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

You Rang?

    I must admit that I found the Boston Marathon incident very disturbing.  I took it rather personally.  I lived in eastern Mass for 10 years, and after the incident, I got a great many texts and Facebook messages from friends asking if I was ok.  They thought I was running it.  Qualifying to run the Boston Marathon is a goal of mine.  When the bombs went off, it felt like somebody had attacked an aspirational institution that I hold quite dear.  I felt personally threatened.  I feel much better now that the nice folks who did this have been dealt with.


    As to the near term goal of going sub two, i've changed my training routine to focus on speed.  My old thinking was to run lots and lots and lots of miles (35 - 40+ a week) at a slow pace and one speed work session (3 mile at 8 mm) in hopes to build the endurance to run the half under two hours.  Now I'm running less miles (25 - 30/week) at targeted paces.  The plan is loaded onto my RA training calendar.  Not sure if it is viewable to the public.  If its not, then click here to see the 12 week version and rationale/methodology.  I've expanded it out to cover the 20 weeks to my goal half.  I'd appreciate any feedback y'all may provide.  




    PR: 5k 25:01 (10/15) 10k: 57:44 (7/14) HM: 1:57 (5/15) FM: 4:55 (1/15)


      Back with the RR!  Short version:  new PR, but no BQ. 3:50:37 was my official time.  5/47 for my division (F40-44), 42/314 for women, 163/685 overall.


      Long version:   I felt like time stretched and contracted this week.  After the Boston incident, the marathon seemed so far away and so inconsequential.  And I always feel crazy during taper, even without disasters.  You know you can't do anything further training wise, and you just have to wait until race day.  And then, suddenly, it was expo day!  I went to the elite athletes talk, and hearing about their training, their recovery, their lives got me really psyched to go.  It helps that Scott Jurek is super cute, not gonna lie ;

      Got up at 4:30 this morning, took some time in the bathroom (with good success!) and made my traditional pre-race peanut butter toast.  I layered up (it was 32F at the start, feels like 25F) and my friend picked me up and we headed to the race.  She was running the half, and said she'd be happy to bring my stuff to the finish line, so I didn't have to gear check.  We hit the port-a-potties one more time, and I walked her to the 2 hour half pacer (her PR was 2:08+, and she was really hoping to break 2 today) and said goodbye.  Another friend was lined up with the 3:50 pacer, so I waited for the race to start with her.  There was a moment of silence for Boston and balloons released for the victims (which got me all choked up) and then the national anthem (which, being a music snob definitely broke the Boston mood since the lady changed keys like 3 times during it!)  And suddenly, we were walking to the start and we were off!

      I passed the 3:50 pacer in the first few yards, and was quickly up with the 3:40 pacer, who was taking it out slow.  They were, in fact, taking it out so slow that I ended up passing them, too.  Around 1/2 mile, I ran into the Garmin guy I met at that 20 mile trail race (the one with the physics joke) and re-introduced myself.  We ran together until the half and the full split at 3.5 miles.  I was feeling good and the pace felt easy - and since I was chatting away, I thought I was taking it easy enough.  Mile 1, 2, 3 - 8:51, 8:25, 8:17 (eek!)


      At mile 3.5, the half split off from the full and we wished each other luck and went our separate ways.  The next couple miles were residential, with some decent crowds.  I hit every aid station, and took my first gel at around mile 5.  I am feeling good still, running easy.  Tried to keep up a running inventory and check in with every body system every so often, and I was honestly still feeling good.  There was a great sign at mile 5:  "You're NOT almost there.  21 miles to go"  And another one just before mile 7 "It's not all downhill from here, but it'll be ok!!"  Miles 4,5,6,7  - 8:30, 8:20, 8:26, 8:27


      At the mile 7 marker, we turned to the right, and suddenly the course was featuring my favorite combination: hills, and a headwind.  Blech.  The next few miles were a bunch of rollers, mostly into the wind.  I still don't feel so bad, although a couple of the hills made me feel a little strain towards the top - especially during mile 10.  Sometime during mile 10, the 3:40 group finally caught me.  One of the 3:40 pacers was really friendly- and loud!  She was wearing giraffe ears, horns, skirt and tail.  I knew it was not a good sign that the 3:40 group took this long to catch me, but I loved hearing her yell encouragement at the group.  During mile 11, she actually ran back a ways to see if she could pick up some stragglers from her group, and on her way back she pulled alongside and chatted with me.  She asked my name and my goal, and told me she was on pace and I was moving too fast (duh.)  But she also said I looked great and to keep trucking!  I'd heard her yell "Almost there!" a while back, so I told her I had to ask "What was that almost there about?  Almost where?  That was mile 10!" and she laughed and said "I get carried away!! This is so much fun!!"  Mile 11 chatting with her ended up being my fastest mile of the whole darn thing.  Miles 8,9,10,11 - 8:27, 8:34, 8:50, and 7:57 (double eek!)


