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Running Newbie worried about making my half marathon goal. (Read 1731 times)

    Well, I've been avoiding signing up for a running forum because that would mean that I'm getting OCD about it and the last thing I need is a new hobby!

     

    Anyway, I've been running now for almost a year for the primary purpose of getting in shape for elk hunting.  I set a goal last fall to run 6 miles in 60 minutes and met that goal pretty easily.  I actually got up to 8 miles in 80 minutes before my big hunt.

     

    Being in shape for hunting was really nice and I decided to take it a little further and somehow decided that I would run a half marathon in 2 hours or less.  I didn't think through that was going to be twice as far and 1:00 per mile was a lot faster.

     

    Anyway, I've read a lot and stolen bits and pieces from several sites and thought I had a pretty good plan put together to make my goal.  I got sick last month and that really knocked me back but I feel like I'm back on track now but really wondering if I can make my goal or not now.

     

    I made up a training schedule and have been keeping up with it on an excel spreadsheet and I just signed up here today and haven't gotten anything entered on a log here yet.

     

    Here's my excel spreadsheet log - http://www.padens.com/files/running%20miles%20summary.pdf

     

    It's 3 pages right now with the first page being my summary, the second page my training plan and the last page my detail for each run.

     

    On my run detail I just entered in my pace and heart rate in the cell next to the mileage.  My heart rate monitor (actually the docking connector on my iphone) broke last week so that has added to my concern as I really struggled to know my true level of effort without it and I didn't know if I was using it as an excuse to give up on a run or if I really was struggling as bad as it seemed, but my pace run this week was a bust and my increasing pace long run was a bust as well with both of them coming in almost 30 seconds slower pace than I wanted.

     

    Probably way to late now to ask for advice on making my goal, but I thought I would throw it out there and see what you guys might think.

     

    This time last year I was sitting on my coach and really didn't get started running until May.

     

    No pace or heart rate information, but here's my summary for 2011 - http://www.padens.com/files/2011%20running%20miles%20summary.pdf

     

    I'm 6'2" and started around 240 in May and am down to 220 now.  Would like to get down to around 205, but I don't think I'll ever pass for a runner by most people's standards. 

     

    I really don't want to give up on my sub 2 hour goal for my first half marathon coming up at the end of the month, but I want to be realistic too.  I would need to shave about 10 minutes off my last training run to meet my goal and I think it might be possible, but that's a lot of time.

     

    I was not prepared for how much the sun would zap me and I got started late on this last long run and I think that might have been a big part of the problem.  Being a bigger guy it is very hard to shed the heat with the sun beating down on me after about the 9 or 10 mile mark my core temp is building big time.  I've added a mesh hydration bladder to my equipment for long runs and I think I'm staying hydrated, but I need to start pouring some water on me as well to help try to cool me down.

     

    My wife seems to think I need to start adding in more pace runs and less easy runs, but I was trying to keep about 80% of my mileage in the aerobic zone and it seemed to be really working on knocking my pace down until I got sick.  Now with it warming up here in Texas I'm struggling with the heat and sun to keep my heart rate down.  Maybe I just had a bad week, I felt like I was getting back on track the week before with a good pace run and decent heart rate long run but then fell off this week.

     

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts or suggestions.

     

    Nathan

    Age: 46 Weight: 200 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

    Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 43:59; 5K 21:27

      First, congrats on getting out and running and welcome to RA.  Others with much more experience may offer other insights, but I'll toss out some initial thoughts.

       

      If I've got your history right, you started running 10 months ago and had built up to 3 or 4 days running at 20mpw prior to becoming ill.  After struggling through 2 weeks of intermittent running while sick, you realized your race was in mere weeks.  So you did what seems logical:  immediately ramp up your mileage by 50% to make up lost ground while trying to push the intensity in the Texas heat.

       

      No wonder you are feeling a little beat up.

