Hal Higdon Novice 2 Training – How’s It Going?

Well, I can honestly say this training cycle couldn’t have been any better for me at this time! Last year I trained using Hal Higdon’s Intermediate training plan, you can read more about that here. However, after spending 6 months side-lined from running any great distances {not much over 5-6k} because of a hamstring injury, I decided to take a step back and just focus on building my base again. That’s where Hal’s Novice 2 training plan comes into play.

I feel like I ended 2014 in really good running shape but all that changed when I pulled my hamstring playing soccer. And yes, I’ll be playing soccer again this winter ;) I won’t bore you with my injury details but I was very limited as to what running I could do and it took until May to even start to feel better and August until I was 100% released from Physiotherapy.

To recap….

In 2014 I used Hal Higdon Intermediate (red in kilometres since I run in km) for Valley Harvest Half Marathon.


This year, I chose Novice 2 for Maritime Race Weekend Half Marathon {and 5k}.

I changed everything to kilometres, again…I run in km not miles…I’m Canadian ;)

MRW HALF Training Plan

So why did I choose Novice 2 over Intermediate? 

After getting injured I had to stop running, attend physiotherapy, massage therapy and I saw an osteopath for treatment. This was over a period from January 10th to the beginning of May. It all helped but I couldn’t run more than 4 or 5k outside without being in lots of pain. Bit of a fail it you ask me. In May, I saw a sports physiotherapist who literally turned my injury around and spent from May – August with him.

I chose Novice 2 as I felt it was a less running, less demand on my body and enough to focus on building my base back up again. I work full-time, my husband works out of Province on shift work and we have two little girls; 2.5 and 5 years old. This training cycle just worked better for me this time around = less stress!

What were the benefits to me?

Running four days instead of five. Having Monday AND Friday as rest days was weird at first but I thoroughly enjoyed this. I loved the flexibility of changing one of my rest days to a cross training day of cycling or yoga.

I wasn’t focusing on speed {NO SPEED WORK in the plan}. Overall, it was a realistic training plan for me while recovering from my hamstring injury.

What I missed from the Intermediate:

I did miss speed work and hill work but managed to add that in every once in a while. As I got a little more comfortable I did more hill work.

What I loved about Novice 2:  

I really loved rest days on Mondays and Friday’s – it just worked for my lifestyle. I also feel like it’s prepared me to run my 3rd half marathon and NOT get injured. It was enough of a plan to follow, yet I could change up the days as I needed and felt like my body wasn’t being pushed towards another injury.

mrw to date training 2015 aug 31

Cross Training: 

I loved having the cross training day on Sunday’s or after my long run day. I would have liked to hit up the GoodLife Fitness Gym if I lived closer, especially on the hot and humid days this summer. Let’s be honest, I would have probably lived at the gym.

What I changed or added:

I added in some hills and the occasional fartlek’s.  I always tried to run my last kilometre of each run faster. I did some cross training – not much (on the bike and dvd workouts) and wish I had done better at this – next round, right! {Which starts right after Maritime Race Weekend as I have 5 weeks to go after that until PEI Half Marathon}.

What would I change next time:

One day for speed work or hills – maybe alternate weeks. I’d focus better on my cross training days and add another cross training session (a light one) to a 5k run day (not on speed or hill workout days).

What’s your favourite training plan?

Ever take a step back from a training plan?

What would you do better the next training cycle you do?

Maritime Race Weekend Week #10 Training Recap

After I wrote the title to this post, my stomach turned over! I think I’m getting nervous! Only two more weeks and I will be running my first race of the year and 3rd half marathon!!! It’s really odd to be saying this will be my first race of 2015 but after being injured that’s what happens.

I’m nervous, I’m excited, I’m a little weak in the knees, ha ha! I’m kidding….actually, I’m not. I’m really nervous about Maritime Race Weekend. On the Friday night, I’ll run 5k and have fun but Saturday I’ll run the half and be a little more serious about the hilly course and distance. I will write about my goals for the race soon but for now…….

