Half Marathon: Take Three

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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.

What is one fitness goal of yours for 2012?

18 Comments on Half Marathon: Take Three

  1. Maria
    December 29, 2011 at 8:46 am (9 years ago)

    I’m also excited about tackling the DC Rock N Roll half, especially since it’ll be my first! Thanks for passing on the discount code, btw! I’m using a 16 week 3x’s a week training program and weight lifting 3x’s a week too. Yay for 2012 fitness goals!

  2. Victoria (District Chocoholic)
    December 29, 2011 at 8:56 am (9 years ago)

    Really targeted strength training is extremely helpful for running. This fall, I figured out that I have weak glutes, which is why my hamstrings fatigue so easily, and are my limiting factor in running – they give out long before my lungs or heart are even close to their limit. After the marathon in mid-November, I started working my glutes like my life depends on it and have already taken 6 minutes off my half marathon time AND my hamstrings feel at least a little better most days.

  3. Jennifer
    December 29, 2011 at 9:46 am (9 years ago)

    I want to try different forms of exercise more often! I run and take Zumba frequently, but I want to attend Spin classes and yoga more often.

  4. Kelly @ No Thanks to Cake
    December 29, 2011 at 10:00 am (9 years ago)

    One of my goals for this year is to run , first 5k. I’ve never run ANYTHING, so it should be interesting….

    Keep us posted on your training. Love hearing about you tackling your goals.

  5. Jamie
    December 29, 2011 at 11:25 am (9 years ago)

    I signed up to run my first half in May! I am excited but also nervous- I keep telling myself that I can do it. I also want to keep up the strength training that I have been doing. I have been going to Body Pump twice a week and really like it

  6. Carly D. @ CarlyBananas
    December 29, 2011 at 11:40 am (9 years ago)

    I’m just starting training for my third half marathon too. I’m actually leaning towards not running any more than 3 days a week so I can make sure I do a better job of cross training. I usually am so bad at it, but I’ve really been busting it in December to get it in.

  7. Lisa
    December 29, 2011 at 11:52 am (9 years ago)

    Bike a full century! This last summer I did part of the Portland Century–72 miles. I KNOW I can do 100 in 2012.

  8. Dani
    December 29, 2011 at 12:00 pm (9 years ago)

    I’m doing the DC Rock n Roll half and it’ll be my 3rd as well! I completely agree with you on why races on so addicting… you just learn what you can do better and want to implement it! Thanks for the heads up that it’s so hilly!

  9. Shelly @ I Can Do It!
    December 29, 2011 at 12:10 pm (9 years ago)

    I share some of your goals. I want to run a few half marathons this year – with the first in May. One of my goals is to get started with that. I also need to work on my strength training. I find it so boring! I don’t do any right now and would like to work up to 2 times per week.

  10. Allison
    December 29, 2011 at 5:32 pm (9 years ago)

    Incorporating hill and strength training probs is some of the best advice- I need to start incorporating more of both myself!

  11. Sarah
    December 29, 2011 at 9:59 pm (9 years ago)

    Good luck with the training plan! Hills can be a killer. If you want a tough hill, try the hill on Lee Highway that goes from Rosslyn to Courthouse…it never fails to kick my ass!

    My goal is to break out of my elliptical cardio rut!

  12. Katie for Life
    December 29, 2011 at 10:02 pm (9 years ago)

    My major fitness goal for 2012 is simply to work out 4 times a week. I know it sounds lame, but I really have trouble motivating myself sometimes!

  13. Rachelle
    December 29, 2011 at 11:10 pm (9 years ago)

    My fitness goal in 2012 is to learn how to run. I have a lot of anxiety when it comes to running so I want to be able to run without worrying what people think. Good luck in your training.

  14. Lorinda @ Everyday Endeavours
    December 30, 2011 at 1:47 am (9 years ago)

    My fitness goal for 2012 is to get back in to running. It’s been a long downhill slide since my half marathon in Oct 2010 and I still have that full marathon to take down!! Best of luck for 2012!

  15. Monica
    December 31, 2011 at 2:44 pm (9 years ago)

    Great plan! I definitely think strength training is a game changer, it just makes your power more explosive.

    My 2012 fitness goal is to get back into running since I haven’t run since my first trimester. I also want to do another 5k.

  16. Sophie
    January 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm (9 years ago)

    Hi- I was wondering if you could tell me what the differences are between Total Body Conditioning, Body Pump, and Club Strength. I’ve only done TBC, but from the descriptions, they seem the same! Thanks and good luck!


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