Gabs 1/2 Marathon Training, Weeks 1 – 2

I’m currently training for the Gabs 1/2 Marathon on the 10th March 2019. This will be my third Half but the first of the five Half Marathons I have planned this year. I have done this event twice before, in 2017 and in 2018, but both times I did 10 km.

Week 1: Getting Back in the Game

Monday, 31st December: Easy Run, 6.41 km, 49:56. This was a painfully slow run with an average pace of 07:48 min/km. I also used some new shoes which gave me a blister around the 3 km point and I struggled with my new Garmin Forerunner 35 having just transitioned from the Tom Tom sports watch. Having said that though, it felt great to be back running and even better was knowing I could enjoy some indulgent New Year’s Eve celebrations with some degree of smugness for having run a 6 km, whatever the pace!

Tuesday, 1st January: Rest Day. Happy New Year 🙂

Wednesday, 2nd JanuaryGrid Class, 1 hr. Every time I restart a gym class, I am reminded of how much fitter I need to get! There were a lot of lunges, burpees and squats, as well as a number of arm exercises using free weights and barbells. It was tough and I barely survived the class. I had to simplify many of the exercises just to get through them.

Thursday, 3rd January: Easy Run, 6.01 km, 48:08.  I woke up extremely sore from Grid Class with some slight strain on my left shoulder. My scheduled run ended up being even slower than Monday’s run as my body felt really heavy. It really helped that I was in the lovely company of my cousin Tapiwa and we had a very enjoyable and chatty run.

Friday, 4th JanuaryRest Day.

Saturday, 5th January: Long Run, 10.02 km, 1:14:09. With two uncomfortable runs under my belt, I was not looking forward to the first Long Run of the cycle. But I was in for a surprise – I did a very fast 6 km with my pace ranging from 07:07 to 07:16 min/km. I had a great music playlist and my husband ran with me and kept me quite focused. Usually, he goes with my pace but this time he kept pushing me as I slowed down, asking whether or not I wanted “a sweaty selfie” at the end. The last 4 km wasn’t as fast but my pace averaged 07:24 min/km giving me my fastest 10 km in probably 20 months.

Sunday, 6th JanuaryEasy Run, 6.41 km, 52:23, Elev. Gain: 58.5 m | Squats and Abs Challenge. We set off on a week’s family holiday to Clarens in the Free State Province of South Africa. As we were travelling with kids, we decided to split the 7 hour journey and spent the night in Vanderbijlpark which is an industrial town on the outskirts of Gauteng Province. We arrived to a big thunderstorm but as soon as it died down, we went for a run around the neighbourhood. It was really fun to explore the place while running but the hilly terrain took some getting used to. I also started Day 1 of a 30 Day Squats and Abs Challenge which consists of squats, sit-ups, flutter kicks and planks.

Week 2: Running in a Stunning Location 

Monday, 7th January: Squats and Abs Challenge (Day 2). We travelled to Clarens and I was very happy to just relax and take in the beautiful surroundings.

Tuesday, 8th January:  Hiking,  2.2 km, 1 hr. Elev. Gain: 138.8 m | Squats and Abs Challenge (Day 3). We had a lovely day exploring Clarens and when it started raining again we ducked into Clementine’s Restaurant for a very hearty lunch.

With very full stomachs, I insisted on doing a hour’s hike on the lodge’s premises with my husband and sister. What started off as a simple hike quickly grew quite difficult as we had to navigate some very steep and slippery bits. The sheer drop as we traversed the hill was terrifying and on our descent we were forced to use our hands, feet and bottoms to work our way down. My poor sister is terrified of heights and at many points I just thought “What have we done?!”

We later realised we could have taken a much easier path and when we got back we were disappointed that we had only covered 2 km after all that effort! But with an elevation gain of 138 m I shouldn’t be too disappointed!

Wednesday, 9th January: Interval Training, 7 km, 56:03, Elev. Gain: 124.3 m | Squats and Abs Challenge (Day 4). This was supposed to be threshold interval training but it didn’t really work out as every time I had to increase my speed I was faced with a huge hill to get over! LOL. But this was probably one of the most beautiful runs I have ever done – yes, it was tough, but running in the midst of those gorgeous Maluti Mountains was amazing. Coming from a very flat city, I couldn’t get enough of how beautifully mountainous it all was.

Thursday, 10th January: Squats and Abs Challenge (Day 5)

Friday, 11th January: Easy Run, 6.41 km, 52:23, Elev. Gain: 110.7 m | Squats and Abs Challenge (Day 6). We were supposed to check out of the lodge at 9 am and I had planned to run once we had arrived in Rustenburg which was our stopover town on the way back to Gaborone. But I  just had to get another run done in Clarens. So at 6 am we went for our run and this time we ran into the Golden Gates Highlands National Park and again I felt so honoured to be running in such beauty. It was the perfect end to our holiday.

Saturday, 12th January: Squats and Abs Challenge (Day 7).

Sunday, 13th January:  Squats and Abs Challenge (Day 8). I was supposed to do a 12 km Long Run but after travelling all of Saturday both my husband and I decided to ignore the alarm clock at 5 am. When we finally got up at 8 we didn’t feel any guilt for having missed our run. I did manage my squats and abs challenge so I am quite pleased with that. I am now up to 51 squats and a 35 second plank.

Summary: After a 3-week hiatus from running and a good dose of festive indulgence, it was tough to get back into things. The relentless heat wave and unusually high humidity levels has certainly not made things any easier but it felt good to put on my running shoes again. The first couple of runs were slow but I also clocked my fastest 10 km run in months. In the second week, I managed a few runs while on holiday in Clarens and coming from very flat Gaborone, I enjoyed challenging my body to some very hilly terrain.

