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Friday, September 11, 2015

Fall half-marathon

Well, as you all might have noticed, I have decided to run a half marathon this fall. It was a big decision, one that hinged on a relatively pain-free summer. I didn't get a lot of miles in this summer, but since I returned to running last March it's been five months of building back. I think I'm ready to attempt training for a half.
But just in case, I won't sign up until packet pick-up. How's that for confidence?

I've never formally trained for a half, and it's a distance I don't race often, so I am not too comfortable winging it. I decided to try a training plan, even though that's usually bad news for me; I will have to be very careful to make sure the training plan serves as a guide only, and I am careful of my health.

I downloaded a Hal Higdon plan, and so far it has...a lot of 3 milers. I don't think that makes a lot of sense, so I might be modifying that. It also has a fair bit of hard work, whether that be fast-finish long runs, tempos, intervals, or hills; since I have gotten injured with speedwork in the past, I am allowing myself to skip or modify this as needed. One thing this plan has is a lot of race-pace work, and I've already cut myself some slack here. I'm kind of out of speed shape, and it's very hot out, so I've amended my race pace to anywhere from 7 minutes to 7:15. Hey, maybe that IS my race pace! I don't really know yet! But I've dialed back so I don't get totally exhausted in this heat. I'd rather complete the workout at a pace slower than I'd like rather than get hurt, quit early, or drop from the temps.

I will be interrupting this half training with the Hood to Coast relay and a week-long vacation, so hopefully I'll be able to stay on track. And keep my hips attached. If all that goes well, then Jazz Half Marathon, here I come!


  1. Looking forward to seeing how your race goes on the modified Higdon plan. I don't do plans well either. I've decided lately to just wing it. I'm less injured, but also not getting any PRs. Hope you are completely recovered from HTC now!

  2. Exciting!! Hope it all goes well & you stay pain-free!!

  3. Sometimes I wish I could spend a year or two just focusing on the half distance ... I LOVE it!!! I agree with the 3 mile thing. My theory is that most prepackaged marathon training plans - even when they're scaled between beginner and advanced - are basically built as if you're not running at all when you begin them. It seems most plans start waaaaaay too slow for me, and in a way, are only meant to get you enough training simply to cross the finish line. Hopefully the Higdon plan works for you. and hopefully your hips stay attached!

    1. I just don't see any benefit whatsoever to an easy 3 miler, unless I'm hungover.

  4. I love the half-marathon distance. I think that once this marathon is behind me, I'll focus on halves going forward. I like that they are still challenging but easier on the body. I don't get the point of a lot of 3 milers, either. Those just seem like 'junk' miles to me or something a novice runner would do? I find I do better when I run fewer times per week but makes the runs really count by doing pace work or hills or something like that.

  5. I've trained a lot of times for half marathons and I don't think I've ever had a 5k as a training run. And if I did I probably would decide it wasn't worth getting up out of bed for.

  6. You almost might be off training on your own and then picking up a 12 week plan at week 6 or something.

  7. Haha, I love how I read this post and your aversion for 3 mile runs and then I look over to your latest daily mile run and I see a 12 miler. Boom! Take it easy, but I agree that sometimes we know better and even with a plan, we end up changing it to suit our needs. Hips better stay in place!

  8. The one thing I like about Hal's three milers is that they serve as a reminder that not EVERY run needs to be ten miles. But I barely get warmed up in three miles, so I'm not against adjusting to higher mileage as long as you keep those days easy.