training for my first half marathon: training recap and race goals

{In case you’ve missed the previous posts in this series, here’s part 1part 2, and part 3.}

Training Recap
I’m actually finishing week 11 of training tomorrow so I’m almost up to date with this chart. Here are what the past 10 weeks looked like in training. I’ve kept it fairly brief and highlighted a few things that I like to look at, like how my overall average pace has gotten quicker since week 1. Although some people might find that tracking details (like split paces) is a discouragement, I really like to look at those numbers as motivation. For me, I like knowing if I’m pushing myself harder each time I go for a run, week after week and seeing that translate into hard numbers on a chart… it’s pretty neat. Please ignore my basic spreadsheet skills. I’m no Excel ninja like my husband. 

 photo trainchart_zpsecc63100.jpg

A few notes: 
Weeks are from Sunday to Saturday. Some weeks, you will notice that my mileage is drastically different from the previous week. That’s because sometimes I would switch my long runs from the scheduled Sunday to a Saturday, therefore making it a part of that same week and not the next. It all works out in the end. 

Also, you might notice that I got a bit lazy with the cross training. Really, I have no excuses other than being really tired from my long runs the day before/after and those are the weeks I skipped. Hiking doesn’t really count (for these purposes) but I put it there since it happened and I was at least doing something active. I’m already worried skipping those cycling sessions will hurt my performance me during the race but I won’t beat myself up over it now, so close to race day. 

Overall, I’m happy with my running these past 10 weeks. When I started running again after having the baby, I averaged an 11-13 minute mile. Yikes! I felt slow, soft and weak. I guess that’s what happens after not running for 10 months. (Elliptical running is totally different, which is what I did during pregnancy.) Seeing these numbers on the chart, I’m just really in awe of how quickly I’ve been able to get back into a good groove. I’m actually almost back to running as fast (or faster) as I was back when I was racing every month, which was over 6 years ago and I’m most certainly running longer distances than ever before. I’m not saying all this to brag but to say that hard work and dedication really do pay off, even when you feel like quitting.

Race Goals
Speaking of race day, we are 16 days away. I’ve got two more long runs and then a taper week before the big day. As you can see from my chart above, the trend has been toward quicker paces as I continue training. There are a few variables which I’m going to take into account for race day, so I can set realistic race goals for myself. 

#1: The course is HILLY, probably more so than what I’m used to running but I won’t see the course until race day. All I know is from the description, that I should expect ‘rolling hills’ the first 6 miles, then downhills at mile 7-8 and ‘large hills’ at miles 8 and 10. 
#2: I’ve never run this distance before. No matter how I do, it will be a personal record and a good starting point for future half marathons.
#3: Come race morning, it may be 60 degrees or 30 degrees, rainy or sunny. I probably won’t know until the day before! This is my second winter in Texas and from my observations, the weather can be very fickle. Yesterday, I ran in 81 degrees. Today, it is raining and 41 degrees.
#4: Unlike my training runs, I won’t be carrying my water bottle or cell phone with me. There will be plenty of water stops along the course. Also, even though it’s a chip timed race I’m not sure they will have the breakdown on split times so I’ll have my stopwatch for that. Overall, not having my phone and bottle should lighten the load and let me focus even more on my running.
#5: My first goal is to finish without walking. The secondary goal is to finish by 02:20:00. Thirdly, I would like to have negative splits. I won’t be super disappointed if there are a few miles where my splits are positive (did I mention there are HILLS?) but it would be a nice thing if I’m steadily cruising quicker with each passing mile.

I’ll be writing next week about my current week of training and also some other non-running related posts. 

Hope you have a great weekend!

2 thoughts on “training for my first half marathon: training recap and race goals

  1. Urban Wife says:

    Thanks, Monica! I appreciate your encouraging words! 🙂 Now that you mention the cell phone, maybe it's not such a bad idea to run with it. Did you use a sports arm-band with it? That's the only way I think I would consider it, since it's not in immediate danger of falling out of my hand especially as the race goes on and I get more tired.

  2. monica says:

    SO great!! I love seeing your excellent chart! What great progress my friend! I'm impressed! You've had a few really quick miles in there too. 🙂
    Great goals, and sounds like you're right on target.
    I did love having my cell phone for the marathon, but I have a waterproof case so it worked out no matter the weather. It is a bit of a pain, but I guess it is my sense of security (and I loved capturing photos along the way b/c I am a dork like that!)
    Can't wait to track w/ ya!

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