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Learn : Half Marathon Story  

Running Background:

marathon photoI consider myself an intermediate runner and I primarily run for fitness. I decided to run a half marathon because it's a fun distance without all the pain and extended training hours that a marathon entails, and injuries limited my ability to train during the month of February.

Training:

I didn't follow a specific training program. I did train for 4 months averaging about 25 miles per week.

The best advice I would share with others is to keep stretching. The bout of knee pain I suffered was directly related to hip tightness. If I had stretched earlier, I would have avoided a month of painful running and a month of rehabilitation. It made a believer of stretching out of me.

Race Day:

The 2008 Drake Relays Half Marathon was better than expected. I did my first race since the start of the year and suffering all my knee problems. Hence, I was probably least prepared for this half marathon than any of the past 4 half’s that I have ran due to those aforementioned problems and lately time commitments. In the last few months, my mileage had only been 15 to 23 miles at the most.

My expectations were therefore much less for this half than for my last one, Sioux Falls Half. Rather than shooting for a sub 1:42:00 PR, I was simply gunning for at least less than 2 hours and at best beat last year's running (1:49:44). With that in mind, I set out Saturday morning that was plenty windy and chilly in the open. I was sorely tempted to do only the 8k with my wife and daughter even as I ran down Kingman Blvd, but as I turned the corner on Polk Blvd, I resolved to not back down from the challenge. My thoughts were of Laura and Tasha as I continued down the road, and I wished them the best in my head.

In the first 5 miles, which blazed by in an average 7:35 min/mile last year, I averaged a consistent 8:02 min/mile. At this point, the race begins the hills and toughest section of the course. Last year, I really felt the earlier fast miles and walked on the uphill sections. Overall at the end of the race, I felt like I ran a bad race as I went from speed to walking, and I just never settled into a good pace. This year was to be different. Whether it be due to P90x sometimes grueling workouts or last year's training to the marathon, I was determined to be a stronger, more determined runner. In the final 8 miles, I ran 5 of them faster than last year. I did not let the hills get to or "own" me. I set a good pace and even reeled in a few runners who faltered near the end of the race.

I did not however beat my time of last year. I finished the race in an official 1:52:03.

Recovery:

My recovery wasn't bad. I had to get caught up on missed P90x workout sessions due to my taper period, so my arms were eventually as tired as my legs were. :-)

Running Gear Recommendations:

New Balance 1062 Running Shoes
Much better than the 1061 model!
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Garmin Forerunner 205
Great for monitoring my pace.
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Tips/Words of Encouragement:

Sometimes it is more important to just run a race rather than "race" it. Not every time is going to be a PR, but you can enjoy yourself and being out on the course just the same. It is recognizing your current level of fitness (due to injury or timing) and doing your best for that day.

Plans to Run Another:

Yes, I'll run another. How else are you going to prove yourself or see where you are at physically?

For my next race, I'll STRETCH before, and especially STRETCH after!

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