[Gabs 1/2 Training Cycle: 44.46 km | 2019 Mileage: 44.46 km | Gym Classes: 1]

On The Blog: In case you missed them, here are my most recent blog posts:

To keep myself accountable I am linking up with the inspirational Holly from HoHo Runs and Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home. The lovely Kim from Kooky Runner is also guest hosting this week!

29 thoughts on “Gabs 1/2 Marathon Training, Weeks 1 – 2

  1. Wow, the Maluti Mountains are gorgeous.
    Love your husband’s motivational – how badly do you want that sweatie selfie.
    Random question: I know English is one of the official languages of Botswana — is it typical for all the building signs to be in English or is this because you’re in a major city? So much I don’t know about both

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anything for that “sweaty selfie”, LOL!
      I love random questions! English is the official language in Botswana and it’s the medium used in all schools from around the 3rd or 4th grade. All major exams right from primary/ elementary school are in English and all building and road signs are in English across the country. However, there are several languages spoken in Botswana. Setswana is considered the national language and is spoken by everyone. (Some press releases will come in both English and Setswana). However, there are also other local languages like Kalanga which are also widely spoken. In South Africa, they have 11 official languages and I have seen more signs written in both English and the local language (s) predominant in that specific regional area.


      1. Thank you for that – fascinating. Are the other local languages like Kalanga regional? By the way, your answer = way more helpful than Wikipedia on this.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. How great to have 5 Halfs planed for 2019! LOL on that hike. Trails are always unpredictable. My husband never believes how short our hike our mileage-wise, but they sure are adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, such adventures and you never know what you are going to expect especially if the hike is in unfamiliar terrain! I’ve only done two Half Marathons before so I’m hoping I can manage the 5. I’ve spaced them out quite nicely though so it should work out!


  3. Great training and I love how you have your husband and cousin to run with. That hike sounds really scary, though! I would have totally used my bottom, too!

    Re the intervals, if you ran up a hill when you were “supposed” to be running fast, and therefore made extra effort, that’s fine, you’re done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree re: intervals! I most certainly used a whole lot of effort, even if it didn’t translate to great paces!

      My husband usually goes at his own pace but it’s been so great running with my cousin because we have similar paces on our long runs. She’s just gotten a year’s work contract out of town so I’ll probably only run with her once a month now when she is in town. That will take some getting used to for me!


    1. It felt so good. I’ve set myself a side goal of running in 3 NEW provinces in South Africa this year – I’ve done North West and Gauteng several times as they are so close by. So the challenge will be to get the other 3 – but a run in the Free State counts as one, so now just to get the other two!


  4. You got some quality runs and workouts in over these past 2 weeks. I would say that’s a strong start to your half marathon training cycle!

    That’s a bummer that the new shoes gave you a blister early on in that first week. I hate when sneakers betray us!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like your training is off to great start this year. Your scenery is amazing and I am sure that helps you to get out there. Fun, that you and your hubs are training together. Have a fantastic week!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. All the best with the new training cycle! How fun to get started right at the beginning of the year. I love your goal of 5 halfs this year. Can’t wait to follow along and watch you nail them all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Marcia. Originally I had planned to make it a 12 week cycle that started somewhere in mid-December. I quickly changed my mind as I knew I wouldn’t have been able to get off to a good start with all the Christmas festivities lined up! But I think 10 weeks will be okay and I get to start on a new page in the new year!


  7. Wow, I love your vacation spot! Looks gorgeous and hiking is great cross-training.

    I’m excited for you to reach your goal of running 5 halfs this year. I ran 5 halfs in 2018 and if I want to get technical, this one in January would count for #6. It was hard! I feel like I didn’t get a break. I’d take time off after a race for a week, but then I had to get right back at it so I wouldn’t lose endurance. It was a great challenge for me. I don’t know if I’ll repeat it this year, so I’ll live vicariously through you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a great beginning to your year! Your running is going well. You have an ambitious racing plan this year. I liked reading about your running with your hubby. It’s good that you can push each other (I think). Can’t wait to read your race reports!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a great family trip! I laughed out loud when you said your hubby went on the run with you and reminded you of the sweaty selfie when you finished! I admit that I sometimes use that as an incentive to get the work done LOL You have a great year on tap!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s always hard to get back into it when you’ve had some time off, but you persisted & I’d say it paid off with that fast 10k!

    Clarens looks stunning. Hiking burns a whole lot of calories, and you usually can’t go as far as you think you can — good for you guys for sticking it out!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think you started out really well! especially after the holidays and plus it’s not exactly perfect running weather conditions! my husband runs with me too sometimes (he’s much faster!!) and really tries to encourage me as well. So nice that you can share the love of running together! Was your sister upset about the hike or were you just worried in general? And don’t you hate that when you find out 1) you didn’t even go that far and 2) there was an easier way?? I once had a hike like that in Chamonix and I basically thought I was going to die in the woods at the bottom of the glacier only to find out 1) We totally could have gone and easier way and 2) 5 minutes after freaking out about dying in the woods we were in a parking lot next to a chalet and a fondue restaurant… Oops 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My sister was quite upset. I knew she was scared of heights so when we got to one point I could see it was too much for her but going back down was even worse because then she had to look down. So next time I ask her to join for a hike I will have to check that it’s relatively flat first, LOL!

      Haha about your hike in Chamonix! A big oops indeed! LOL!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.