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

    Thanks for the warm welcome everyone - I am trying to read the past fews weeks of posts to try and catch up  - Everyone seems to be making such great strides and kicking butt on so many goals !


    I'm a 44 year old mom who used to run in college - but have taken a long hiatus - Jumped back into training 5 months ago - and the 10K I ran was the first time I had raced in 15 years.  Never ran a half - so I am a bit nervous - but glad to be back at it.


    Quick question - do you fuel (Gu etc....) when you run a half.  I have heard so many conflicting opinions - and would love to hear what works for you - I have a hard time eating before a race - and during just seems impossible.


    What has worked for you all in the past?



    Ready, go.


      I'm not an expert, and I think it is going to depend on the individual to some extent, but doing the math, the average person should not need to fuel during a half marathon.


      If you are worried about bonking, a couple of swigs of sports drink during the race should easily get you there from a mathematical perspective.


      Mentally, some people feel more confident taking GU and stuff like that during shorter races.  The only time I've used them in shorter races is when I was practicing for my marathon to make sure I could handle taking them at race pace.

      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)

        Hi folks,


        I'm new to the thread -- been running for a little over a year, and hoping to hit my sub-2:00 at the Navy-Air Force in DC in September.  My current PR is 2:12, so I've got some work to do!


        You all seem to be knocking the sub-2:00 goal out of the park, so I've got good sources of inspiration!


        TaraC - for what it's worth, my training partners and I all have to fuel during HMs (one of my partners has already hit her sub-2:00 goal, 2 weeks before she ran the MCM).  All three of us seem to have settled in around 2 gels (usually miles 5 and 10) for a race.  I like 2nd Surge chocolate.  It's relatively thin as gels go (I couldn't stomach the thicker ones at all), and works well for me.


        I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's advice and success stories!


        Super B****

          Do I need to fuel during a half marathon?  No, probably not; but I do, and even if it's just psychological, I do think it helps.  I can't eat anything for at least three hours before a race, and it's a miracle that I've found a gel I can stomach... but I did (Hammer gel).  I take one at mile 5 and 10, and in my last half I took one a few minutes before the start because it was suggested in Matt Fitzgerald's latest book, so I figured I'd try it.  I don't know if it HELPED, but I did PR so it certainly didn't harm me any.

          chasing 5:59


          because i never shut up ... i blog



            Wolf-  I know what you mean about your gait changing when you slow down.  It takes some getting used to so you don't mess up your form and cause some problem you could've avoided.  But if your marathon pace is 8:00mm then you don't need to run slower than 9:00mm.  That would be the faster end of the standard 1-2 minutes slower than MP.  So glad you managed to avoid getting killed!  I see drivers running red lights, texting, talking on the phone and just generally not paying attention all the time.  They scare me.  I don't trust them.


            hector-  I don't blame you for avoiding the road biking.  I know three cyclists who've been seriously injured.  And I think I know a total of 5 cyclists so the odds aren't good at all.


            Tara-  If that was your first race after such a long hiatus then I can only imagine the improvements you'll make.  Sub-40 10k?  I take 2 GUs during a HM.  Like blue, I take them at miles 5 and 10.   Quite possibly it's a psychological thing but I figure it doesn't hurt and it might help.  I take the GU vanilla which I find goes down pretty easily and I don't need much water.  Gatorade might be the way to go for you since gels might upset your stomach.   You have a little time to experiment before your race so give it a try.


            cjw-  Welcome!  So how's your training going?  Are you following a plan?


            blue-  I'm going to start taking a gel right before the start, too.  I did it once a long time ago and I guess I just forgot about doing it again.


            me-  Second day of no running.  Got caught up in other things today and now, well, now it's just not going to happen.  I'm drinking wine instead.

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



              Wow, I would have never thought so many people took GU during a half marathon.


              In my Hansons book they do the math as follows:


              For a 132lb female runner.  (Not saying any of you guys are 132 lbs, that was just a nice easy number in the chart).


              132lb divided by 2.2 kg/lb = 60 kg.  21.0975 (13.1 miles in Ks) X 60 kg = 1,265.85 calories burned.


              When you are running you are burning calories, but depending on how fast you are running you are burning fat and sugar in a mixture.  At half marathon pace you should average between 70 and 80% of VO2 max which says you would burn between 65% and 75% of your calories from sugar vs. fat.  At 75% that would be 950 calories needed from sugar, at 65% that would be 823 calories needed from sugar.


              Per a table in their book a 132lb woman should have 12kg of leg muscle mass and that would store 960 calories.


              So if you average 80% of VO2 max you would actually be pretty close to needing some extra calories, if you average 70% of VO2 max you should be fine.


