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Halfway There, Training Tidbits and Half Marathon Goals! And a lot of rambling….

Halfway There, Training Tidbits and Half Marathon Goals! And a lot of rambling….
Halfway There, Training Tidbits and Half Marathon Goals! And a lot of rambling….

Well, as of this weekend I am officially halfway through my NYC marathon training! Nine weeks down and nine to go!

Yes, I caved and ordered one of the ING NYC Marathon tees. It was only a matter of time before one of their weekly emails got to me!

So how is my training going?  I can honestly say that I feel pretty confident about everything so far.  The first month was pretty hard since I had taken so much time off running this summer but this last month I have noticed that I’ve started to find my groove.

A few observations about the first 9 weeks:

  • Most of my runs have been on my own. With one of my main running buddies out with a stress fracture this training cycle has been a little more lonely than usual.  It’s not quite as “fun” waking up to run when it’s dark out by yourself.  It doesn’t feel as safe either which is why I have done so many runs on TM.
  • My right knee tendonitis finally seems to be going away, even though my mileage has been increasing. 
  • Speaking of mileage- running between 50-60 miles a week seems to be working for me.

One of the hardest types of workouts for me are tempo runs.  They are more challenging than any speed work on the track.  I like incorporating them into my training though because they help me so much mentally.

Thirteen months ago I was coming back from my stress fracture.  I remember the day I ran a two mile tempo.  My goal was to run it just under or around a 7 minute pace.  It was SO hard for me but I finished. At the time I could not imagine running any further at that pace.  Each week I added a little more knowing that my goal was to average that pace for 13.1 miles.  It took three fall half marathons but it finally happened in December at the St. Judes Half Marathon.  My official race pace average was 7:04.  And I have not run a half marathon since then….

It’s not that I didn’t want to run another half marathon this spring or summer but with two marathons earlier this year and then the tendonitis it just wasn’t meant to be so it didn’t happen.  I have a HM scheduled for 4 weeks from Saturday so I am mentally starting to prepare for that.  This time I really want to break 1:30.  This means I need to average between a 6:45-6:50 mile.  Yikes! That seems fast to me.  I don’t know if it will happen this time or how many HM’s I’ll have to run before I do this but it is a goal of mine.  I’m going to do my best to make it happen on September 29th.

To help me prepare mentally and physically for running this pace I deviated a little from my marathon training this week.  My NYC schedule only called for easy runs all week so I thought it would be the right time to incorporate a long tempo run to gauge where I am.  Yesterday I ran a 10 mile half marathon goal pace run.  I had a 1.5 mile warm-up and then I was ready to go.  I ran on the outside lane of the track.  Why the track?   I had to start pretty early when it was still dark but the track is well lit. There are usually quite a few people out walking or jogging during this time so I feel very safe there.  Also, I didn’t want to deal with traffic or anything else that might interrupt my pace.

10 Mile Track Splits:
mile 1- 6:51
mile 2- 7:02
mile 3- 6:48
5K- 21 min.
mile 4- 6:40
mile 5- 6:38
mile 6- 6:44
10K- 42 min.
mile 7- 6:52
mile 8- 6:48
mile 9- 6:52
15K- 63 min.
mile 10- 6:35

Total time: 1:07:52 (6:47 avg.)

Lessons learned:
I have never run this many consecutive laps on a track.  Thankfully I had music and the weather was good.  I did grab my water bottle during mile 6 but I didn’t stop to drink it.  I pretended it was a real race situation so the clock kept running while I tried to run and drink.  I felt pretty good during the last mile but can I keep it up for 3 more?  Basically I need to run an additional 5K at this pace to could make it in 1:29. 

Next week I’m back to marathon training.  It’s hard/ impossible to focus on two big goals at the same time.  I know I just need to pick which one is more important and NYC wins this time. I have more money and time invested in it so it really does consume my training.  It would be nice if my HM benefited from my training but obviously my workouts are more geared towards marathon training not HM training.

