Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Next Half Marathon Training Indecisiveness

Half Marathon Training...Round 5.

I'm torn on what to use for my next training plan:
  • I was pretty pleased with Hal Higdon's Intermediate (with a little Advanced thrown in) for my April and May half marathons this year.  
    • I tried to pick a goal time range faster than my previous best time, and looked up equivalent paces for training using the McMillan running calculator (5k, 10k paces for speed work)
    • From my actual training paces, I tried to figure out where in that range it was looking like an attainable race time would be for me.
  • Heather from Miss Fancy Pants Tris passed along a training plan from Women's Running that she thought looked good, and I agree!  
    • Involves 3 target runs a week and gives paces for training runs (easy, long, tempo, race pace) based on your half marathon time goal.
    • I like 3-4 runs a week, 5 can get a little tiring and tough with weekend traveling.
  • My 2:56-marathoner friend Ben says I just have to work on getting more comfortable with my goal half marathon pace, gradually build my distance at that pace, and if I can get up to 10 miles at that pace, I'll be able to do 13.1 miles at that pace.
    • He says 400s and 800s are probably not all that helpful in improving half marathon time.  
    • He also says hills will build leg strength but won't necessarily help increase my pace.
    • He also thinks I could aggressively train for a 9:00 pace this September (eek!)
      • My 5/22 half was at a 10:20 pace; I'm not sure I want to push that hard?
To consider:

-I know I'll be out of town for 2 or 3 weekends in July, maybe another weekend in August, and a long weekend in early September.

- Summer is here and I have a VERY reduced work schedule for the next 10 weeks, so my running/workout schedule is pretty open with the exception of the above travel.

-I don't currently belong to a gym (haven't since end of April), but plan to re-up soon so I will have access to a treadmill for speed work on super hot 90F+ days.

-I will be doing several of my longer weekend runs with a work friend who is also training for a fall half marathon.  I can't be too much of a control freak with my pace on runs with someone else.   The pace on our last run ranged from 10:20-11:30 and we talked the whole time.  So not as slow as a long runs should be; yet not fast enough to be a pace run.  I like the social running, I just don't really know where this type of run falls in to my soon-to-be training schedule.

Sooo I'm thinking a reasonable- but still needing to work for it- goal will be a 9:50 pace (2:09 half marathon).  If I am being ambitious - and if I work my butt off and race conditions (i.e. temperature/humidity) are good - maybe I could reach for a couple minutes faster, like 2:06?

Thoughts? Do I have a reasonable time goal?  Am I crazy?

Talk amongst yourselves.


  1. Good luck figuring it all out - I know you will, girl!

  2. Have you looked that the FIRST training programs? The idea is to base your pace off of your last 10k race.
    The 10 miles training that builds you to 13 miles. Or there is the 1/2 marathon one.
    Even if you don't follow it to the dot it has good pace advice.

  3. Here are some thoughts - I do agree with your friend Ben by increasing your comfort at your new goal pace. However, you can burn yourself out or be prone to more injury if that is all you do.

    I think variety in running is important. I learned that when I ran track. I am not nearly as fast anymore but that came with a bunch of injuries in the past few years.

    Here are my thoughts on speed work and hills

    Speed work - I believe that that has helped me in the past on getting faster and improving my time by improving my anaerobic threshold and VO2 max. You may want to start out with the 400/800 and gradually do 800s and 1200s (I can send you some of my half-ironman track workouts - similar since half marathon at the end). Additionally the speed workouts help improve your efficiency and your technique.

    Hill workouts help regardless - you need to build leg strength but also be able to train specifically for your race you are training for - meaning look at the elevation of the race, is there hills? If so, it is important to incorporate so you don't slow down during those hills that ironically appear during those last 4-5 miles..chances are you aren't running a pancake flat 1/2 marathon in NJ or PA.

    Lastly run with people slower and faster than you - social runs are good for keeping the heart rate on the Z2 during long runs. But training with someone faster goes a long way as well. I sometimes run with a group so that it pushes me to go a little harder for the run.

    Good luck!! I know you are getting fifty pieces of information but the more experimentation you do the more you will find what will work best for you!

  4. I think that 2:09 is a great goal pace! Go with it. :)

  5. Green Girl - thanks :)

    TrailRunningChick - I haven't heard of it before, but I checked out the link you posted on your blog, and it actually looks a little similar to the one from Women's Running that Heather shared with me! I've actually never run a 10k! I'm just going on my recent half marathon times (~2:18:55 in April, 2:15:32 in May). I recently ran a "virtual 5k" and my equivalent HM pace was a 2:13.

    Heather- Yeah...I don't want to get injured! I agree with what you are saying about speedwork and hills...and I think from my own experience, successful hill/speed runs have boosted my self confidence in my ability to run faster (and probably boosted my speed too). I don't think I could have tackled those hills in my April half marathon without my hills training (I should add I have some hills throughout my normal running routes too). This morning, I just ran a 2nd target run from the plan you sent me...I'm leaning in that direction :)

    Stefanie D- thanks! :)

  6. Have you read the book Run Less, Run Faster? I used the training schedule in there for my half marathon training and ended cutting almost 5 minutes off my time in just under 3 months (and I could have done more but the course was ridiculously hilly). My 5k and 10k times improved too.

    I liked the program because each run is different, which kept me from getting bored. You should check it out! ;)

  7. Danielle- Thanks for the suggestion, I just picked up Run Less, Run Faster from the library today!


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