              Everything above is assuming you are average though.  If you are more or less efficient at converting fat into calories it could be a pretty fine line.  I would think you could get enough to get you through with just sports drink every other aid station, that would be 4 oz at 25 calories each time and if you drank 4 to 6 cups that would get you 100 - 150 calories.


              I guess it doesn't hurt to take GU regardless of whether you really need it or not I guess.


              At my current weight of 200lbs I burned just under 4,200 calories during my marathon.  Doing the math I was going to be 600 calories short and I took 5 GUs (500 calories) and drank about 4 cups of Gatorade (100 calories) and that got me through without hitting the wall.  The math seemed to work for 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)

                miele- Thanks for the welcome!  Training is a bit rough at the moment -- I guess 2 HMs inside of 9 weeks was overly ambitious for someone who's still in the novice stage.  It doesn't help that I overloaded my calendar for the end of May, either.  This one has turned into a "you signed up for it, just finish it!" race.  I'll be back on track for a burnout-free training session for my goal race in September.  I've been using modified Hal Higdon plans.  My first one was 16 weeks, March was 10 and this one was 8.  I like the routine, but I definitely need to push harder for speed!


                npaden- My running partners would be considered average for your calculations, so I guess it's different (and possibly psychological/preference) for each person.  I'm Type I diabetic, so I'm kind of a special case.  I have to regulate glucose at all times, otherwise I'll bonk and need emergency care!


                If you ask

                  Miele - I guess I'm tapering...  I think the plan is for 15 miles this weekend and then 8 next weekend.  Then marathon.  Funny that you didn't run and instead drank wine.   I need to incorporate some of your methods!  Of course, the rest days will only help, I'm sure.  I think my trail running helped me running the gravel surface, as I heard many road runners mention that the gravel was a challenge and were not expecting to PR at this race.  I didn't even notice....


                  Blue - my quads were sore after this race and my Chiro has said that I don't engage my glutes enough.  Sigh.  The running store near me is offering an alterG TM that one can utilize...I'm wondering if I should try to use it for some speed work to avoid injury?  I'm not sure of the cost yet, so that would certainly be a factor.  I've never had a sports massage either, but may ask for one soon.


                  Tara - welcome to da club!  As for fueling for a half, I only use one Gu at about mile 7 or 8.  And it is only to help avoid feeling like I need it.  My coaching friend once told me that one never wants to get to a point where one feels the need, as then it is too late.  Also, I feel that having the Gu is a mental refresher, for some a treat during the race.


                  gosling - this PR certainly is giving me a boost for the marathon; I (almost) can't wait to get there!


                  Hector -  how are you feeling?  Are you still tired??  Take care, friend, to not overdo it.  I would love to get into road biking but won't even consider while living where I do now.  Maybe someday when I move to a more rural area.  Drivers here are often distracted and I try to plan most of my running routes where I can stay on a sidewalk.


                  Wolfwalker -  my legs actually are more sore after running with a slow friend then the same distance of tempo running!  I am always hyper aware when running on the roads as I've had a few close misses.  If I hadn't been paying attention, it would not have been good for me.


                  paden - I agree with what you said about fueling for a race, and I honestly think that my one Gu during a half is mostly a mental boost.  I really enjoyed reading your RR, with your mile paces, and especially the post race eating!  How I wish I could eat after a race!  The pics were great as well.


                  Cjw - welcome!  Have you run any shorter distance races?  That helps determine where you are for your half time goal.


                  Me - ran 6.2 miles yesterday with my brother.  My legs still felt a little tired so we decided to take it easy. I was quite surprised to see that I was running about an 8:45 m/m pace and felt good.  Before, I would say that my easy pace would have been closer to a 9:30 m/m.  I wonder what would happen if I actually kept track of my paces and did some accurate training????  Not sure I'm the type to be so regimented so it may just be a dream.... But I am considering for my fall marathon.

                  Btw, I'm not sure if I want to carry water for the marathon.... I prefer to not carry but know it will be necessary if the temps are high.   Would love to hear your thoughts on the pros and cons.


                  Happy BBQ month and happy running!

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


                    Edith- Not really.  I did a half-hearted 5K during training for my first HM, and that's the only shorter race I've done.  At that time my 3-4 mile training runs were between 8:45 and 9:00 m/m, but with a brutal cold/sinus thing on race day I came in at 9:30 m/m.  I totally whiffed the first HM at 2:18, so there was a serious disconnect between training runs and race pace.  Good luck with the marathon training!


                    Super B****

                      miele -- well, I guess wine is almost as good as running... I may have to go that route too, since this whole "recovery" thing is starting to get on my nerves!  I'll be good, but I WANT TO RUN.


                      npaden -- I don't remember the exact calculations in Fitzgerald's book, but I think he did say that if you're going to finish a half in under two hours, it wasn't really as much of an issue.  Still, if I know it will make it easier for me -- even if it's only mental -- why not do it?


