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Half Marathon Training Focuses

 

 

The half marathon is my most favorite race distance. I don’t run a ton of races each year so the ones that I do run mean a whole lot to me.

With my next half quickly approaching (October 3rd!) I am really trying to focus during this “training” period because I do believe a PR is within reach.

Even though I have a Race Recap page, let’s take a second to discuss my half marathon history to date:

My first ever half marathon was the Hershey Park Half October 2012.

I ran this race before I started blogging and I just loved every second of it! My finish time was 1:53:37.

hershey half

Fitness Magazine Half April 2013– Although I had an injured shoulder, my KT Tape and I ran this race well 1:49:01.

Long Island Half May 2013 – My PR race to date 1:45:24.

Since then, things haven’t exactly been PR friendly….

Fitness Magazine Half April 2014 – Otherwise known as the time I didn’t finish a race.

I dropped out somewhere around mile 7 in the middle of central park because I just didn’t feel right.  I was dizzy, struggling and something inside told me to stop before things got worse so I did.

It’s this race that reminded me of the blood pressure issues I have always had, especially during my time of the month, which taught me the lesson that I cannot run races when I have my period or if I am due to have my period (which was the case the day of this race so when I stopped and went to porta potty, it all made sense).

Long Island Half May 2014– I was still slightly traumatized by dropping out of the half only a few weeks before so I recall running super cautiously in fear that it would happen again.

Runner’s World Half Marathon October 2014 –  I felt amazing during this half BUT this was also the third race in the Hat Trick at the Runner’s World Half & Festival which meant I ran a 5K and 10K just the day before.

As great as I felt, I couldn’t push during this half so a PR was not even on my mind.

medals

Long Island Half May 2015 You may remember that I came down with a virus only three days before this race. I still ran it but I don’t know how and will never run so close after being sick again.

But see, right now, I am ready to take on this half next month.

The fall season is definitely my favorite for running so I am banking on some good weather along with the following focuses between now and then to help me reach my goal.

My Current Training Focuses:

Not starting out too fast. I always start out too fast in every race but this time, I am really really REALLY going to try to avoid it!

I like to think that my negative split workout has taught me to start slower and finish faster while also learning how to regulate my speed to save some energy for later in the run.

Fueling Strategies.

I have a post coming up on race fueling strategies but in the meantime, I have been playing around with my mid-run fueling to see if something else can give me better energy than my usual jelly beans or raisins.

I really liked the Hammer Gel that I used on Sunday but may still try Shot Bloks as a comparison.

running fuel

Taking the taper period seriously.

It’s not that I haven’t taken taper weeks seriously in the past because I have but this time, I feel as though I may do things differently.

I am considering an extra rest day, easing up on my mileage more than just the week before, lightening up on Pure Barre and changing what I eat in the days leading up to the race a little bit more than usual.

Expect a more in-depth taper strategy post coming soon!

Race Day Planning

I am mentally organizing a list of race day reminders for myself and here’s what I have so far:

My outfit (I think):

  • lululemon Run Swiftly short sleeve shirt
  • lululemon Run Inspire Crop II’s (my black pair because they fit the best)
  • lululemon sweat-wicking underwear
  • Pro Compression low trainers
  • Adidas Energy Boosts
  • Long-Sleeve shirt to leave at the start line

Pay attention to the water stops! I will never skip the first water stop again, even if I think I am not thirsty.

Update my playlist. I listen to Pandora a majority of the time but during races, I only use my playlist. I could use some new songs so that I don’t get bored.

Practice running more often with my arm band for my phone.

arm band

I am guilty of sometimes running with it and sometimes not but I really want to use it for the race so I must practice more often now so I find the exact spot on my arm where it’s most comfortable.

What I am focusing on for my next Half Marathon #halfmarathontraining #running… Click To Tweet

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Have you ever had to drop out of a race?

Do you struggle with starting out too fast in a race too?

Which day is normally your rest day before a race? The day before or two days before?