       

      I see that for the past 2 weeks you are getting in 3 days of running.  Running 30mpw means that you are averaging 10 miles per run...or roughly half of your weekly average base miles prior to getting sick.  To me, this means you are not running any easy miles.  Every run is either hard or long or both.  At best, it will take your body awhile to adjust to the new load (at worst, injury).

       

      Also, for me, learning to judge effort, meant ignoring what all my gadgets said and listen to what my body was telling me.  I love the gadgets, but reliance on them can hold me back in some ways.  Sometimes the best thing is to get out there and just run.

       

      Oh, and the heat will make a big difference in what you can do at a give level of effort and duration.

       

      I'm not sure anyone is going to hazard a guess at whether you can run sub-2, with the available data (running history, course, weather, etc).  Based on your spreadsheet, going out at a 9:09 pace looks pretty aggressive.  One approach is to look at the race as a measuring stick so you can judge where you are and how best to train for the next one.  Going out at a pace that you know you can hold and then evaluating how you feel at the halfway mark is sensible.

       

      For the next few weeks, it seems sensible if you break up your 10 mile easy runs into two shorter easy runs.  Not sure exactly when your race is, but at some point shortly you'll want to start tapering back your long run.  Then, keep it easy within 10 days of your race.

       

      Best of luck!

      2014 goals:   •  1st Marathon  •  1:32 Half (didn't happen this year)  •  2,500 miles

        Run more often and slower. I know there's a lot of stuff been written in the last few years about progression runs as key workouts, Kenya, Ethiopia and all of that stuff, but what you need at this point is just more running, and you don't have enough easy running to support a whole lot of fast stuff.

         

        In my opinion, the most you should do at pace is about 10K (6mi), and that maybe once a week, maybe another 5K at pace once a week as well if you're running at least 5 days. You can run easy (should be 1-2 min/mile slower than your ½ race pace) before and after that work.

         

        That's pretty much what I was doing for speedwork before my best couple ½ marathons. I had a couple interval sessions 3-5 weeks out, but I was running almost twice as much as you are.

         

        Biggest thing to remember is that you aren't going to make yourself any faster by doing a workout in the last week but you sure can make yourself slower.

        2013 Goal: Make 3:00:16 go away - FAIL.

        2014 Goal: Make 3:00:16 go away.

          MTA: Double post

          2013 Goal: Make 3:00:16 go away - FAIL.

          2014 Goal: Make 3:00:16 go away.

            If I've got your history right, you started running 10 months ago and had built up to 3 or 4 days running at 20mpw prior to becoming ill.  After struggling through 2 weeks of intermittent running while sick, you realized your race was in mere weeks.  So you did what seems logical:  immediately ramp up your mileage by 50% to make up lost ground while trying to push the intensity in the Texas heat.

             

            No wonder you are feeling a little beat up.

             

            I see that for the past 2 weeks you are getting in 3 days of running.  Running 30mpw means that you are averaging 10 miles per run...or roughly half of your weekly average base miles prior to getting sick.  To me, this means you are not running any easy miles.  Every run is either hard or long or both.  At best, it will take your body awhile to adjust to the new load (at worst, injury).

             

            Also, for me, learning to judge effort, meant ignoring what all my gadgets said and listen to what my body was telling me.  I love the gadgets, but reliance on them can hold me back in some ways.  Sometimes the best thing is to get out there and just run.

             

            Oh, and the heat will make a big difference in what you can do at a give level of effort and duration.

             

            I'm not sure anyone is going to hazard a guess at whether you can run sub-2, with the available data (running history, course, weather, etc).  Based on your spreadsheet, going out at a 9:09 pace looks pretty aggressive.  One approach is to look at the race as a measuring stick so you can judge where you are and how best to train for the next one.  Going out at a pace that you know you can hold and then evaluating how you feel at the halfway mark is sensible.

             

            For the next few weeks, it seems sensible if you break up your 10 mile easy runs into two shorter easy runs.  Not sure exactly when your race is, but at some point shortly you'll want to start tapering back your long run.  Then, keep it easy within 10 days of your race.