      The next few miles still feature rolling hills.  At some point, the sun comes out (it had been partly cloudy) and I'm feeling comfortable temperature wise (I ran in shorts, a tech T, arm  warmers, gloves and hat.)  We hit the half marathon during a long climb up a train overpass, which was no fun.  After the half, I can tell I'm starting to grind.  I figure that's too early to feel like I'm working, but I can't exactly take back those fast early miles.  For some reason during mile 15 I catch a little second wind, and it ends up being the second fastest mile of the race.   I take gel #3 shortly after mile 15.  Miles 12,13,14,15 - 8:30, 8:48, 8:26, 8:13.


      At this point, I'm definitely working.  We turn off the roads and onto a paved trail.  There are some tight turns getting down onto the trail, which I don't enjoy.  I briefly remember my first marathon, where miles 16-20 were just awful with leg cramps and despair.  Do another body inventory and decide I'm still ok.  Nothing hurts, exactly, I'm just tired and working hard.  This long trail section is at first really nice - trees and grass.  And then it starts to feel lonely and empty.  This part is out and back, and I am relieved when we start passing the leaders coming the other way.  For a while, this really picks me up - it's great to see people running fast so comfortably!  At 19.5, there is a u-turn on the narrow trail and we start back the other way.  The u-turn is awful - one's legs do not want to turn like that this far into a marathon!  Although I slowed some during mile 18, and more during 19, it's this u-turn during 20 that makes me realize it's not gonna happen, and the long slow fade kicks in.  I don't look at my time again until the end.  Miles 16,17,18,19,20 - 8:27, 8:30, 8:41, 8:56, 8:59.


      Not gonna lie, the next few miles hurt.  I let myself walk at the aid station during mile 21 and suck down my last gel.  I manage to get it going again.  My inner dialogue becomes progressively more profane.  After a while, all I can think about is getting off this trail (which is really a nice trail, but it's just seeming endless.)  For a few miles, I alternate between repeating in my head that marathons are effing stupid, alternating with I get to stop soon, and I don't have to run tomorrow.  I don't really blow up, I just settle into my usual easy pace and there is no pick up in the legs.  I can feel every fiber of my IT bands, although they don't really hurt.  Cardiovascularly I'm fine, but my legs can't go any faster. There's one bright spot during mile 24, when my friend Gay who paced the 2:45 half comes running back up the course looking for our friend who'd lined up at 3:50.  I find out later when Gay got to the 4 hour group (our friend having struggled) one of the pacers had to bow out, so she grabbed his stick and turned around and paced them in, then went back for our other friend!   Finally, we turn off the path and onto the road again (up a hill, of course.)  I miss mile marker 24 somehow, so have a 2-mile split here.  Miles 21, 22, 23, 24-25 - 9:42, 9:40, 9:19, 19:28.


      I feel like mile 26 takes forever.  We turn off the road and run through a big school parking lot, around the bend and through Garmin's parking lot.  The wind has picked up a bit, and even though I can hear the crowd at the finish, this part is pretty empty.  Finally, I turn the last turn and can see the finish with 0.2 to go.  I try to pick up the pace, but it's not really happening, so I try to at least not look like I want to die!  The clock is ticking in the high 3:50:range, and just passes 3:51 as I cross.  Mile 26 - 9:35, and not quite sure what the last little bit was.  Official time is 3:50:37.


      My friend is at the finish line with my bag.  She yells me through the finish line and then catches up to me.  I tell her what I've been thinking for miles "Marathons are effing stupid" and she laughs.  The finish line volunteers are great.  I just don't want to move and am walking like 0.1 mph through the finish area.  One runs me over a bottle of water, and another a mylar blanket and wraps me up.  The race had chips that had to be returned, and the folks cutting them off are sitting on the ground so no one has to pick up a foot.  Another person brings me a medal - which is super cool - the Tin Man!


      Whew.  That was something.  I finally get the presence of mind to see how my friend did.  She killed it!  1:56:39 for the half - a 12 minute PR!  She helps me to the port-a-potty and change into warm, dry clothes.  It's still in the 40s and the wind has picked up.  We head back and eat a banana and some yummy Noodles & company pasta.  We catch up with all our friends, and everyone is feeling pretty good about the race - including me by this time!  Almost a 3 minute PR, and realistically, I don't think 3:45 is in the cards just yet, even with better pacing.  Not too thrilled with the giant positive split, but at least I kept moving!