Week #10 Training 

What Was Planned vs. What Really Happened:

Monday August 24th: Rest DayHad a 1 hour massage …felt great to really relax!

Tuesday: 5k6k Treadmill Run. Not sure but for some reason I just kept running past the 5k and had a good treadmill run. Nothing to write home about but got it done.

Wednesday: 8k10k run outside. I totally paid for a babysitter (who’s my awesome neighbour) to stay with the girls while I ran as they went to bed! This was THE BEST RUN I’ve had in a LONG time! After weeks, no at least a month or more of struggling, I finally ran at a solid pace and felt good doing it! {1:00:30}


Thursday: 5k7k of rolling hills! Love the new rolling hills road I found basically in my backyard! Again, I paid for a babysitter….I wanted to avoid my treadmill and get outside.

aug 27 run

I switched the next few days up a bit since Sai wouldn’t be home until late Saturday afternoon. I wanted to do my long run outside early in the morning, not on the treadmill.

Friday: Rest DayRest Day and PT exercises as my leg {hamstring} is a little sore. Hoping it’s nothing. Called my PT and waiting to hear back from him.

Saturday – 18k Long RunRest Day and PT exercises. My leg needed a rest day which was good because Sai wasn’t home and I didn’t want to run 18k on the treadmill. Also, I didn’t want to do any cross training just rest.

Sunday: Cross Train 18k Long Run completed! This was such a great run for so many reason.

1 – I ran with Krystol, my running buddy who’s the most laid back running partner one could as for. She’s great, she’s encouraging and just a great person to spend 2 hours running with (any time of the day) but especially at 6am!

2 – Our pace was comfortable and we talked the whole time. Well…..maybe not up the few challenging hills/inclines for me but we quickly resumed talking once we had recovered.

3 – Up at 5 AM and out the door at 6 AM in the dark, finished just before 8 AM with a cool breeze and my kids/husband JUST getting up!!!!

4 – My leg was good…yes, I’m talking about my hamstring that started to bother me after pushing my pace a little too much earlier in the week. My right glute (with the unhappy hamstring) was a little tender around 15k but was okay.

5 – I ran 18k in 1:55:22 – WOAH!!!! Last year I ran it in 1:49 and 1:51 so I feel I’m right on track. I’m not planning on pushing my pace any more for Maritime Race Weekend Half. I’m completely content with today’s pace and would be happy with that in two weeks time. That would have me finishing around 2:10 – 2:15… IF…if all goes well.


Overall: This was a GREAT week for me. I loved pushing my mileage, my pace, running rolling hills and running with Krystol for our long run.

Highlights: It’s a tie with my 1:00:21 {10k} on Wednesday and my long run Saturday {18k} – both were great!

Low points: Feeling as if did something to my hamstring :( I know, I know. So far, it’s good…not bothering me after my long run which is positive.

Weather: The weather took a turn for the best this week! Much cooler temps allowed for me to run FAST again!

Total week #10 km: 41

Total km during training: 293

Looking forward to this week: My long run on the weekend and focusing on PT exercises.

Week #9 recap……just in case you missed it.

Has the weather been better for you running?

Like or dislike running rolling hills?

Do you talk when you run with others or keep quiet? 

Rolling Hills

I found my new favourite rolling hills route last night. And yes, I paid for a babysitter again so I could run outside! Two days in a row….my goodness, I must loving running outside (and love our babysitter).

I had 5k on the training plan but wanted to run 6k for some reason. I also decided I wanted to run some hills since the Maritime Race Weekend Half Marathon has rolling hills.

