Advice for 2nd half marathon (Read 618 times)

Butter Tart

    I am looking for advice regarding my half marathon, which isn't until late April, but I'm obsessing about it early...


    Sorry for not having my data imported into the log already, but here are some possibly relevant facts:

    • I have been running for 2 years 8 months.
    • I ran 1100 km in 2011 and have run 2055 so far in 2012.
    • First half marathon: May 2012. time 2:24 (I probably could have done better but was scared to push too much).
    • Other PRs: 5K: 25:58 (but I think the course was a bit short; previous PR 26:45), 10K: 55:58.
    • Average km/week over last 4 months: 54 km (=33.5 miles)
    • I don't feel I have much additional time to devote to running so don't want to massively increase mileage.
    • My long run is currently around 15-16 km.
    • My easy pace is usually around 7:00/km but could be anywhere in the 6:45-7:20 range. I usually run my long runs at around 7:30/km.

    My main questions:

    • My goal is to eventually run a 2:00-2:05 half marathon. Is this realistic to do in April or not? If not, what would be a realistic goal?
    • What kind of training would I need to do to get there? Is it impossible without increasing mileage? (I was considering doing the Ryan Hall half marathon plan from Runner's World, but they redid their website and now I can't find it.)


      I was looking for that same plan and saw it was gone (think they want you to buy there plan). There is a Ryan Hall plan from Nissan (the car company) you can google, not quite as specific as RW plan but still very good. I'm no expert but with your base of 33 a week you should be in pretty good shape, if it were me I would keep on base building and do some type of speed work once a week until its time to start plan. I just started last week of RH plan and have half next week so will see how I do.
      Butter Tart

        Muppy, I did find this, which was supposed to help you choose between the two versions of the plan, but it doesn't link to the right place anymore.


           Here's the archived version of the Ryan Hall plan courtesy of the internet wayback machine:






          The first link is to the plan, while the second is the pace chart.  The plan worked very well for me when I used it in late 2011/early 2012.

          Butter Tart

            Thank you so  much! I am going to save those to my computer so they don't get lost. Smile

              I think it's possible that you could hit 2-2:05 in April if you keep up your training and the course isn't excessively hilly and you pace yourself properly during the race.  But wait until you're closer to the race and see how you feel your training has progressed, etc before finalizing what your goal will be.


              I've been running for a little over two years, and it took me ~10 months to go from 2:15 (Dec 2011) to 1:58 (Oct 2012).  At the time I was running a 2:15 half, my 5K PR was ~26 min and 10K was ~56 min so it seems that you're probably in about the same place I was then speed-wise.  You run a little more weekly mileage than I do so that'll help you.


              The other thing that could trip you up is pacing strategy.  I run half marathons about once a month, so over time I've developed a pretty good feel for what it means to go out at a pace that I can hold for the whole race--in my earlier halves I used to always go out too fast and then I'd die later in the race, so if you haven't had as much practice with pacing yourself you could fall victim to that, and if you go out to fast and then blow up it's unlikely you'll get the time you want.  (I still go out too fast on occasion, but I've gotten much better!)

              Butter Tart

                Thanks Liz, that's very helpful.


                During a race I don't usually pace myself by feel -- instead, I figure out what pace I need to achieve my goal and then keep an eye on my Garmin to try to stay at that pace. This means that if my goal was too conservative I don't really give myself a chance to exceed it by much. But this means I never go out too fast and blow up.

                  That doesn't necessarily mean you won't go out too fast and blow up if you're aiming for a time that you're really not ready for yet and go out at a pace that you really can't hold for the whole distance.  You can always try going out somewhat conservatively to hit a time you're pretty confident you're capable of, then when you get to ~9-10 mi if you're still feeling good then try to pick up the pace a little bit.  Or you be more aggressive--at the end of July of this year I hit a new PR of 2:05:36 (previous PR was 2:08-something from February).  Had a couple great months of training where I increased my typical easy run mileage and found that my easy run pace had picked up a bit too, so in mid-Oct I had another half coming up and decided I wanted to try for sub-2.  I was willing to take the chance that I'd blow up later in the race, so I went out on pace for ~1:59 and was able to hold it and come in at 1:58:00, but it could have all gone south pretty easily!  


                  Sometimes you have to take a little bit of a chance, and as long as you won't be horribly disappointed if you miss your goal then go ahead and be a little aggressive.  But if you get de-motivated easily, then it might be better to be a little more conservative in your goals and work your time down more gradually.  Since I run halves so often, if I aim for a goal one month and miss it then I just try again the next month so it's no big deal, but if you only run a couple of them a year then you may enjoy it more to be a bit more conservative and go for a more certain PR each time even if it means taking a little longer to get to the 2:00-ish range.


                    You should definitely watch the pacing. I ran my 2nd half in September and I was in such good shape Roll eyes I blazed through the first six miles., setting a new 10K record for myself. Miles 7-10 got progressively worse and I had to run/walk mile 11-13.  I too am shooting for a 2:00 half in April. Your speed should put you in the ballpark as long as you get your mileage in.

                     - Morgan Edge


                    2013 Race Schedule 

                    Mar 30 - Half - Egg Shell Shuffle - Elk Grove Village PR: 2:00:45.3

                    Apr   7 - 8K - Shamrock Shuffle - Chicago PR: 42:17

                    Apr 27 - Half - Country Music Half - Nashville

                    May 11 - 5K - Trot for Theresa - Palatine

                    Sep 22 - 20M Fox Valley  - St. Charles

                    Oct 13 - Chicago Marathon