @ 11:19 am

Whit, stellar post. Every week, I am given the inspiration to run more or harder with your weekly recaps! I suggest you share your killer sweet potato wrap recipe as a power meal!

And yes…. With balance, you really can have your cake and eat it too.

Keep on rocking… I might just have to sign up for my own half marathon! Next BHAG? EEK!

Comment by Shawna — July 4, 2010 @ 12:27 pm

Hey Whitney, how do you like the slipless headband? I’ve been wearing a Nike Dri-fit baseball cap while running lately because I like how it wicks the sweat away and, let’s be honest, purply-red “running face” is not always attractive, but I’d like to switch it up and try a headband. The ones I’ve always worn have been so annoying though- would you recommend that one for running?

Comment by MB — July 8, 2010 @ 10:13 am

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