So somehow, this week marks the start of a 12 week training program for my THIRD half marathon. You can read all about my first half marathon, the Philly Rock ‘N Roll Half, and then see my training plan and recap of my second half, the 2011 DC National Half. I can hardly believe that I have two under my belt, and that I’m now gearing up to run my third, and I can honestly say, I’m pretty excited about starting training!
For my first half marathon, my goal was just to finish. I woke up really sick the day before the race, so I ended up putting no time pressure on myself and had an amazing time running and just going at a pace that felt comfortable. Crossing that finish line was such a monumental moment for me because it really proved that I had changed my life, and was the first time I ever thought of myself as an athlete in my entire life. Reading the recap brings me to tears every single time.
During my second half, my goal was to PR, or finish faster than my first. I didn’t know exactly how fast I could go, but during the race, I was NOT prepared with the numbers of hills that presented themselves along the course. I knew I had worked on my speed a lot since I did speed work for the first time while training for the race, but the hills really got to me. They tore at my running confidence and made me rethink the training I had done because I felt a lot more confident going into the race than I felt while actually running it. I was frustrated that I had spent so many months training hard for the race, yet felt unprepared with each new hill I faced on the course. That said, I still shaved over 5 minutes off my time and got a new PR.
I think part of the reason that running races is so addictive is that every time you run one, you learn a little bit about yourself and your training, and how you can improve the next time. Since you see the flaws in your training while you’re running and can think of things to do better the next time, it makes you want to sign up for another race so you can test your ideas and give yourself a chance to perform better.
For this third race – the DC Rock n Roll Half on March 17, 2012, my goal is to PR again. I don’t have a set time in mind, but I just know I want to go faster than 2:10:46.
My plan is to use a modified version of Hal Higdon’s Intermediate plan, which is what I did for my second half, but here is what I want to do differently this time around:
- Incorporate Hill Training – As I mentioned above, the hills KILLED me in my second half marathon. The next half is the same course as the last one, so I know I need to be prepared to tackle the hills. I did most of my half marathon training indoors last time around, but there are lots of hilly routes around my apartment that I want to use during this time’s training.
- Incorporate Strength Training – I am the epitome of an all or nothing person in every area of my life. When I am training for races, I tend to ONLY run. The last six weeks or so, I’ve been strength training at least once a week, and it’s making a big difference in how I feel and how my body looks. I know that strength training is essential for injury prevention and will also make me a stronger runner, so I want to commit to strength training AT LEAST once a week, and hopefully twice. My goal is to sign up for a Body Pump/Club Strength class at least once a week to help me reach this goal, and to do that on days when I have a shorter run planned. I also have The Shred that I “love” (loose term) which can work as another form of strength training if I am short on time or can’t get to a gym.
- Run More Times in a Week – During training for my second half, I ran 3 times a week much more than 4 times a week. This go-round, I’d like to aim to run 4 times a week much more than 3x a week. I know that getting out there and getting more mileage, even with shorter 3 to 4 mile runs, will help make me a stronger runner and better prepare me for this half marathon.
So I think that’s it! I can honestly say that I am excited to be back to a training plan for the time being where my workouts are mapped out and I don’t have to make too many decisions about what to do for a workout on any given day.