(Half) Marathon Reflection Monday

I have definitely had to change my way of thinking now that I’m back in half marathon land.

While training for a full, I was able to “take it easy” for the first few repetitions of intervals to save energy and take miles slower because there were so many more to go. But in half training, every rep has to be maxed out and warm-up miles become warm up mile.

Our Friday speed workout was hill repeats on the treadmill.   We put the incline on “10” (I’m not sure if this means 10% or 10 feet or just level 10 or what).  When Aaron said that we only had to run 20 seconds on the incline at a time, I had feelings of happiness.  Considering we were running up quarter-mile hills just a few months ago, this seemed rather lenient.

But I have only two months to reach my lofty goals, and I’m not even close to being ready. So, each 20 second hill must be pushed to the max. With each rep I increased speed to the point that I had to put every ounce of effort I had toward not get launched backward, and the exact moment the 20 seconds were up, I HAD to grab onto the nice little handle thingies or risk falling down.

It sucked obviously.  I felt sick afterwards.  But I know that I pushed it as hard as I could.  I was able to hold 10.3 mph for 20 seconds (I tried 10.4 but couldn’t keep up), and there was no way I could go faster.  It felt great to know that I put that level of effort into a workout.  I celebrated with some Costco pizza for dinner.  I feel only a bit awkward admitting that we go to Costco for dinner sometimes.

We did our 7 mile long run #2 on Saturday.  In order for me to confidentially go into this half, I will want my last long run to be at an 8:15 average at an easy pace (in other words, I shouldn’t be “racing” my long run).  Saturday’s pace was an 8:40 average and I definitely pushed it on a few of those miles. It is nice to obsess over those long run paces slightly more guilt free now that endurance isn’t as much of a factor.

I still have a lot of speed to program into these little legs, but I did do yoga (check!), strength training (check!), and cross training (check!).  I need to work on my core, but for the most part sticking to my goals.

In other related news, Aaron and I had a discussion this weekend about what our “events” are, or rather, which race distance is our strongest. I knew the moment I crossed the finish line for my first half marathon that I enjoyed 13.1 far more than 3.1.  Even though I’m more open to running marathons now that I’m not training for one (and I can walk again), the half marathon distance is my favorite.  I have no interest in running really strong 5-K’s, and for some reason I can’t ever get my act together for 10-K’s.  But I feel like I’m in my element in halves.

It was also at this point in our conversation that we decided to look up the weights of Olympic runners.  Aaron, who is a pretty trim dude, is not really thin enough to be a strong distance runner.  Ryan Hall is about the same height as Aaron, but  is about 30 pounds lighter. Let me just say I’m really ok with Aaron not weighing 30 pounds less.


I’m particurly excited this Monday morning because of this gloriously short week, even though it will be a test of our ambitions. With so much Thanksgiving Cheer (and, you know BLACK FRIDAY), will we keep to a consistent workout schedule, or lay in a happy food coma?  Will I remember to eat veggies, or will pumpkin pie be my best effort?  At least, thanks to our green shake breakfast, I’m finally back down to my pre-marathon weight.  I can see that all going out the window this weekend!

Apparently this says that I have to run a marathon to burn off  Thanksgiving. 


What’s your favorite distance race?

Have a wonderful Monday!

17 thoughts on “(Half) Marathon Reflection Monday

  1. I’m leaning towards the half marathon as my favorite race distance too, for several reasons: (1) it’s long enough to test your endurance/guts, but short enough to not completely exhaust you for the whole day; (2) training is challenging but manageable; (3) you feel like you really accomplished something at the end, even if you didn’t meet your goal; (4) there’s a good chance to continually improve with every race; (5) you can pick and choose from various training goals, instead of just “get faster” like for 5K/10K.

    I don’t mind 5K’s and 10K’s, just because they’re short and I’m still getting faster at them, but I have a feeling that once I hit the ceiling pace-wise, I wouldn’t be into them as much. I do like running trail 10K’s though… I feel like they’re almost the equivalent of a road half in terms of effort. As for marathons, I guess I’ll find out soon what my feelings are on that!

    p.s. I love Costco pizza. Don’t feel ashamed to have dinner there. 🙂

  2. Go Amy Go!!

    I think any race is better than a 5K – they are just so intense! And I’ve never actually done a 10K. A 5 miler was hard enough. Good luck with the speed workouts and Happy Thanksgiving!!

    • I know we both share a hate of the 5-K, yet I still do them more often than anything else! (doing a Turkey Trot on Thursday too!). I’ve never tried a 5 miler, but for some reason I can never figure out my pacing for a 10-K.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

    • It is a very scary part of training! Like, you’re ready to stop, but you have to keep going until the speed goes down…and sometimes that little arrow doesn’t respond to my finger!

  3. Also been thinking about this question and I’d have to vote for 21k. Its long enough to feel like you’ve achieved something big and its long enough on your feet to take in your running route, if that makes any sense.

    Well done on the green shake diet… I need it…. still not shifting it !!! grrrrr !!!

  4. I need to get into intense half marathon mode…I am still coming down off marathon training where, like you said, you are encouraged to take it easy for long stretches. As for racing, I haven’t ventured into marathon land but I imagine I will not love it. I like Half’s right now but a 10k’s are great as well…5k’s are fun but then again, it’s not like I am going sub 20 or anything…I just love that you can knock out a race real quick and be done. We’ll see, I am going to find an agressive 12 week plan for my next half in late february and see how I feel. Are you doing a Turkey Trot?

    • That is one good thing about 5-K’s…they take up so little time and about 2 minutes after recovery is DONE.

      I AM doing our Turkey Trot along with Aaron, my dad, and my 2 sisters. We’ll see how that goes!

  5. I’d have to agree with half marathons now as a distance of choice. You don’t really feel you need to kill yourself the way you do in 5ks.
    And whatever to the whole having to run a marathon to burn off Thanksgiving dinner! What is living if you can’t indulge once in a while (I have totally been eating vanilla frosting out of the tub with a spoon this evening).

    • I know! I saw that, and I was like, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED graphic!

      And we had to stop buying Nutella because I would eat the entire jar spoonful by spoonful. Peanut butter tends to go quickly too…

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