      At noon, the 3 women who were stopped on the Boston course with 0.7 miles to go were taken out to 25.5 and ran it in to the finish, followed by an honor guard of dozens of runners who ran Boston all wearing their Boston gear.  The Boston marathon had express shipped their finishers medals, and they received their medals, and Boston mylar blankets, and flowers.  They'd all been at the expo yesterday collecting money for the One Fund Boston charity.  It was very moving.  We all know in the scheme of things that finishing a race after such a tragedy doesn't fix anything, but somehow it made me feel better, like at least a little part of the universe was re-aligned.


      Thanks guys, if you made it this far!  I so appreciate all of your camaraderie and hearing about your training and races.  Now, who's up next?

        Great job docjen.  My wife keeps telling me that just finishing a marathon is something to be proud of no matter what the time, and 3:50:37 is a pretty darn good time in my book.  I would be perfectly happy with that time for mine in a couple weeks!


        Very neat with the Boston non-finishers getting to finish their race there and getting their finisher medals too boot.

        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)

          docjen-way to go and a PR! 3:50 is an awesome time. Where was the race? And, yes, I read your RR. Loved it.


          lurch-speed is the key to a sub 2 HM. Huge mileage is not always the answer. Example, I regularly run only 15-25 miles per week, even on my long run weeks for training. But I always throw in speed work. I went from my first HM at 2:04 (in 2011) to a current PR of 1:44 (2012), so it can be done. Plus I cross train. I am a fan of low-mileage, and speed-work.


          me-in taper mode, ran a nice, race-pace 9k. Using my Timex watch (no GPS!!), I had splits of 21:35 and 21:35. So happy that I kept pace consistent each way. A few more runs this week, and a heart-stress test on Wednesday, and I am ready for my 4th HM. Yay...


          5K/22:33   10K/47:52   21.1K/1:44:06  42.2K/4:07:37
          2014 Goals: 5K<22:00 10K<45:00 HM<1:40  FM<3:45



            docjen-  Congratulations!  Great RR, too.  I'm in a rush right now but will be back later.....Just wanted to say Good Job!!!

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



              congrats Docjen, that was impressive!!  Motivated me for sure. I really liked what the organizers did at the end for the Boston non-finishers...Thats AWESOME !!


              Lurch,   Watch this video when you get the time, It is an interview with luke humphries and he is explaining the strengths and weaknesses of the traditional 20 mile training plan and other long plodding run programs.  He goes into EXTREME detail of the hanson brooks program which is what you are kind of doing now. Less long runs but more intense and high energy workouts.  Check it out for sure!



              Me today,,, ran a 8.6 miler.  It was maybe 70 degrees but felt hot and I felt like I was so slow and no energy.  I kept hitting my pace marks but just felt like running through mud.  I beat my old PR for this distance by 2 mins and I was surprised because I just felt weak.  Ran a 7.49 pace today vs. 8.05 pace 3 weeks ago.  My half marathon last week was a 7.47 pace so I am feeling good at this speed.  I hope to stay healthy and keep getting stronger Smile

                5k  = 19.48 10/1/13

              10k  = 45.28 4/16/13

              Half Marathon = 1:38.53  Summer Sizzle 7/13/14

              Operation Jack Marathon 12/26/12  4:39.11

              Solo O Marathon 06/02/13  3:52:10

              Operation Jack Marathon 12/26/13 3:40.34


                docjen - Congratulations!! Loved reading your RR. I was especially laughing about the loud pacer. I can only hope my pacer ends up keeping me that entertained. Sounds like you ran an awesome race, and I bet you BQ next time.


                stever - I'm interested to hear more about your training plan...thinking about what I will do differently next time to hopefully avoid injury.


                Me - Shin is feeling better today. I spent 45 minutes running in the pool this morning and then did some swimming too. Felt like the first decent workout I've had - somehow the bike just doesn't do it for me.

                You Rang?

                  docjen - loved the report, especially the part about the folks getting their Boston finisher's medals.


                  Wolfwalker - thanks for the link.  its a 55:00 minute video, I'll watch it after the kid goes to bed.


                  me - I pounded down six miles outside on Saturday and nine miles on the treadmill today.  My wife is working this weekend, (she audits movie theaters and is working the new Tom Cruise movie) so I've got kid duty.  That means treadmill time. I ran 3 miles at a 10:00 mm, 3 miles at a 9:30 mm, and then 3 miles at a 10:00 mm pace.


