Sub 2:00 Half Marathon thread (Read 2394 times)


    I am training for my first half and would love to finish under two hours. Race is on March 30th. I am in the building/increasing my base mileage phase. Ran a little over 30 miles last week. I follow HRR and most of my runs are in 70-80% HR zone.



      Hi all!  This is my first post on RA (coming from RWOL, too)  although I've had a log here for several years.  I'll introduce myself properly a little later but right now I'm going to try and post an RR from CIM:



      Short version:

      Chip Time:  4:00:29

      Weather:  Crapalicious

      Overall Rank:  2314 of 6496

      Class Rank 79 of 411

      Well, that was interesting.  I’ll start from the beginning.  Training cycle went very well using Pfitz 18/55 with added mileage (actually the final 12 weeks of the 18/55 but had maintained decent mileage in the 6 weeks leading up to that).  Missed a few speed workouts but most weeks were in the 60s with two at 70.   I also added a couple of throwaway weeks so that I could have a small taper before tune-up races.

      Pre Race:

      It was kind of drizzling when I got on the shuttle bus, which was pleasant, and I was hoping, along with everyone else, that the weather guys had gotten it wrong.  By the time the bus arrived at Folsom it was pouring down rain and you could see be the streetlights that it was coming down horizontally.   On the bus ride we saw a couple of lightning strikes.  Don’t tell me this thing is going to be cancelled at the starting line.   But if there’s lightning then it should be cancelled.  The scene was surreal.  People in trash bags everywhere.  In line at the portapotties, huddled next to a building hoping for a little protection.  The trash bags were being whipped around by the wind.  But we were all there to run the race so we just got on with doing whatever we do pre-race.  Fortunately, the people on the shuttle buses could stay on the buses until about 15 minutes before the start.   It wasn’t cold but the wind with the rain had me shivering and shaking while I waited for a portapotty.  I was freezing.  Decided to keep my beloved trash bag on for the start of the race. 

      The Race:

      Torrential rains with winds of 25 mph and gusts up to 40mph.  I think they got about a foot of rain during the race but I would have to check that.   I tried to line up with the 3:55 pacer but only managed to get near him.  And we’re off!  The first couple of miles were tricky with congestion.  Discarded trash bags were definitely a hazard.  I worked my way into the pace group but quickly decided it wasn’t for me.  It was a very tight group and a couple of times people would dart in front of me cutting me off.  There was really no space for this kind of maneuver so I had to stutter step to avoid tripping/stomping people.  To me this Is nerve-racking so I went off on my own thinking I would keep an eye on the group and possibly join back in once things thinned out a bit.  In hindsight, I probably would’ve been better off trying to stick with the group from the beginning.  I never saw them again. 

      The miles are a blur since I kept my head down against the wind and just tried to keep a decent pace.  I went into the race without a time goal as I had never run in these conditions before and didn’t know how it would affect me.  I rarely looked at my watch because it was depressing to see the pace.  I kept reminding myself that it’s all good.  The only disappointment I felt in this race came from mile one.  My legs were dead.  Completely dead.  I tried to convince myself that they weren’t warmed up yet but at mile three I had to accept the fact that my legs decided not to show up.   This is very hard to deal with at the beginning of a marathon.  I tried to stay positive telling myself I know I can run the distance so the legs will just have to get over it and run.  There were a couple of bad spots where the road was flooded and a river had formed.  People tried to go around.  I and another guy just charged right through it.  Hell, we were already wet to the bone what’s a little more water.  Luckily neither one of us found a pothole.  That would have been sad. 

      The miles go by.  There seem to be more uphills this year.  I try to maintain a decent pace at least through mile 14.  My longest pace training run was 14 so I tried to hit that distance even though I was running much slower than in my training run.  At one point I’m practically stopped in my tracks by a gust of wind.  It was so ridiculous that I started laughing.  Ok, bring it on!  I still can’t believe how many people showed up to cheer on the runners.  I was in awe and thanked each and every one of them from the heart. 

