I’ve been running for about 3 years now and I would say that I’ve been a runner for just over 2 years (that’s when I ran my first race and finally felt committed to running). While I’ve seen some improvements in my running pace, I feel that I’m capable of being a faster runner than I currently am. My first few half marathons were around the 2:45 mark (give or take) and my two most recent (minus the first 1/3 of the Goofy) were in the 2:30-2:35 range. So that’s an improvement of 1 min/mile over 13.1 miles but I still feel that I’m not where I want to be.
In an ideal world I’d like to some day run a sub-2 hour half marathon. I’ve come to terms with the fact that this might not be physically possible for me and I certainly don’t expect to achieve that goal anytime soon. I know improvement is often slow and may be small which doesn’t make it insignificant. My next big time barrier is to run a half marathon at 11 min/mile pace which puts me around 2:24 as a finish time. I’m not sure I’ll accomplish that goal at my next race – the More Magazine Women’s Half Marathon in mid-April – but I’m going to try to get strong and run as well as I can. The More offers a few challenges for a PR efforts: 1. The Hills. 2. The Hills. 3. The Hills. And, like any race, there is the challenge of the weather. Last year was quite warm while the year before was chilly (and I missed the year before that when it was miserable and rainy). Obviously cooler temperatures (within reason) tend to predict faster finish times.
I’ve spent some time thinking about a training plan for this race. So far this year I’ve raced 55.5 miles (if you include “strolling” the Royal Family 5k, although I was pushing a stroller!). That’s quite a lot for this not-so-young body. My right shin has been on/off since mile 26 of the Goofy. My left foot is bothering me a bit (not where my alleged stress fracture was). And my left hip is a little sore. None of these injuries are serious but I want them a bit better before I start pushing for a fast training plan.
Obviously any training plan for this particular race MUST include hill training. So I’m hoping my minor injuries are good enough for some hill repeats on Thursdays. Although I’m planning to run easy this week after my body was unhappy with 5 miles at 11:40 pace on Sunday, Tuesdays will be speed work. And the time improvement plan has some 800m repeats on non-long run weekends. My work is cut out for me! (Of course this weekend my 800m repeats will likely be on a treadmill due to childcare considerations).
Perhaps as important as my training plan is my diet/weight loss plan. I believe that the 4 lbs I’ve lost in the last several months have helped my speed and I’d love to (slowly) lose about 10 lbs more. My body fat percentage is better than it was but still WAY above my ideal. I’m using a calorie counter again and making some serious efforts at eating better and drinking enough water. There is no doubt that being lighter will reduce my risk of injury. That makes it possible to train harder even if you don’t believe that being leaner can make you faster by itself.
And then there’s the new element I’m adding. As of this morning I’ve signed myself up for the No Excuses Workouts Boot Camp program. It’s an 8 week program starting next week that should help me do a better job of cross-training. I’m really hoping to be as strong as possible for my next race. By having a stronger body I should be able to protect myself from injury while running faster. I hope the program works for me and I see great results by race day!
Overall I’m hoping that adding new elements to my training will help keep me motivated while getting me to the finish line faster and healthier!

(PS Still waiting for my final results from the Princess and then I promise a race report!)