                  ETA - I'm down another 2 lbs.


                  PR: 5k 25:01 (10/15) 10k: 57:44 (7/14) HM: 1:57 (5/15) FM: 4:55 (1/15)


                    docjen - Huge congrats!!! A new PR, and a great finish to a tough race. What happened with the Boston runners gave me goosebumps - how very cool. You rocked!!

                    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

                      docjen- Congrats to you!  Marathons are effing stupid, but they're also an accomplishment!

                        Lurch, just don't forget the easy days and plenty of time between difficult workouts.


                        The Hansons Plan limits it to 3 harder workouts every 10 days.  Their plan actually has plenty of mileage, just not the one long run to wear you down.


                        I think for 90% of us (myself included), just running 100% easy miles would get us pretty close to where we want to be, it would just be boring and it seems much more like we are accomplishing something if we are following a plan with some faster runs in there.

                        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)


                          Wolfwalker23 – you had great run. 8 miles under 8 is quick. And then quickest 8.6 miles. Great job!


                          Zelanie – good call in taking it easy. You just ran your first half and you ran it hard. Take your time to recover.


                          Doctorjen – it is cool that your friend is a pacer. I would like to be pacer one day. Great job in getting a PR and running marathon in 3:50:37. Congratulations! 5th in your age group is very impressive. It was cool that you had a couple of friends running in the same event. Loved reading your race report.


                          Miele – good tempo run!


                          Pcaharrier – congratulations in setting personal best and running 47 miles in five days!


                          Bluerun – have fun on your vacation. I am curious to see how many miles are you going to put on during this vacation.


                          EdithRevisited – hows the weather there?


                          Gosling – sorry to hear that you are still not feeling well. Good job in listening to your body and adjusted your goal. It is better to be safe than to get injured and miss few months. It is nice to see that you are still working out and keeping your heart in good condition for the race.


                          Lurch – it is aggressive that you are running 25-30 miles/week at your target pace. I am in the club of no more than one to two hard work-outs a week. But we all are different and if this is working for your than why not.


                          Me – my father-in-law registered us for the race. 4 of us are running on May 19th. Wife and her dad would run 10k & I and brother-in-law would run the half. Father-in-law ran his first 10k with my wife three weeks ago. He did not care about the pace as he ran the entire race with my wife. After the race, he saw that he finished 3rd in his age group and realized that he was only 5 minutes behind from the leader in his age group and he wants to run second 10k as he believes he can be 1st in his age group. He was All American when he was playing high school football and is very competitive. Yesterday wife was cleaning our place and came across few news paper articles from early 60s mentioning my father-in-law in the context of high school football and it was cool to see that. His knee is bothering him on and off during his entire training. I hope his knee is fine for rest of the month and he can finish his race well. My brother-in-law finishes most of his halves around 1:31-1:32 and I am not sure what is he targeting for this race. This is flatter course than the one we ran three weeks ago and I am hoping to run faster than my last race.


                          On Saturday we decided to run on the 10k race course. We started at noon at wife got tired and started walking during the 4th mile. Of course temperature was in 80s and it was awful. My goal was to run for a couple of hours, but was not feeling well and stopped after 7 miles. Last week was the good week overall as I ran the most mileages for the week in last 7 weeks – ran for 30s miles for the week.

                          You Rang?

                            npaden & hectortrojan - I think I was a bit unclear in my earlier statement.  I am running 25 to 30 miles at targeted or proscribed paces.  They are not all at Half Marathon Pace.  This plan has two or three hard workouts a week (weekly interval and tempo workouts, and a 5k race simulation every other week) and of those hard workouts only 7 to 10 of the 25 to 30 miles are at HMP or better.  What I found refreshing is that this plan also says what the pace of the easy run should be, and as the plan progresses, the easy runs get margianally faster.  The tempo runs also get longer as race day approaches.


                            My old plan was to run more eay miles (35 to 42) with only one 3 mile speed session and hope for the best on race day.  While my old plan probably would have worked, I like the rationale behind the Hansen plan better.  It does not require as much faith, magic and pixie dust  as the old plan.


                            Wolfwalker23 - I watched the video last night.  That was very intereting.  Thanks.  Its nice to have a name and a face to the technique.  I put Luke's book in my amazon shopping basket.  As soon as some money shows up (I'm self employed!) I'll order it and read.