      At mile 20, aka. ‘the wall’, they had a timer.  Trying to do math and run at the same time don’t work for me but I somehow got it in my head that I might still have a chance to break the 4 hour mark.  I sped up.  I mean, what could I lose?  So I might blow up and finish in 4:15 instead of 4:05.  Who cares?  Usually I’m too scared to try and speed up this early but here I go.  Finally a sub-9 mile.  I start keeping track of the other runners and I’m passing everyone.   What do I see way ahead of me?  The red 4:00 pace group.  They’re so far ahead.  Just keep going.  I think in the final 10k I was passed by one woman and one man both of whom were obviously feeling very strong with a determined, solid pace.  I kept going.  I realized the rains had stopped.  The sun was trying to come out.  I finally tear of my trusty trash bag.  I rip off my gloves and throw them away.  I keep going.   Wait, I’ve almost reached the 4:00 pace group.  How did that happen?  I can catch that guy.  There’s only .1 to go but I can catch him.  I caught him just as the men and women split at the finish but I think he had stayed back with a slightly slower group while the other pace leader led the stronger runners in to meet their goal.  In the end, the final two miles were my fastest of the race at 8:30, I think.   I was so happy at the finish. 

      Dissection and recap:  I was extremely disappointed with my legs.  I was very surprised at how they felt after such a strong, for me, training cycle.    Having said that, I was extremely happy with how I handled the final 10k and, in particular, the final few miles.   I also think I should’ve stuck with the 3:55 pace group for as long as I could’ve for protection against the elements.  I don’t really know how much wind affects time and pace but I must’ve suffered somewhat from fighting the wind on my own.   And finally, I can’t believe I just ran that race.  It was EPIC!!  I call it a win.

      Thanks for reading.  It was a bit long.  I wrote it in Word so I don’t know how it’ll post but I’ll give it a try……

      10K: 47:12* / 13.1: 1:50:56 / 26.2: 3:53:48



        Great run Miele, especially considering the weather!  Wind does play a big factor in effort required, especially if it is a point to point race.


        SO close to 4:00!  Is this a PR for you?

        Age: 49 Weight: 202 Height: 6'3" (Goal weight 195)

        Current PR's:  Mara 3:14:36* (2017); HM 1:36:13 (2017); 10K 43:59 (2014); 5K 21:12 (2016)


          miele - I love the RR! I felt like I was there while I was reading it. Wind can have a huge affect on your pace - when I run one of my regular routes on a windy day, I can be between 30 sec. and a minute per mile slower into a head wind. I don't weigh much, so don't have a lot of wind resistance. Add rain and cold to that - holy crap! Excellent job and I'm drooling over your finish time.


          Nathan - Hi! Good to "see" you.


          Hector - I've confidence in you to break the 2 hour barrier! Just keep up your training (and hope for no torrential rain and hurricane-force wind on race day).


          Me - It was of those hurricane-force wind days here this morning, so I hit the treadmill for 5 HM pace miles. Got 10 in on Saturday and 7 Sunday.

          PR's: 5k - 23:33/ 10k - 48:30/ 5 mi. - 39:21/ 13.1 - 1:53/ 26.2 recent - 4:34


          Upcoming races: Resolution Run HM 1/1/13

                                      Phoenix R&R    HM 1/20/13

            Hi Miele,


            Amazing run considering the conditions. You should be proud. I think it is worth a 3:50 in normal weather.


            Done with marathons for a while now?

            Personal bests (bold = this year): 5K - 23:27 / 5M - 38:42 / 10K - 49:31 (track) / 10M - 1:24:26 / HM - 1:51:17 / M - 3:58:58

            Next races: NYC Marathon, Nov 2014 



              Hi everyone.  Ok, for a proper introduction.  My HM PR is 1:52:10 which I feel is a bit soft but since I haven't done anything to disprove that I might just be wrong.  I've been training for a marathon and my last HM was a tune-up race but next year  I'm planning on focusing more on the HM and 10k.  Useless facts about moi:

              I wear Kinvaras, preferably eye-searing orange, but have branched out and have had good luck with the Asics Blur 33s which led me to the Speedstars which are still shiny in their box.  

              I hate peas.  They're just nasty.  

              I just downloaded Gangnam Style.  Don't judge.

              I watch NCIS (both), The Good Wife, and The Mentalist among others.

              Not a beer drinker.  Prefer wine or cocktails.


              PineGrove & Hog-  Good luck Saturday!  Looking forward to the RRs!


              meaghan-  I remember you!  I like your analysis of the different plans.  Can you tell me what 'Lydiard' training means?  I've read that many times but just don't know what it means.


              doc- You know, I've never seen that movie.  


              jan- Between 30 seconds and a minute slower?  Wow, that kinda makes feel like I could hit my goal under better conditions.  I guess I don't weigh much, either, since people keep telling me I need to gain weight.  I was thrown around in the wind quite a lot.


              nathan-  Not a PR.  Two minutes slower than last year in the same race which is my PR and only sub-4.


