A blog by runners. For runners.

Planning a 1:40 half marathon finish

wjr-running-goal-140-half-marathonYou may have noticed in our team’s New Years resolutions list that I’m gunning for as close to a 1:40:00 half marathon finish as I can get this spring. What I didn’t know when I wrote up this item is that I need to start training, well, in about a month if I want to even hope to reach near this aggressive goal. With negative 30 degree wind chills and freezing rain in the forecast, a freshly canceled gym membership, and lingering laryngitis, I need all the help I can get!

I have completed my first step toward reaching this goal, though. I signed up today for a relatively flat, fast race at the beginning of May, the same race I ran last year when I wanted to beat 1:45:00. As I looked back through my training log — I noticed I only did 8 weeks of formal training to earn last year’s PR of 1:44:25 (beating my previous best by about 2 minutes).

This year, though I have yet to choose a specific plan, I’m going to try and do at least 12 full weeks, focusing on the following areas.

  • Speedwork has always been tough for me to stick with. The workout looks great written down on paper. In theory, I like imagining myself having completed some fast miles and basking in that glow of awesomeness. I did pretty well with speedwork once a week last year, but I think I need longer tempo runs if I want to shave off more time.
  • Longer long runs would help me feel more confident to not only reach the distance, but feel fresh after doing so. I’d like to peak with a run of 16 miles, but still leave enough time for a smart taper.
  • Cross training has always been a great way for me to challenge myself without risking an IT-band flare-up. So, I hope to incorporate some at-home spinning into my routine (to get my legs moving fast) and balance it out with a little yoga (to keep tightness at bay).
  • Race day fueling ended up being my downfall last year. I know, a PR is a PR, but I had nothing left in the tank halfway through the race and even had to stop and take a break because I felt so empty. During my pregnancy, I stopped using gels and other sports aids — but I think I need to learn how to stoke the fire again.

I think my next step is getting well so I can brave the elements and start ramping up my base mileage. I’ve been holding consistent with between 25-30 miles a week, but the holidays certainly changed that. From there, I need to choose a plan and start tracking my progress. I’ll be sure to share what I settle on whenever I make my decision.

What is your first 2014 running goal? Have you started training yet?

Written by  Ashley Marcin.