                            PR: 5k 25:01 (10/15) 10k: 57:44 (7/14) HM: 1:57 (5/15) FM: 4:55 (1/15)


                            If you ask

                              Lurch - congratulations on another 2 pounds.  Your change of thought/training sounds good to me. I think that once a runner hits comfortable pace, the accumulation of miles isn't as effective as pushing the pace.  I usually do a LSR, a tempo run (with my brother who is faster than me so pushes the pace), a trail run for endurance and hill work, a progressive run alone, and another run or two at a comfy, conversation pace with friends.  Good luck on your continuing journey.  I know we will hear great things.


                              Hector - the weather is nice here, if a bit muggy.  I think it's great that your father-in-law wants to race.  He should do very well, with his competitive spirit!    When it is hot here, in the summer, I try to avoid running between 10am and 3 pm, which tends to be the hottest part of the day.  At noon the sun is right above us so it is no surprise that you all struggled.  Be careful in the heat.


                              Paden -  I agree with what you said.  I also think that pushing the pace and being uncomfortable is a great mental workout as well.  It sure helps to push through a tough time at a race.


                              Gosling - continuing to pray for your shins.


                              Docjen - you are AMAZING!!!!   What an awesome RR and the great details.  When my brother finished our most recent marathon he said, "I'm never doing this again." The next day he called to tell me his time goal for this November's marathon.  Hee hee.  I know that you will BQ some day.  You have such determination!   I'm not sure if I'm up next but my marathon is May 26. Hoping for a measly 4:20ish. Undecided


                              Me - well I did get to run 10 miles on Saturday morning but must say that all of the moving/unpacking work took a toll on my legs. I mapped a

                              7 mile path, with the hope of adding miles after the loop but I missed a turn, and when I asked a gentleman for directions it seemed I had missed my turn by over a mile!  Saw a dead snake, many cool birds, lots of (older) folks out for walks, but I could count on my one hand how many runners I saw.  It was very humid, temperature was in the 80s... my latest run before that the temp was in the 50s.  I felt like an elite runner who travels to a place to run like the conditions of the next marathon, haha.  Today I ran the loop (7.25 miles) and felt more comfortable in the humid air.    Heading out for authentic Mexican food tonight, then a visit to the Everglades tomorrow.

                              • Charlie Horse Half Marathon - May 25
                              • PA Grand Canyon Marathon - July 27
                              • Labor Pain 12 Hour Endurance - August 31 (50k...or more!)



                                Lurch - It sounds like you and I are thinking the same about training faster instead of longer right now. How many runs do you do per week to make up the 25-30 miles? Right now I'm running every other day and loving it. My legs are much fresher and I can hit the targeted paces much easier. I'll click into your plan after I finish up here and check it out. Congrats on another 2 lbs!


                                docjen - Fantastic RR! Your time is one that I can only drool over, and I know you'll be getting that BQ very soon.


                                miele - Have you been able to figure out why your legs have felt so fatigued? I hope they don't bother you in your next race. As far as the rant - rant on, my friend. You said what I was thinking!


                                stever - Good luck with the stress test. I'm drooling over your half time too! 1:44?!? I was happy to hit 1:53. It's good to hear that low mileage, cross training and speed work are working for you. I'm jumping on that bus and hope to see a PR in my next half.


                                wolf - Nice run! Maybe it was the 70 degree temp that made you feel sluggish. Evidently your legs didn't get the memo that they didn't feel good. Smile


                                gosling - I'm so glad you're seeing some improvement in how your shins feel. Hopefully the rest and cross training has done the trick.


                                Nathan - Have you used the Hanson plan previously or is this your first time?


                                hector - It's so cool that your FIL is into racing! What's your goal for the half?


                                Zelanie - Hi! When/what is your next race?


                                Edith - You can count moving and unpacking as cross training! Nice job getting the 10 miler done. Temps that high are definitely going to affect your run, although I'd gladly trade our 30s for 80s right now


                                me - We spent the weekend in Grand Junction, CO and the weather was amazing. 60s, sunny, hardly any wind. So different from this hole that I live in! DH and I got out for a couple of runs before my son's matches. Right now I'm loving the shorter but faster runs. We have a 5 mile "race" on Sunday, but considering we haven't done any concentrated training for it, it'll probably just be a quick-paced run rather than an all-out race. My son finished his college tennis career this weekend, so it was sort of sad but not too much. I know he's happy to be done. Only a month and he graduates from college. I sure am glad I had my kids when I was 10, since they're getting older but I'm only 29! Wink Like I mentioned to stever and lurch, my training plan for the summer is going to be quality over quantity. I really think I'm going to follow the RLRF plan for my half in July. After the weather gets nicer I'll probably run 4 days a week instead of the 3 that the plan calls for, but otherwise I'm going to try and follow a plane exactly as written for once.

                                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