              2ft-  Ok, Ok. Maybe this wasn't my last one.  I still want to see if I can do better off this training cycle.  10 minutes faster sounds like an awful lot but I'd be happy with 5 minutes faster.  


              hector-  Good to see you again!


              Greggy-  When is the Nashville HM?  Are you going to run the 1st Light in Mobile again?  What did you think of the course?  I'm considering it and would appreciate the input.


              marmot-  I checked your races and I would have to agree that your 10k is soft.


              Happy-  I'm going to check out the other thread......


              I'm not planning on running till Mon.  Feeling pretty good with only a little soreness in the quads still.  I think I will be gaining a little weight since I'm at my parents' and I've got a cheesecake in the fridge.....

              10K: 47:12* / 13.1: 1:50:56 / 26.2: 3:53:48




                miele - Cheesecake, did you say cheesecake? I'll be right over! Smart move taking the week off. I ran two days after my marathon in Oct. and it make my quads even more sore. I was helping my friend train for the NYC marathon that wasn't.


                2ft - Ok, game on! Now that I said that I have no confidence that I'll ever do better than the 1:53 I did this fall. Maybe during my next marathon training cycle...


                hector - Which half are you doing in March? Hopefully it's somewhere warm!


                Hog & PineGrove - You're both going to do great on Saturday. I hope the weather gods smile on you.


                Greggy - One of DH's co-workers ran the Nashville half last year (I think it was last year). He had good things to say about it.


                Happy - I browsed the thread you mentioned and there's some good stuff in there. I love, love running info.


                marmot - When was that 10k? (I just realized that I can't go backwards without losing what I just typed, so sorry if you said the date.)


                meaghan - I agree with miele on your analysis, great perspective. Just curious if you've looked at the Hansons plans much.


                docjen - Looks like I'm going to have to channel my inner docjen and do some treadmill mileage this weekend and the first part of next week. Our weather is going to get nasty. I still can't believe all those long marathon training runs you did on it - you're my hero.


                me - Had a beautiful 6 miler this morning. 48 degrees at 5 a.m., no wind! I'm hoping to get 10 miles done in the morning before the weather turns. That means getting up really early, but hey, I can always sleep at work.Wink

                PR's: 5k - 23:33/ 10k - 48:30/ 5 mi. - 39:21/ 13.1 - 1:53/ 26.2 recent - 4:34


                Upcoming races: Resolution Run HM 1/1/13

                                            Phoenix R&R    HM 1/20/13


                  Hi miele, good to see you over here!  Nice RR-- so close to 4:00! 


                  'Lydiard' training- To me that means high mileage throughout the training cycle (though not super-high; he recommends 9.5-10.5 hours/week which is ~50mpw @ 10mpm); mileage spread throughout the week rather than focused on one long run; a strongly periodized training cycle (base, hills, strength, sharpening).  The focus is very much on your aerobic system.  "Running to the top" by Keith Livingstone is a good book about the Lydiard principles.


                  Jan- I very much like the Hansons approach.  Have you read the book?  I am curious to try it but have to admit to being attached to my 20-mile long runs.  I understand the physiology of not needing a run that long, I just feel like I would get to the start line *feeling* unprepared, even if I was just as physically prepared.  Not to mention the longer runs during the week and shorter runs on weekends can be harder to work into a heavy work schedule.  I could see myself trying it in the future but don't think it's quite right for me now.  

                  Up next: Front Runners New York LGBT Pride 5-mile  06/28 |  NYRR Team Championships: Women (5M) 08/02

                  Goal race: NYCRUNS Haunted Island 10K 10/25


                    meaghan - I have read the book, and definitely agree with their philosophy. But, like you, I'm pretty tied to my 20 milers. During my marathon in Oct. I remember thinking when I hit the 10k mark that the rest was just a 20 mile training run. I think it would play with my mind to only go 16 miles.

                    PR's: 5k - 23:33/ 10k - 48:30/ 5 mi. - 39:21/ 13.1 - 1:53/ 26.2 recent - 4:34


                    Upcoming races: Resolution Run HM 1/1/13

                                                Phoenix R&R    HM 1/20/13

                      I'm going to do the Hanson plan for my first marathon.  I might cheat a little and throw in a peak 18 mile run for my mental approach, but I think I've finally convinced myself to otherwise just stick with the plan.  I'm curious to see how it will go, whatever I end up running it will be a PR anyway.


