I've signed up for another half marathon! Last week I registered for the Southern California Half Marathon in January 2018 and completed week one of a twelve-week training plan!
My goal for the race is 1:59:59 — yep, I'm going for under two hours! At this point a sub-two finish feels like a challenge, but it also feels doable given that I've been running regularly and I've gotten a lot faster. It's scary to be putting this goal out there for the world to see, but I'm going for it!
My training plan consists of easy runs, tempo runs, track runs, race pace runs, long runs, and a 5K and 10K race along the way. It's a pretty standard training plan but also the first time I've explicitly trained for a race. I'll also decrease my strength training down to two days per week to focus on running.
My dad is a testament to the importance of a training plan. He's been a distance runner my whole life, and his last few marathons have all been PRs after he switched to a new coach and running program. He has me convinced that going into each run with a plan in mind is the key to a PR. The results shows it!
My goal for my first half marathon was simply to finish. It was the hardest thing I've physically ever done. I spontaneously decided to register for the 2016 Austin Half just six weeks before the race, and at that point the longest distance I'd run was just four miles. I got up to eight miles before the race, which wasn't enough and I knew it. I had a really hard time finishing. I walked a LOT. I crossed the finish line with my dad (who was my cheerleader the whole way) at 2:52:23 — a 13:10 pace. Yeeeeeah, not so fast. But I met my goal! I proved to myself that I could at least do the thing.
My second race was in August 2017 in Berlin, Germany. I ran with my boyfriend, Keegan, for his first half marathon. We kind of trained. We were good about getting in our long runs each weekend but slacked on our mid-week runs. This time, I had two goals: to not walk at all and to beat my previous time. We finished with a 2:28:20 time, and I felt AMAZING! I finished with gas in the tank and felt like I could have gone much faster or gone farther, but I met both of my goals and I was so proud of Keegan for finishing.
Since then I've gotten so much faster. I'm not sure what got into me but it's like I had a breakthrough — my pace is consistently much faster than it was even just four months ago. A sub-two finish feels ambitious, but I know I can do it if I stay committed to my training plan and keep my nutrition in check for the next 11 weeks.