             

            Best of luck!

             

            Thanks for the reply.  I had actually built up to 30 mpw before I got sick.  I've been trying to keep with the 10% rule of not increasing my weekly mileage or my long run mileage by more than 10% each week, but with being sick it threw my whole timeline off and I just tried to get back on track with my training schedule and ignored the 10% rule on that.   I'm getting in 3 runs a week for sure and sometimes 4 plus a cross training day on the elliptical.  I'm counting my elliptical time in my miles as it's main goal is cardio.  I didn't enter any treadmill or elliptical workouts on my training log here yet because they don't import in from runkeeper, but I'm up to right at 40 mpw right now and that's where I'm peaking for my half marathon on April 28th.

             

            I really feel like my easy runs have been easy.  When I first got my heart rate monitor in January I slowed my pace on my runs down from about 9:30 to 10:00 per mile down to over 11:00 per mile.  I strictly ran based on my heart rate trying to keep it at 70% of max.  Right before I got sick in February I had it where my best easy run was 10:10 with my heart rate at 70%.  I'm only doing one workout each week where I exceed the 70% heart rate and that's what I call my pace run each week, but more folks call that a Tempo run.

             

            I don't feel beat up at all after my easy runs, my 13.4 miler last week that was at a 10:37 pace felt great, but it was early in the morning before it got warm.  I ended up mowing the yard, playing with my 5 year old and doing everything else I would do on a normal Saturday.  I did feel beat up after my last 13.4 but think there are a bunch of factors that came into play on it.  I really enjoy my easy runs and know they will eventually get me faster, but I'm just worried that I'm not going to get there fast enough for this race.  Sounds like ramping up the Tempo runs would be a mistake though so I'll just keep up my current plans of all easy runs except for the one Tempo run each week.

             

            I do have a taper planned on my training schedule, reading more I might throw in a harder run 9 or 10 days out instead of an easy run 7 days out though.

            Age: 46 Weight: 200 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

            Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 43:59; 5K 21:27

              Run more often and slower. I know there's a lot of stuff been written in the last few years about progression runs as key workouts, Kenya, Ethiopia and all of that stuff, but what you need at this point is just more running, and you don't have enough easy running to support a whole lot of fast stuff.

               

              In my opinion, the most you should do at pace is about 10K (6mi), and that maybe once a week, maybe another 5K at pace once a week as well if you're running at least 5 days. You can run easy (should be 1-2 min/mile slower than your ½ race pace) before and after that work.

               

              That's pretty much what I was doing for speedwork before my best couple ½ marathons. I had a couple interval sessions 3-5 weeks out, but I was running almost twice as much as you are.

               

              Biggest thing to remember is that you aren't going to make yourself any faster by doing a workout in the last week but you sure can make yourself slower.

               

              Thanks for the reply.  Essentially that's my plan except I've been trying to push up my Tempo runs to 8 miles right now instead of 6.  I've only been doing one fast run a week and the rest easy.  This is a busy time of year for me though and I just am not going to fit in many more runs per week and keep my life balanced.   My fast runs are supposed to be 9:00 and my easy runs are strictly based on heart rate (70% of max), but end up running about 10:40 right now on the long runs.  I'm doing an elliptical workout once as week as well, again watching my heart rate and trying to keep it right at 70% of max.

               

              If anything you guys have given me the confidence that changing things up and going to more hard runs isn't going to solve things.  I just had no idea that the sun and temperatures could have anywhere near the affect that it does for me anyway.  I'm going to maybe even start my next long run in the dark and see if that helps.  This will be my longest run of my training and probably for the year at 14.6 miles.  I've got my heart rate monitor fixed and will be running whatever pace that tells me even if it is walking.  That's probably the biggest area I felt I was going against the "rules" as my long runs are more than 25% of my mileage each week, not way over but a little bit.  Doing a quick look back my long runs on a normal week end up being about 35% of my total mileage for that week.