                      I have a 4 mile cross country race coming up on Saturday.  It will be the first anniversary of my first race since I got serious about training back in the summer of 2011.  Last year I ran this race in 37:04 for a 9:16 avg pace.  It is a fairly tough course with several hills and it's always different running on grass instead of a road or trail, so that's part of the reason for the slower time.  I also didn't pace myself very well and ended up with quite a bit left in the tank at the finish, but even if I had run a perfect race it would have probably been right around a 9:00 pace.


                      My "A" goal on the race this year is 30:00 for a 7:30 avg pace.  That would be 7 full minutes faster on a 4 mile course in one year.  1:45 faster on the avg pace.  My "C" goal would be probably 32:00 which would be an 8:00 pace and a full 5 minutes faster than last year.  Last year I finished with 265 miles on the year and was amazed at how many miles I'd logged and posted all over facebook and everywhere bragging on myself.  This year I'm already 1,000 miles over that number and will probably finish with 1,400+ miles on the year.


                      Oh well, I'm pretty amazed at how far I've come in the last year and hopefully I still have some improvement ahead of me.

                      Age: 49 Weight: 202 Height: 6'3" (Goal weight 195)

                      Current PR's:  Mara 3:14:36* (2017); HM 1:36:13 (2017); 10K 43:59 (2014); 5K 21:12 (2016)


                        I'll probably race a half sometime in 2013. I've never ran a race so no PR time, but I want to believe I'm capable of running around 1:50. I have no goals yet for next year, so I'm kind of running aimlessly, which is not unlike how I "trained" in 2012. I'm not very good at following schedules and training plans, so I subscribe to the "run lots, mostly easy, sometimes hard" motto that is popular in RA. I haven't been doing the "sometimes hard" part this year but am trying to change that.


                        Nice to meet you all!



                          jan-  Cheesecake is almost'd better hurry.  I keep meaning to ask you how your friend did in Vegas.  Is she the subject in your other thread, by chance?  Did you get up early and run your 10?


                          meaghan-  Thanks for the explanation.  I like that concept and perhaps that's why I'm curious about the Hansons' plan.  I'm following the other threads dedicated to the Hansons and one guy really gave a concise comparison between Pfitz and Hansons.  I think I saw you comment there along with Nathan.  Since I'm never running another marathon (except Mobile, of course) I won't be able to try the plan so I guess I'll have to follow Nathan's progress.  Unless you and jan change your minds so that I can live vicariously through you, too.


                          Nathan-  Do you have a 'B' goal?  I didn't see it.  I think you're going to do great.  You've made so much progress in only a year!  Is the course as difficult as your HM was?  If so, well, at least it's only 4 miles.


                          Wing-  You may not be following a plan but you've definitely got the right idea.  I don't think you can go wrong.


                          me-   It looks like I'll follow Hal Higdon's between marathon plans to get ready for this next race.  I still haven't signed up for it since I'm waiting to see how I feel when I start running again.  I did sign up for a 10k which I'll run with DH and BIL but that race is after the marathon.  I don't know why I can't get a picture to stick as my avatar.  I know you need to see my feet.  

                          10K: 47:12* / 13.1: 1:50:56 / 26.2: 3:53:48




                            miele - Is there any cheesecake left now? Not that I need to shove one more thing in my piehole right now. My friend did fantastic in Vegas, she set a 10 minute PR! She is the subject of my other thread. I'm happy for her, but her success in spite of "everything" makes me wonder if the rest of us are doing it wrong. Lol! Which Higdon plan are you following for the marathon you're not doing? I don't know why, but I never think of his plans when I'm shopping. Are you going to add miles to it? Seems like all the peeps who follow is plans always say they have to add miles.


                            nathan - Good luck tomorrow! You really have come a long way, so I'm thinking that the sky's the limit for you right now.


                            wing - I think you've got the right idea. When I set my half PR I hadn't done any speedwork in months, just lots of miles during marathon training, and they were mostly slow ones.


                            me - After our chilly, windy 10 miler yesterday morning, today was a cross training day. Did some kickboxing and core work. Unless the weather forecasters are wrong, me and my TM are in for some quality time together tomorrow. Ugh!