                      Edith -- my quads felt fine after this race, after Jerusalem they felt completely TRASHED... but then, Jerusalem was hilly, this was flat.  AlterG sessions can be really expensive... that's how I ended up with my current PT, if you're a client at the clinic you get to use their AlterG for free.  SO glad that happened, because it was only after I switched to them that I really started to make strides in improving my running.  No pun intended!  As for carrying water in a marathon, it would depend on how frequently there are aid stations.  If they have one at every mile, I wouldn't bother with my own, because I'd know that it would be available to me pretty much whenever I needed it, so why add the extra weight?

                      chasing 5:59


                      because i never shut up ... i blog

                        Edith - On my marathon run I chose to carry my own fluids as I didn't know which drink they would have and didn't want to be surprised with some weird flavor or offbrand sportsdrink. They were talking about "gu brew" but I think they chose gatorade at the end. Anyways  I carried water and powerade in my backpack.  It sucked carrying the extra weight but it was nice drinking when I WANTED to, and drinking WHAT I wanted to.  I grabbed a couple extra bottles from my supporters at the half mara point and was fine until the end of the race.  The only drawback I have to the idea is that when you carry your own water, you might be prone to overdrinking.  It happened to me for sure, sloshy belly, not enough salt content etc..  So if you carry your own, calculate the right amount and be firm with the amounts.

                          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

                          npaden - I am a numbers geek - so appreciate the calculations - I will have to pick up that book for reference.  I have a hard time drinking anything at all when I run - even water - so I will experiment a bit - but so far don't have anyplans to try a GU during the race.


                          bluerun and cjw - some of the women I run with fuel at 5 and 10 miles - I don't know whether they *need* it or not, but if it works for them either mentally or physically then who am I to argue.


                          I have tried some chews and will carry some for my first half -


                          wolf - my legs get sore and I am actually more fatigued by running TOO slow vs. a comfortable pace.  I am all for taking easy days easy (to allow for hard days to be HARD - but too slow can just be uncomfortable.

                          Ready, go.



                            TaraC - It’s awesome that you ran that quick 10k after not running for 15 years! I guess some people are naturally quick and there is rest of us.
                            I am not an expert and everyone is different, but this is what I do. I run on empty stomach too. I don’t carry water for an easy one hour run. I neither drink nor eat anything before I run in the mornings. I did the same during my recent HM. I never tried, but I might be fine only with water with some electrolyte for sub 2:00 hour race. For running 3-4 hours, I think gels are sufficient. I take one every 45 minute to an hour depending on the intensity of the run. Just pick up some brands and try them out and see what you like. I personally like GU and Clif. About water, some people like to drink good amount of water. I try to dink only if I feel thirsty. I feel good with one hand held water for a 3 hour run as far as weather is not too hot. Used some electrolytes with the water on race day and hardly drank half the bottle during the race. I tried using electrolytes during the hard/fast run and drank few sips for an hour long hard run. I liked it and used it for the race. I am sure that I really do not need electrolytes as gels should be enough. It’s just that I like the way it taste and it makes me feel good (psychologically I think I can perform better using them!) so I used it during the race.


                            cjw2005 – welcome!


                            EdithRevisited – I do not feel tired anymore. I am feeling fine. Its good that you are planning most of your route to stay on the sidewalk. Your easy pace has been improved significantly. Congratulations!


                              Hi Everyone!


                              Wow, there's so much to catch up on. Life is getting in the way of my reading/posting, but I'm still getting the runs in. My son graduates from college next weekend, and planning a party from 100 miles away, dealing with flights coming and going, cleaning for company, and oh ya, working - I'm surprised I have time to eat and sleep! Oh well, it's all so worth it. I'll be back for personals when things settle down a bit. Here's to good runs for all!

                              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

                                Hey everyone, glad to see everyone is recovering and training hard.  The temps are supposed to hit 100' here on Monday and maybe 93 on Sunday which is my long run Evil   You want to know about drinking water on the run, LOL  its coming.   Training went well this week,

                                got an 8 miler 5.6 miler and today another 8 mile.  I will be doing my longest run for this training cycle on Sunday, = 18 miles.  Next Sunday I am going to run another 18 miles instead of boosting to 20.  I am fine at this mark.  I feel great and my ankle is almost 95% recovered. I will be so happy to make it to marathon morning with no injuries.  I am getting excited more and more for the big day... Its all I think about on my runs now hehehe  Cya guys on Sunday with a long run report. Approve

                                  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