               

              I may just have to chalk it up to a sub 2 hour half as an unreasonable goal, I really think I can make a pretty low 2 pretty easy (since I did essentially a 2:10 already last week and that even included some walking) but there is a LOT of difference between a 2:10 and a 1:59 and I just didn't realize that when I set my goal.

               

              Thanks again for the input.  Nathan

              Age: 46 Weight: 200 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

              Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 43:59; 5K 21:27

                I went ahead and updated my workout log on this site for 2012.  I like the feature with the average pace each week.  I couldn't figure out how to get my heart rate information to upload so that's not in there although I guess I shouldn't pay any attention to my heart rate information anyway.  I entered my elliptical workouts in there as Hill workouts since I always do the hillclimb mode on the elliptical when I use it.

                 

                I didn't put any 2011 information in there.  In 2011 my long run was 8.38 miles at a 9:56 pace on December 15th.  Fastest run was 6.01 miles at an 8:56 pace on December 4th.  Total mileage for December 2011 was 52.6 so my average week was under 15 mpw.

                 

                After the beating I took on the easy run thread I guess I'm not going to get much help here.  I'm leaning toward continuing on with my original plan except I might try to move my last long run up a few days and maybe push it a little harder maybe 9 to 10 days before the race.  I'll be running a 15K two weeks before the half marathon so that might count as my last big workout, so maybe I'll just leave everything exactly like I have it on my plan.

                 

                Maybe I'll be able to suck it up and get it done.

                Age: 46 Weight: 200 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

                Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 43:59; 5K 21:27

                  I know what you're saying about being hard to fit in more runs and keep balanced, but it's amazing where you can fit in a few miles.

                   

                  Get up a little earlier, or go out at your lunchtime and get 2-5 miles in. Make that run a second one for the day (you should have no problem doing that given 40mpw)

                   

                  Run to or from work, or the store, or your buddies, or even home from the bar. Running as commuting is amazing once you discover it. Bird bath sucks but works, I luckily have a shower in the building I work in now.

                   

                  I still don't see that 2:00 is unreasonable, the difference between 2:10 and 2:00 is less than proper pacing & a taper will help you improve.

                   

                  What you need for a taper is pretty individual, I use 7 days for a half marathon, and don't run much at all that last week, just a few easy runs. I think I only ran once or twice the week before my PB.  I've found that a key workout 8 days out, for me 10K easy, 10K a hair faster than goal ½ pace, with a 5K cool down really helps with confidence. It's a hard workout, and if I can nail that 10K without working too hard then I know I can sustain that pace for a half marathon after a taper. For you, that workout might be a few days before that and might look a little different.

                   

                  Don't be too concerned about heart rate and trying to walk to keep it at some number at this point, you should know your easy pace by now. Just keep running it.

                   

                  If it's beating you up, skip the pace run for a week and see if you feel better. No one workout means that much, and you're playing with your own head feeling run down.

                  2013 Goal: Make 3:00:16 go away - FAIL.

                  2014 Goal: Make 3:00:16 go away.

                     

                    After the beating I took on the easy run thread I guess I'm not going to get much help here. 

                     

                    I don't think you took much of a beating and there's plenty of help and much to learn here.

                     

                    It takes years to mature as a runner. Like the others may have mentioned, I'd ditch the heart rate monitor...at least for now and learn how to run easy.

                     

                    Even with heart rate feedback, 160 bpm dosen't always feel the same...some days it feels easier, somes days harder. If an easy feeling happens to put me at 170 bpm for the day, then why the hell not run at 170? I don't train with a monitor but I do believe there may be some usefulness...If I ran to soley for the purpose of losing weight then maybe it would help me stay in the fat burning zone. I run because A) I love to run, B) I believe it is the single best form of fitness and C) I like run as competitively as I can.