                            PR's: 5k - 23:33/ 10k - 48:30/ 5 mi. - 39:21/ 13.1 - 1:53/ 26.2 recent - 4:34


                            Upcoming races: Resolution Run HM 1/1/13

                                                        Phoenix R&R    HM 1/20/13

                              Hi All,


                              Week 3 of recovery almost over for me. Ran recvoery pace (HR137) 6 on Tuesday, 5 on Wednesday and today had the right to do general aerobic of 7m incl 8 x 100m strides (AHR144) It was nice to get a little faster, and strides were the cherry on the icing! Didn't make it to the gym this week, that will be for next week, although I did do some core-training at home in the basement.

                              There is a 10-mile race on Sunday I am tempted to do, as its the last rate of the season. Not sure if I will run full out, our gently with a bit of tempo. We'll see.... I haven't really done anything other than recovery for it seems like an eternity now, so probably no point going all out, just run the first half easy, and the end at tempo.

                              Just booked up a trip to Vegas for my wife to see Celine Dion in Jan (she is a big fan, but never seen her in concert) It is going to be a total surprise for her, she knows we are going somewhere, but doesn't know where or why. My elder daughter is in on this, but not the younger one, for whom it will be a surprise as well)

                              Personal bests (bold = this year): 5K - 23:27 / 5M - 38:42 / 10K - 49:31 (track) / 10M - 1:24:26 / HM - 1:51:17 / M - 3:58:58

                              Next races: NYC Marathon, Nov 2014 

                                Quick update.  Ended up running a 32:03 on my 4 mile cross country race this morning.  Not quite what I was hoping for, but still an improvement of over 5 minutes over the same race last year for me.  That's 1:15 per mile faster.  I got first in the fat boy division again.


                                Was going for a goal time of 30:00 which would be a 7:30 pace for 4 miles.  1st mile was a little fast, 7:20, feeling pretty decent, 2nd mile was 7:33, still feeling good, 3rd mile blew up to a 8:07, not sure what happened, there was a net elevation gain of 55' on that mile, I was racing against a guy in my age group and passed him in that mile actually, I think everyone else was slowing down so I just wasn't pushing hard enough.  Mile 4 was a 7:52 and then came in the last little bit at a 7:12.  My GPS logged it as 4.17 miles and I think the course is a little long, but even according to my GPS my pace was a 7:42 which was off my target.  Per the listed course distance of 4 miles my time gets me a 8:01 pace.


                                Course is somewhat tough, 388' of elevation gain over 4 miles would math out to over 1,200' of elevation gain on a Half Marathon so plenty of hills.  Always different running on grass and rocks and that adds a little time.  Weather was PERFECT though this morning.  46 degrees and 7 mph breeze.


                                Not sure if I ran as hard as I could have.  While I was out there it felt like I was giving it my full effort, but my heart rate never really showed that.  My lactate threshold is somewhere around 175 and I ended the race with an average HR of only 172 and only got it to 183 at the very end of the race when my max HR is 194 based on some of my races earlier this summer.  What I'm thinking is that I'm getting to where my cardio is actually better than my muscles and my legs are the limiting factor.  No idea if that is true or not, but that's what it feels like.  It also might be telling me that I'm a whimp and I could have pushed myself harder than I did.  The crazy thing is the last race that this happened on was my PR 5K where I ran a 22:39, but my HR never spiked at the finish and only topped out at about 183.  I think it was because I was too tired to push it in any faster.  Oh well, I'm sure as I race more I'll get more of that figured out.  When I was out there running it felt like I was giving it my best effort anyway.


                                Here's my splits with HR:  (183 = 94% of my max HR, 175 is 90% of my max HR)


                                Splits (GPS Interval)
                                 TypeDistance Split settingsDurationTotal DurationPaceAvg HRMax HRNotes
                                1 Manual 1 mi 7:18.68 7:18.68 7:19 166 177  
                                2 Manual 1 mi 7:33.28 14:51.96 7:34 173 179  
                                3 Manual 1 mi 8:07.37 22:59.33 8:08 176 183  
                                4 Manual 1 mi 7:50.62 30:49.95 7:51 177 183  
                                5 Manual 0.17 mi 1:13.05 32:03 7:10 180 183


                                I made the map public in my log if anyone want to check it out.  Looking at the elevation chart it does look like it was a little hilly.


                                Hope everyone has a great weekend!



                                Age: 49 Weight: 202 Height: 6'3" (Goal weight 195)

                                Current PR's:  Mara 3:14:36* (2017); HM 1:36:13 (2017); 10K 43:59 (2014); 5K 21:12 (2016)