Running a Half Marathon- My Thoughts and Training Plan (Confessions of a Slow Runner)

 

So, just like that…. it’s over!  I ran my first half marathon on Sunday!  After months and months of training, I can hardly believe it came and went 🙂

We had BEAUTIFUL weather for it!  It was about 60 degrees when we started and sunny.  I ran the Prairie Fire Half in Wichita (an hour from where I live).  The course was pretty flat and fairly shady.  I was a bit nervous, but my mom and I settled into a nice rhythm early on and stuck with it for the first 6 miles.  I tell ya, the first 6 miles felt really easy.  A year ago if you would have told me those words would be coming out of my mouth, I would’ve said you were crazy!  I could barely run 4 miles last summer, so to ever think 6 as easy shows how far I’ve come in my running!

Anyway, after the first 6, we started slowing down, but still kept a good pace from 6-9 miles.  And since I’m going to be very honest about my slow running, by good pace, I mean about 13 minute miles.  We were running 12:30 for the first half.  It seems like every running blog I read, they’re all about “Yeah, I only ran a 9 minute mile” blah, blah, blah.  If that’s you, well, I admire that!  If I ever get that fast, I will be beyond thrilled!  But, this post is to encourage all of you out there who are not fast 😉

From 9-13, we had slowed down to about 13:30 or so.  The hardest parts were between 10.5 and 11 (I thought that water station at mile 11 would never appear!) and between 12.5 and the finish line.  My phone told me “You are at 12.6 miles” and I thought, “Dang!  Where is that finish line????”  The last mile was also asphalt, with zero shade and it felt downright HOT!  But, I’m happy to say, I crossed the finish line upright and running, lol.  I did take some walking breaks during the last 6 miles.  I have longer legs than my mom, so I would gradually pull ahead and then power walk to let her catch up.

running a half marathon
I’m crossing the finish line! In case you’re wondering, I’m holding a handkerchief. I use it to wipe my nose and my sweat. Gross, I know 😉

You know what was the sorest part of my body on Monday?  My JAW!  Yeah, seriously.  My quads were a bit sore, but nothing bad and all of my joints (knees, hips, ankles) felt perfectly fine, but my jaw!  I always chew gum when I run (keeps my mouth from getting dry) but it’s not use to chewing gum for 3 hours straight, apparently.

Our finish time:

3 hours, 1 minute and 24 seconds.

We were VERY pleased with that!  We were not out to beat any particular time and based off our 11 mile training run, we figured it would take us about 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete the race.

So, would I do it again?

Well, two weeks ago after our last long training run, I would have said absolutely not.

Now?

Yeah, I think I would 🙂

I love the fact that I did something that not many people can do and that I pushed my body to do something that I didn’t think it was capable of!  It’s a high that I wouldn’t mind repeating.

OK, so here is what my training looked like from January to race day.  First off, I mostly trained using the Galloway method (running walking intervals) with an interval of running 3 minutes and walking 1 minute.  Well, the last couple weeks of training, I started running the first 3 miles, then doing looser longer untimed intervals.  When we actually ran the race, we ran to each water station (about every two miles), drank our water (my mom drank gatorade) walked for a little bit (maybe a couple minutes?), then ran to the next station.  Like I mentioned before, I took some walking breaks to let my mom catch up, but they weren’t timed.  My mom pretty much ran the whole thing.

Week 1 (first week in Jan):  ran 3 times of about 2 miles each time.  I was just trying to condition my body to running again after a 6 month break.

Week 2:  ran 2 miles twice, then ran 3 miles on the weekend.

Week 3:  took 2 30 minute runs (approx 2.5 miles) then ran 4 miles on the weekend.

From there on out, my training was one week, running 3 times for about 30 minutes each time and then the next week, run 30 minutes twice with a long run on the weekend, increasing each long run by one mile.

So, every two weeks I took a long run and every week I ran three times.  Does that make sense?  I kept that up until my 9 mile run.  Then because of scheduling, we decided to skip the 10 mile run, run 6 miles instead and take an 11 mile run 2 weeks before the race.  Also, the last month before the race, I took a 6 mile run once a week with 3 mile runs in between.  The week before the race, I took a 6 mile run on Tuesday (race was Sunday) then rested the rest of the week.

Training for a half is definitely a time commitment, but only taking long runs every two weeks helped.  I felt like I kept up my running fitness in between just fine with those 30 minute/3 mile runs (it actually takes me 35 minutes to run 3 miles).

Since I wasn’t particularly sore after running the race, I think that my training paid off.  This isn’t probably the training you’d want to do if you were serious about breaking records, but for a busy mom and farmwife, this was quite doable for me!

Any additional thoughts about finishing a half marathon?  Would you do another one?

 

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Training for a Half Marathon (Confessions of a Slow Runner)

Ever think about training for and running a half marathon?  Yeah, me neither 😉  My running career has been less than illustrious to say the least and I was positive I did NOT have it in me to run a half.  But, as they say, never say never….

So, my running has looked like this over the years :

Start training in March

Barely get up to 3 miles

Run a local 5K in June

Take a couple more runs in June

Quit until next March

I could barely eke out the energy to complete the 5K and I was SLOW!  Not the “Oh, I only run an 8 minute mile” slow (ha, ha), but the “I’m pushing it to get under 12 minutes a mile.”  See, I tell ya, I truly am a slow runner!

I also suffer from asthma (my childhood asthma came back with a vengeance a couple years ago), which I used as my excuse for not being able to run very well.  It definitely contributes to it, but I’ve come to realize it is a surmountable obstacle.

Enter January, 2017.  My mom, who has been a fellow slow runner for the last 10 years, decided that for her upcoming 60th birthday in May, she would like to complete a half marathon.  And it just so happens that there is one in Wichita at the beginning of May.  You can guess where this is going… I offered to run it with her.

We decided to run it using intervals.  This is where we run 3 minutes and walk 1 minute.  We also only do a long run every two weeks and then run 3 miles 3 times a week in between.  It’s based on a method designed by Jeff Galloway.  It’s suppose to be easier on your joints and allow anyone to run a half marathon- even if you’re like me and you can barely hack a 5K.

So, since the first of January, this slow runner has been training.  My last long run I did 9 miles!  It was a bit brutal, but I completed it.  Last Monday, I ran 6 miles and I noticed that my ankles and hip joints didn’t bother me at all!  Previously, my joints would be pretty sore after a long run.  I think I’m becoming conditioned to it.  I seriously never thought I’d get this far in my running career!

On the plus side, a 3 mile run seems like a walk in the park now 🙂

The moral of the story is, I encourage you to  try hard things- like a being a slow runner tackling a half marathon!  Don’t compare yourself to other runners (yeah, I know that can be hard!).  The race is in 3 weeks, so I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Are you a runner?  Do you enjoy it?  Any other tips for training for a half marathon?

Feel free to share with your friends!