 

 

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  • Susie @ SuzLyfe September 1, 2015, 7:36 am

    Dude you are ready to go. I haven’t had a half PR in a long time, but I haven’t really been trying for one in earnest, either. I hope that you are exempt from the bad luck you’ve dealt with for the past few halfs so that you can rock this one out!
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Prevent Injury and Boredom on Long Runs with Glute EngagementMy Profile

  • Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine September 1, 2015, 7:43 am

    Our half marathon race times are so similar! I started with a 1:53, then held a PR of 1:45 for a long time that took me years to break. I’m excited to see how it goes for you this time around! Hopefully I will be able to offer some helpful taper tips:)
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…Dreaded Druid Hills 10k 2015 Race RecapMy Profile

  • Michele @ paleorunningmomma September 1, 2015, 8:27 am

    My half PR was in March 2013! It was a good spring 🙂 I have a half Sept 20 and though it’s part of my marathon training I’m still crossing my fingers that it goes well and winds up a confidence boost. I ran the same one last year and it was crazy humid and sucked! I vote hammer gel over shot bloks but obviously you have to test for yourself. The bloks killed my stomach!
    Michele @ paleorunningmomma recently posted…Banana Almond Coffee Cake Muffins {Paleo}My Profile

  • Jamie September 1, 2015, 9:50 am

    I have never had to drop out of a race, but there have definitely been races that I should’ve. I do usually go out too fast if it’s a smaller, local race where I can start up front. But otherwise, larger races help me stay in a pack for the first few miles and reign it in so I’m not weaving in and out of people. For halfs, I rest the day before, for fulls, I rest the two and three days before, with a short (2-4 miles) on the morning before the race.
    Jamie recently posted…CelebrationsMy Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles September 2, 2015, 9:47 am

      I like a mile or two warm up before races. I didn’t always do it but since starting to, I definitely feel the difference.

  • Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 1, 2015, 10:35 am

    I don’t exactly have my sights set on any half marathons at this point, but I think I’d really struggle with not starting out too fast as well. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget that you still have X amount of miles to run. I seriously think you’re going to rock this next race, though. I’ll be rooting for you!
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. no bake salted caramel pretzel bars .My Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles September 2, 2015, 9:46 am

      That’s just it, you get caught up and think you can hold the pace but sometimes, you can’t.

  • Alyssa @ Renaissancerunnergirl September 1, 2015, 11:12 am

    It’s funny, I never thought about “time of the month” influencing my timing in races – but actually, I have run three half marathons to date and my slowest time was the one time it fell at that time. My stomach felt horrible and I had to stop because I felt nauseous…

    I learned my lesson about water stops at a 10K this past May. I usually don’t stop at all in shorter races (4 or 5 miles or 10K) but that day was HOT, 80 at 8am. I thought I’d hit the next one…bad idea. I struggled to the finish line after stopping at every water table from miles 3-6, having not realized that after mile 1 the stations would skip mile 2.
    Alyssa @ Renaissancerunnergirl recently posted…California Here I ComeMy Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles September 2, 2015, 9:45 am

      Same for me! I skipped that water stop and it screwed me up the rest of the race. I thought there would be one at mile 2 and there wasn’t!

  • Sarah @pickyrunner September 1, 2015, 11:17 am

    I haven’t PRed in a half since my first one so I’m long overdue. I think starting out SLOW makes a huge difference (or I think it will…). I’m planning on trying to execute that for the marathon though so I don’t end up crashing and burning around mile 15. It sounds like you’re doing everything right for a successful half!
    Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…The swing of thingsMy Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles September 2, 2015, 9:43 am

      I am going to try really hard not to start too fast, as in, not allow myself to get all caught up and run anything faster than 7:50 for the first few miles. Easier said than done but I know if I can go slow, it will pay off when I am ready to die around mile 10 lol

  • Suzy September 1, 2015, 12:11 pm

    I have never in my life negative split a race. I’m a complete failure when it comes to not starting out too fast. Oh, well. I just get so caught up in the excitement of it all! You’re going to have a great half. I love seeing all your progress!
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    • The Cookie ChRUNicles September 2, 2015, 9:41 am

      I haven’t either but I can certainly try for it this time, or at the very least, not start too fast.