So that’s the training update.  Looking forward to a 17 miler this weekend and my first 20 miler next weekend. Hopefully I can stay injury-free. If you are like me, any little daily ache or pain I feel goes straight to my head. I immediately think- “Oh no! I’m done!”  I know I need to stay positive and keep doing the things that keep me healthy- stretching ,rolling, icing ,etc.  Nine weeks is a long time but I know it will be here before I know it…

14 Comments

  1. Tia in your opinion, would you say for someone to acquire a faster pace they’d need to just focus on speedwork or building mileage? I’ve been an off and on again runner for years and my comfortable pace is 9.5 minute/mile. Without risking injury which route do you suggest?
    And wow…you are so speedy!!

    1. Hi Jule! In my opinion I would add in one day of speed work a week if you are wanting to improve your speed. For example, if you typically run 4 or 5 days a week, you could run a “long” run 1 day, 2-3 days of easy runs and 1 day of speed work. You could alternate between tempo runs or interval repeats. When I first started back into running after having kids I followed Hal Higdon’s online training plans. They tend to be on the conservative miles side but they also include speed work. Both times I followed his marathon training plan I was able to qualify for Boston AND remain injury-free. There are different levels depending on your fitness/ goals. Plus they are all free and easy to understand. http://www.halhigdon.com/

  2. Nice big comment and it got eaten. :/

    Funny about the track- I use the road in “town” (population 200) for the same reason. There is a short flat stretch I call my “track” and it has some lights for the early morning workouts 🙂

    You have some rock solid workouts under your belt now, Tia! Doing fabulous. And you are sitting on some really good mileage too. I think you are smart to focus on the larger goal. No doubt in my mind that you’ll go sub 1:30 at the right time.

    Can’t wait to see what your new PR is in 9 weeks at NYC!

  3. I was just at the track practicing pace this morning. For me I’m trying to hit 7 min. miles and wondering if I’m crazy to reach for a goal that aggressive. This morning I ran 5 miles at pace. Of course that’s a long way from 13.1! 🙂 From my experience if you can run 10 at your goal pace then the race will be no problem but you also have a lot more running /racing experience than me. I wish you the best in your fall races and will look forward to reading about them.

    1. Carissa- you are EXACTLY where I was last year at this time. I was trying to hit a 7 minute pace and I started with 2 miles. By September I was up to 5 or 6. I was able to keep building it up. I’m sure you will get to 13.1. Just hang in there and know your endurance will build with each passing week. A pace team actually really helped me. Not sure if your HM will have that option but it worked for me. 🙂

    2. Good point about the pacers. I see you are familiar with the Hal Higdon plans. I’m following the advanced half marathon plan and he suggests 5 miles as the longest pace run. If you were me how many miles would you do at pace prior to race? Or do I know your answer already: 10… 🙂

    3. Carissa- I replied a few days ago but it got lost somewhere… 🙁 Anyway, yes, I would pace longer than what he says. I would go up to at least 10 for a HM. Last December I stayed with the 3:10 pace group at the St. Jude Marathon while I was just running the half to pace with them. I didn’t want to go out too fast. I stayed with them for a while until I was ready to speed up and confident I could hold the pace. In Oct.’11 I had run a HM when I started too fast and died at mile 8. That was awful. A pace team helped me a lot.

  4. wow! you have some really solid training. I am also running NYC, so it’s neat to see how different people are doing with their training. I think you will have no problem at all getting that sub 1:30 half – if you can do 10 miles at the pace. we seem like similarly paced runners – I ran my first sub 1:30 half last summer and could not run that many race pace miles in training – you are a super strong runner, go for it! I find the tempos difficult but so beneficial as well. They are my favorite workout, but I hate them at the same time!:) Good luck with your long run this weekend!

    1. Thanks Katie! You have had some FAST hm’s and marathons!! Well, all your races actually! : ) I’ll be following your training now. Did not realize you were doing NYC too!

  5. I really enjoy following your training. So encouraging to see you hitting all your workouts, spot on!
    I know what you mean about being hyper-senstive about injury, too. I have to keep reminding myself to not panic about every little twinge.
    Good luck with the 2nd half!!

  6. Your comment about only 2 miles at 7pace and building from there was encouraging… I feel like I lost a lot of speed this summer but am remembering to start small and build on it. That 10 miler is incredible, your training is solid! Hope that sub 1:30 comes sooner than later for you!

    1. Thanks Laura! I hope so too. I wish I had more HM’s in my schedule but it just didn’t workout this year. Hopefully it will next year. They are so much easier on a body than full M’s.

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