Just turned 50, been training for my first HM in 4 weeks, have weekly mileage up near 40 mpw (running 5 days) and have a total of 3 long runs over HM distance (yesterday's was "only" 10 miles). I started back up running regularly in early April, had to take a break for a while for a stress fracture I suffered in early October after running a 10K. Took up running in October 2012, was a non runner before that.
Not sure if it's the heat and humidity but it seems like my runs are getting slower, not faster. I'm trying to incorporate speed work per the training plan but last speed intervals I ran were between 9:00 and 9:30 which is somewhat slower than my 8:40 10K pace last fall. Tried to push out the last few miles of the 10 miler yesterday and I was only able to get in a pace of about 10:00/mile. Last 14 miler was at an overall 10:43 pace and it was pretty exhausting.
I'd like to maintain a 10:00 pace for the HM but my latest runs aren't all that encouraging.
Should I just stick with the training program and hope for the best over the next few weeks or should I try something different? Will I recover some when I start tapering in a few weeks?
To be sure heat and humidity will slow you down, however, I don't think your speed drills should be slower than your 10K pace from last fall; something else seems to be going on.
To me at least, I would lose the the training plan, especially the speed drills, and run as many miles as you can over the next two weeks before you start tapering down.
Maybe it's just me, but I've been running and coaching off and on for decades now, and I've never seen any benefit from doing speed work for folks training for Half Marathon or longer events; doubly so if their expected pace is 8:00 per mile or slower.
Fat old man PRs:
Well, look - you were ran regularly for about a year. Then you took about 5 months off for an injury. Then you started up again and almost immediately launched into half-marathon training. But after that layoff you were basically starting over, so yes, you will be slower. It will usually take at least as long as you were off to regain your fitness for both endurance and speed. I think you just haven't given your body enough time to get back into shape and you've been pushing too hard - basically over-training. (Plus, of course, the warmer weather will cost some in both pace and endurance.) Probably the best thing you can do these last few weeks before the race is back off, don't worry about the speedwork, and just put in the miles. Pretty much what shipo suggested. And make the long runs true LSD. Run an 11:00 pace or even a little slower, but mainly do them comfortably. Give your body time to recover. I think you'll be fine for a 10:00 pace in the race. After the race go back to your typical training. If it includes speedwork, start at that 9:30 pace or so (whatever seems do-able) and work your way down over a few months. Take your time, you'll get back.
That is just frustrating! I feel you. But logically, there must be something wrong along the way if as you train you go slower. That doesn't make sense. But, maybe, you need more healing or refreshing and your body needs something to give better results. I'm not an expert but I recently read an article about "Will Orthotics really HELP my foot pain?" on a marathon running magazine and they cover everything from injury to nutrition. Why don't you try their reading materials, and then tell us if you found a possible solution?
Here, try this. https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/id767144576?mt=8 and they also have this mobile app you can browse https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bdifbbdffc.iedbdifbbdffc
Hey, I hope that helps! Let us know.
I was thinking about this last night during my run, and kind of came up with the following "4-Week Plan" (were it I was coaching you):
Weeks 1 and 2:
Fat old man PRs:
Thanks for the advice...have some other training going on that may preclude the extra long runs during next week but I'll try to incorporate some slow 10 milers in this week. Ran a hard 7.75 miles today but I started out too fast (rookie mistake) and with the high humidity (dewpoint around 70) I was struggling to get to a 10:00 pace at the end. Overall pace was around 9:40.
I think shipo's schedule goes a bit overboard. He has you doing 55 miles each of two weeks and you're not really in that ballpark, at about 40 miles. I would use the distances on your training plan, just at a moderate pace: no speedwork. If you want to do some race pace, do it for the last 3 or 4 miles of a long run, no more than once a week.
I cannot argue with Len's comment about my schedule being a bit overboard, as it might could well be too much. That said, based upon Hammer4321's initial post in this thread as well as other posts, I am confident he could manage that level of mileage and his half marathon time would benefit greatly from the extra mileage. What is the basis of my confidence? Personal experience in this case; in mid July of last year I was in almost exactly the same state with regard to my running as Hammer. I opted for some serious LSD work, and over the next four weeks I managed to prepare myself for a hilly 10-miler well enough to log a 1:25:06 time on a very hot and humid day; not a bad day's work for an overweight 56 year old guy.
Fat old man PRs:
So I ran the HM today...pretty hilly course with some rougher dirt roads, almost like trail running in spots. Time just over 2:12:00 which I'm pretty happy with for the first time. Felt pretty good up to about mile 9 or 10 but then the last few were tough.
Looking back on the training I would agree with what shipo says on the LSD runs. I didn't get as many of those in as I would have ideally wanted (life gets in the way) and from my own experience the best training for the longer distances is to get the body used to being out there for 2:00 to 2:30 (and beyond).