MRW Half Marathon Elevation Chart

{Source – http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/523213160 }


I went up part of English Mountain Road which is basically “going up the mountain” here. We live in the Valley in between the north and south mountain. So I went up a very little piece of it {my goal someday is to run up the whole thing}. I hit the house/farm area that was my end point and turned around and down Spittal Road.

aug 27 run

I knew generally where Spittal road was going to take me and that I’d probably run 6k but I had no idea of how many rolling hills there were until my babysitter told me. FUN!

elevation aug 27

Went from 40 to 73 and down to 23 then back to 40 in elevation.

Some were hard, some were long and easy. I plowed through a few and slowed down on some! I intentionally wore my new Asics thank so I could be seen on the road as it’s getting darker at night. I even wore my shortest short-shorts (woah) and even managed to match my Asics socks with my outfit – not intentionally planned. I honestly didn’t even know until my babysitter pointed it out, ha!

As I got close to my house, I was at 6.4k and decided to keep running to get an even 7k. A tough run but a great run!

Happy Friday!

Do you have a favourite rolling hill route?

Do you check out the elevation of a race ? Does it even matter to you?

Hope you have a great weekend!

I Just Needed THAT Run!

I had a blog post all ready to go about how running is nothing but a struggle these days for a lot of people. Mainly due to the heat and humidity we’ve been having in Nova Scotia (NB, PEI etc.). I’ve seen people posting their struggles: slower paces, running early before the sun rises, changing routes to avoid the sun, wanting to quit, and dealing with heat exhaustion. That last one was all on me and my own mistakes. My goodness it’s been HARD running. That is until last night. Oh, and I deleted that other post ;)

I had 8k on my training schedule. I lined up my babysitter {yes, I paid someone so I could just go run for an hour}. Before I laced up, I couldn’t figure out what to wear….tank top, t-shirt…really, would I need a long-sleeved shirt? Was it “that cold” outside?

I decided on a tank top (racer back) and shorts. No hydration pack, no GU’s. I laced up and just started running. The air was cool, the sun was not shining but the sky was full of grey clouds and there was a little sprinkle in the air.

As I hit my first 1km out of 8, I noticed 6:10 on my watch….a number I’ve not seen in a while! I figured I should slow down a bit as I was really wanting to run 9k for some reason.

I kept running and saw 5:57 for km  #2. Woah bessie, slow down would ya! Then 6:10; 6:07; 6:02 at the 5km mark. Oh yeah, somewhere in there I decided to run 10k. At the turn around point, I just kept running and was feeling really good. I knew I had a long incline ahead of me and would slow down a bit.

6:17; 6:10; 6:05 – where were these numbers coming from? I was just running 6:30-6:45 the other day!I figured I would be close to a sub 60 10k and started pushing it around the 7k mark.

5:54 and then 5:32 – my fastest km this year and it started going up a good hill. I’ll be honest, I broke down in tears at the end of this run. I was a bit of a sobbing mess for a few minutes and was thankful it was getting dark outside, therefore that meant no one was out on my street.

aug 26

As I composed myself, I started to cry again. WTF? Why was I crying? Seriously!!!! I didn’t fall down, I didn’t hurt, I didn’t hurt anyone else, so why was I crying?

Honestly, I think I was crying as I felt relief! Relief that I can run fast again after being injured for so long. Relief that I do still love to run. Relief that I’m not going to do so bad Sept 12th at my half marathon. Relief that I can push myself really hard and see results.


I may have not run a race last night. I may have not got my sub 60 10k last night but I felt like that run was SUCH A WIN for me after a hard 6-9 months of painful days with my hamstring and working hard to get stronger.

Thank you running……..this girl needed last night’s run.

Anyone else have a great run last night? 

What’s your most recent “win/success” besides a personal best/record ?


Maritime Race Weekend Week #9 Half Marathon Training

This was a rough week! It started off really good and then went downhill fast. Basically, we think I had heat exhaustion from my Wednesday night run and Thursday’s runch in the heat. Though I thought I had been hydrating and eating well, something did not agree with my life at the time and decided to act out.

Week #9

What was Planned vs What Really Happened:

Monday August 17th: Rest DayRest DayGosh, I’m good at this!