                     

                    I can't see your log here at work...From what I gathered from above: If you want to become a better runner then running more frequently is one of the first things you need to work on. At least 5 days / week. Consistency is almost everything...actually, for the new runner it is everything. As far as your first half and current goals; Whats to worry about? Go out and do your best. If you're inexperienced at events like this you are probably going to go out to fast and end up with a 3 mile suck fest to finish...there you go, suck it up...ask here why you blew up with 3 miles to go and learn from what people here will tell you.

                     

                    It's not very damn often I have ever met or exceeded any of my Race goals but I can tell you that the bar continues to raise. Those goals from 5 or 6 years ago are my training paces now.

                     

                    Good Luck

                      Personally, I can say that I have learned a lot about running here, but even moreso just by lacing up my shoes day after day.  I like what Slo_Hand said about setting a high bar, not always reaching it, but looking back and seeing how it continues to get higher.  That's progress!

                       

                      PS  You'll have to make your log public in order for others to see it.

                      2014 goals:   •  1st Marathon  •  1:32 Half (didn't happen this year)  •  2,500 miles

                        Okay, got in a couple runs since yesteday afternoon and feel a little better about where I'm at.  Maybe I just had a bad week last week, coupled with running 2 of my runs later in the morning in warmer temps and pretty direct sun last week that sure didn't help any.

                         

                        I got my heart rate monitor working again so I felt alot better about where I was at especially on my Tempo run this morning.  It let me know that I still had enough in the tank to push it in there at the end.  I really enjoy running with it and for now I think having it there telling me where I really am at helps a ton.

                         

                        Finished this mornings 7.93 mile tempo run smack dab on a 9:00 pace.  Avg heart rate was 167 or 84% of my max.  Did my usual where I fall into a rut out there in the middle of the run and my splits dropped down to 9:12, but had plenty in the tank to pick it up at the end and ran the last .93 mile in a 8:37 split.  Running in the morning in mid 40 degree temperatures almost feels like cheating though.  No problems at all with the sun stealing my strength or my core body temp rising too high and my heart having to beat like crazy to try to cool me off.

                         

                        I made my training log public if anyone wants to look at it.  I guess there isn't a magic bullet out there that will knock 30 seconds off my pace with 4 weeks to go before my race.  I'll try to get in that 5th workout the next couple weeks at an easy pace, maybe that will help a bit.  I just might be able to do this afterall.

                        Age: 46 Weight: 200 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

                        Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 43:59; 5K 21:27

                           

                          My wife seems to think I need to start adding in more pace runs and less easy runs, but I was trying to keep about 80% of my mileage in the aerobic zone and it seemed to be really working on knocking my pace down until I got sick.  Now with it warming up here in Texas I'm struggling with the heat and sun to keep my heart rate down.  Maybe I just had a bad week, I felt like I was getting back on track the week before with a good pace run and decent heart rate long run but then fell off this week.

                           

                          Thanks in advance for any thoughts or suggestions.

                           

                          Nathan

                           

                           

                          first off, a very big congrats on your progression & weight loss!!  you've already achieved alot & made great advancements.  

                           

                          secondly, with 2 wks to go before a 15k & then HM 2 weeks later, that advice from your wife is bad, very bad.  your wife probably gives the correct advice 99% of the time but not this time.   adding more harder runs will not help at this point but may actually hurt your goal race training-less rested, especially with the heat.  better advice IMHO would be to keep with current plan, do your 15k & then use the 2 wks before HM as recovery/taper for HM.  After HM, recovery (mostly easy stuff) for 2-3 wks & then begin a slow ramp upwards & after another 2-3 wks add 1 more wkly pace run.

                           

                          thirdly, I would also agree to other posts that running 5x/wk would be more beneficial than 3x as long as those extra 2 days are mostly easy. You've gotten some great responses so far on this thread!

                           

                          lastly, don't stress over not meeting your HM goal this time around!!!!  be in this for the long haul.  Set up another goal HM in Sept/Oct. & work towards that.   maybe throw in a couple of fun 5ks inbetween.