Tuesday: 5k5k morning run before 7am. Had a nice run outside before work as my parents were visiting. One must take advantage of being able to run outside even in this heat. 

Wednesday: 8k8k treadmill runAfter working all day, getting the girls/dinner/play/bed time, I laced up and had a great but HOT run on the treadmill. I had the door open/window open and the fan on while I ran. I was very warm after this run but didn’t think anything of it since I usually feel that way after a treadmill run in the summer.

Thursday: 5k5k runch.  I ran outside on the trail at lunch time *hottest part of the day*. This is where things REALLY went south for me :( About 20 minutes after my run I started to not feel good and ended up not being able to keep any food in me. {sorry, TMI}. I left my air conditioning office into the sweltering heat, picked up the girls and went home. At his point I was in survival mode until bed time…which happened at 6:40 pm. I got the girls to bed and I fell asleep on my bed instantly! I slept for over an hour and still felt terrible. I got up, had a cold shower and drank some Vega hydrator, then went to be around 10ish.

Friday: Rest DayREST DAY in bed. I took Friday off work and slept for 3.5 hours in the morning!!!!!! I felt terrible all day and figured I had “heat exhaustion”. I took it easy and was happy to see Sai when he came home. I couldn’t eat too much but was able to drink lots of fluids. Felt pretty crappy {bad word to use} that night.

Saturday: 10k RaceUnplanned rest day. Still wasn’t feeling 100% but was able to start eating normal food and do normal things with the girls and Sai. Took it easy energy-wise and had a really good night’s sleep.

Sunday: Cross Training12k. I had the best run! I woke up at 6 am to run 10k. I was going to run with two others but one family had the flu and one family slept in….when you have little kids and you ALL sleep…you don’t wake up early to “go for a run”…you sleep. So, I ran on my own after waking up slightly pissed off at myself for wanting to run so early. What’s up with that! Maybe, my bed was just to cozy ;)

Anyway….at 6:36 am I started running and ran out 5k from my house on the main road. It was a slow pace for me 6:30-6:45 for a while with a little 6:18 thrown in there. Around the 5k mark, I decided to run 11-12k and see how it goes.

I managed 10k in 1:06 {which will come in handy later in this post} and then kilometre 11 was 6:27 up a good hill and kilometre 12 was 5:35!!!! WOAH…….I pushed that last kilometre so much it was awesome! I was breathing hard and I’m pretty sure the look on my face was nothing but ugly but I ran 5:35 after running 11k!!!!!

aug 23

That felt SO good!

Overall: I felt great running Tues-Wed-Thurs. Other then the heat and humidity, they were really great runs. Even Sunday’s run was great. It was the in-between that was a little challenging for me.

Highlights: “Long run” after three days of feeling terrible.

Low Points: Hanging out in the bathroom getting sick.

Weather: THE PITS! Super humid and HOT, HOT, HOT.

Total week 9 km: 30

Total km during training: 252   {102 km for August already}

Looking forward to this week: Hopefully feeling 100% in-between runs and my long run (18k).

Big News: The other day I was getting ready to sign up for the 10k Valley Harvest Marathon that is in October (11th) but before I did, I saw a post on Facebook from White Rabbit Pacing. They were still looking for a few pace bunnies. You can see where this is going.

So…….you are look at the {10k} 1:10 pace bunny at the Valley Harvest Marathon!!! This will  be my first time pacing other runners, so I’m really excited and hope I do a good job of it!

Week #8 here…just in case you missed it.

How was your weekend?

Have you ever had heat exhaustion, heat stroke etc. ?

Have you ever paced a run or been paced by a bunny?

Runchin’ It Up!

I’m now in the middle of week #9 half marathon training. It’s been a pretty good week. I managed one morning run {5k} and has an awesome treadmill runs last night {8k}. I wasn’t diggin’ running on THE BEAST right tonight so I figured I’d runch since my work schedule didn’t have me on the road.

Today, I got out for a 5k runch on the trail.  It’s was a hot one but I sun screened up and slowed my pace down. To be honest, I don’t know if I could have run too much faster as it was bloody hot outside!

aug 19 run

I ran on the trail and thought about going out to the main road to run some hills but that idea when down the drain fast. Again, way too hot out.

aug 19 run 2

Afterwards, I cooled off in my office with a frozen drink box, drank some Nuun {FINALLY found a flavour I like!} and got back to work. It was after all, a “runch” break.

I also have some excited news to share with you but it’s going to have to wait until tomorrow ;) Stay tuned for the update!

How many bottles of sunscreen have you gone through this summer?

Push the pace in the heat or not?

Thoughts On My Morning Run

5:45 am Alarm goes off and my first thought is “crap” {that’s putting it nicely}. I hit snooze for 10 minutes and roll over. Then all of a sudden, I have to pee. Seriously, urgh! A few minutes later the “snooze” alarm goes off, not cool. That’s it, I’m up and I might as well go for a run.

I put my running clothing on, {let my parents know I’m leaving as they are visiting} walk outside, let my Garmin find the satellite to connect and I lace up my runners. Pretty sure I’m still half asleep.  0:00 {START} appears on my Garmin…guess it’s time to run.

Off I go…..up a long incline. I hate running. Really, why am I doing this? How am I going to run a half marathon? Seriously, what was I thinking? Okay, first hill done…I’m good. I now just have to run up English Mountain Road. Why am I doing this again? Oh right, because the Maritime Race Weekend route is hilly – gotta train on hills if I want to run/race on hills.

Crows….friggin’s crows on the road. Great, I get to run past road kill. No, wait……it’s just a McDonald’s bag and wrappers. Seriously people, did you have to throw that OUT your car?

Shit…look at that hill. What was I thinking this morning when I thought it would be a good idea to run up this hill? I mean, I did ride my bike up this hill on Sunday. That may have been a struggle but I did it so I should be able to run up it too. {NOTE: this is a massive MASSIVE hill…I only went up the first little bit}.

You got this! Run to the post box, that’s it. Head down….don’t look up. Shit, I looked up. Oh my god, I’m barely there. Manure. Gross…run faster and maybe you won’t smell it. That didn’t work but I reached that dam post box and now I get to glide down that hill I just climbed up.

Oh look….Spittle Road…another hill…..let’s do it! Not so bad, might as well keep running a bit more down this road. Morning Cow’s! Apparently, cows aren’t too friendly in the morning. Back up the little hill and onto the main road.

This is great, I haven’t even seen a car yet! First car backs out of driveway ahead of me…oh, guess I saw my first car. In the background I hear a car coming down the hill and see an 18 wheeler coming in my direction. Great, I’m just going to move off the road. Yes, I was running in the middle of the road – why wouldn’t you when there is no traffic around? Just my luck both vehicles pass each other beside me and I feel like I could have been blown over by the sheer force of wind from the 18 wheeler. Not cool buddy, not cool.

As I run down the last hill I start to turn left but realise it wasn’t the street I wanted, so I had to make a quick maneuver to keep running straight which I’m pretty sure made me look like a drunk person dancing on the street. Oh well.

I got closer to my house and just start pushing my speed, it felt great. I quickly glanced left and then right to make sure no cars are coming before I cross over another road to speed down my street. 5k done! Even managed a 5:31 pace for my last kilometre – wow, I still got it.


As I sat down to catch my breath, sweat dripping off my body {it happens}, I felt great and really happy I didn’t hit snooze a second time. I wanted to avoid running in today’s heat and that I can check off my list. Tonight, I will relax, drink a beer to two, watch some Netflix and probably fold some laundry….ha ha. Life of a mother runner/husband away.

Early morning runs to avoid the heat – yes or no?

How often do you hit the snooze button on an early morning run day?