                           

                          Just my thoughts FWIW

                            Thanks, I'm feeling alot better about the possibility of making my goal after this mornings workout.

                             

                            I don't know why I've been focused so hard on the sub 2 hour HM but it has really been driving me the last few months.

                             

                            My real long term goal is simply to be in good shape for elk hunting, and eventually draw a mountain goat tag, and the fall is hunting season so fall races are probably out for me.  The hiking might be good cross training for late winter races though so I guess I can probably throw in another HM in December or January next year.   I'm not sure I'll be as focused on a goal pace then, I'll probably just run some 10:00 to 10:30 miles and maybe run a HM for fun here and there if one works into the schedule. I would like to be able to still hump the mountains when I'm 55 - 60 and I really think the only way for a flat lander to be able to do that is staying in shape and the best way to stay in shape seems to me to be running.

                             

                            I'll probably have to give in the the marathon bug and run at least one sometime in the next year or two, but the main focus on running is to be in shape for hunting, except for this darn sub 2 hour MH goal that is just hounding me right now.

                             

                            I'll ask for some more advice on my taper as I get closer but I think I have that decently planned right now on my training schedule, the other issue of starting out too fast on the race is something I hope I can deal with as that has sometimes been an issue with me even on training runs, but my initial plan is to start out at a 9:20 or even 9:30 pace for the first mile or two and then try to reel that in the rest of the race.  If I run the first mile in 9:00 or less it will be a mistake.

                             

                            Thanks again for the input.  I guess I'm outside of the norm in that I don't even know if I truly enjoy running yet, but I really do like being in shape and losing weight.  I'm starting to enjoy my easy runs and that's probably why I'm so gung ho on heart rate monitors because before I got one and dialed in my easy runs I really wasn't enjoying my runs.  Now that I can finish a run feeling refreshed and ready to go I actually don't mind them.  Of course I feel great today after my tempo run this morning too, but that is more a feeling of accomplishment since I made my pace.

                             

                            Thanks, Nathan

                            Age: 46 Weight: 200 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

                            Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 43:59; 5K 21:27


                            HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                              I'd agree that heat and sun can be pretty significant. I think I get more acclimated to them after more exposure, at least.

                               

                              A couple "tricks" I've learned in recent years are (a) dumping water over my head, (b) immersing my cap in water so it is wet for a while, and (c) putting ice under my cap (also to prolong the cooling effect).

                              It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

                                Thanks again for the input.  Got another run in last night and I feel like I'm pretty close to back on track.  Easy 8.02 miles at a 10:26 pace and 70% heart rate.

                                 

                                I went ahead and moved my training plan over to the Training Log setup if anyone wants to look at my last few weeks left and give me any input.

                                 

                                The biggest questions that I have is the week of the 16th, 2 weeks before the HM. 

                                 

                                I'll be running a 15K the saturday before and can't decide what I should do as far as my Tempo run that week.  I've got an 8 miler scheduled that Wednesday right now.  Should I back off of that or step it up?  That will be right at 10 days before the race and essentially should be my peak run.  Maybe make it a 10 mile increasing pace run instead of a Tempo run?  Go nuts and throw in a 12 mile increasing pace run?  Do I need to focus on that particular workout as my peak before starting to taper?

                                 

                                The other question is the Saturday before the race.  There is a nonprofit 5K that day that I have thought about running but don't want to push it by any means.  I thought about just doing it at a Tempo pace but not sure.  I probably should just skip it.  I originally had a 10 mile easy run on the schedule for that day.  Maybe that is too much all by itself, especially if I do a long hard run on Wednesday of that week?

                                 

                                The week of the race right now I'm only planning on 2 workouts.  Both easy and short.  Does that seem right?

                                 

                                Thanks in advance.  Nathan

                                Age: 46 Weight: 200 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

                                Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 43:59; 5K 21:27

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