Taking on Your First Half Marathon

This post was inspired by my friend Steve, who after debating for a while….ok a long while, recently announced that this will be the year he runs his first half marathon! Since his decision, he’s been sending me text messages with all kinds of running questions…and I’ve been enjoying sharing in his excitement of the newness of all of this. It also got me thinking back to my first half marathon and wondering in hindsight what I wish I had known when I started training.


Start with a proper base —  Before taking on half marathon training, have a good base  (running 3 days a week, at least 10 miles/week). If you don’t have this, get there before you dive into a training plan.

Find a plan — First timers are best served by following a training plan. A plan will help guide you to build your mileage slowly. It is important to recognize that not all half marathon training plans are created equal, so take the time to review a few to find one that fits where you are in your running and seems manageable with your other commitments (family, work, etc). For example, don’t pick a plan that has you running 5 days a week if you know that’s not going to fit into your life.

Recognize that life happens — Do your best to follow the training plan, but all is not lost if you miss a run or two.

Cross-training is worth it — Doing some low-impact cardio on your non-running days will help your overall fitness and keep boredom at bay.

Rest is not a four-letter word! — Those rest days in your plan are there for a reason; don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re only training when you’re physically active.  Rest and recovery is a critical part of your training.

Remember why you started — When you’re in the thick of training, getting out for you next run or pushing through a tough run can sometimes feel like a chore. Don’t lose sight of why you decided to take on this new challenge in the first place and celebrate milestones along the way!

What do you wish someone had told you before your took on your first half marathon?


Training Check-in – Week 11

check in Happy Monday!

With today being Columbus Day (or Thanksgiving in Canada) – hopefully you’re enjoying the long weekend!

After a much needed cutback week the week before, I resumed my Philly training plan last week.

So how was Week 11?

Monday  —  T25 Cardio

Tuesday  —  5 Miles

Wednesday  —  Yoga

Thursday  —  5 x 1000 meter intervals plus warm-up and cool down – 6 miles

Friday — Rest day

Saturday — 9.5 miles

Sunday  —  More rest – hanging with the family 🙂

I had planned for 12 miles on Saturday but the rain went from steady at the start of the run  to a torrential downpour! So for the sake of my cold wet legs and my iPhone I decided to cut it short. Overall, it wasn’t too bad of a week. As much as I want to increase my mileage and bump it up to 4 running days per week, my energy levels are just not there yet. Hopefully, as I get this anemia under control that can happen.

How was your week?

Do you usually run 3x’s a week or 4 or more?


Week 8 and Counting


Fall weather has finally arrived! Hallelujah!

It was pretty crazy here last week as there were lots of school activities, sports practices and homework to adjust to. In between, I managed to log 23.5 miles for the week:

Monday:  5.5 miles.

Tuesday:  Leg and core work.

Wednesday:  Pilates Barre class.

Thursday:  Hill repeats – 7 miles total.

Friday:   3 miles on an Alter G treadmill – (more on this coming in a separate post!)

Saturday: 8 miles. The plan had been to do 10, but around 6 my ITB really tightened up. I tried to run through it…but those of you who’ve dealt with cranky ITBs know that’s not how it works. I could tell my form was starting to suffer so I cut the run at 8. Lots of rolling, time in my compression shorts and some icing seemed to have helped.

Sunday:  Rest day.

I know that the ITB flare up was a direct result of not following my usual recovery routine this week. I was jamming in workouts and then skipping my usual rolling, icing, and strengthening exercises. So guess what I’ll be focusing on this week 🙂

Do you have a regular recovery routine? Do you feel the effects if you skip it?


Training Check-in – Week 7


check in

Is it just me or does anyone else feel like these weeks are just flying by? As of today, there are 76 days until the Philadelphia Half – on the one hand, still a lot of time, but given the way these days are flying by, it will be here before I know it!

So week 7 is in the books and I’m very happy to report it was a much better week! Here’s how things shook out:

Monday:  Leg and core work.

Tuesday:  6 miles on a hilly loop followed by a massage!

Wednesday:  After a 2 week break, my Pilates Barre class is back!

Thursday:  Returned to hill repeats – 6 miles total.

Friday:   I was definitely feeling the effects of those hill repeats, so I decided to skip my scheduled cross-training.

Saturday: 9 miles. The heat and humidity was just crazy – it was like running in a furnace! Knowing that this was going to be a tough run, I decided to go Galloway and switched to run/walk intervals after the first couple of miles. I’d never tried doing intervals like that so I just kind of played with the length of the run intervals –  it was a nice distraction from the heat, helped me to keep a consistent pace and to finish fairly strong.

Sunday:  Much needed rest day.

All-in-all a pretty solid week. My challenge since I started this training cycle has been to put two solid weeks together. So my goal for this week is simple – keep up the forward momentum!

How did week go for you?  Have you ever tried the Galloway Method?



Training Week 6: Remembering Why

Happy September! Hope you all had a great Labor Day Weekend!

I’m getting ready to head out for this morning’s run and week 7 of my Philly Half training. I’m looking forward to a fresh start and to put last week’s runs far behind me.

Week 6 was rough people! I’m not going to lie – I thought about skipping the recap altogether. But with running, you’ve got to take the good with the bad, right?

So here’s how the week shook out:

Monday:   Strength training – legs and core.

Tuesday:   Heat & humidity returned just in time for my 6 miles.

Wednesday:  Played with my kiddos and took a rest day.

Thursday:  7 miles – I could not get out of my head on this run. There was a lot of bargaining with myself during this one.

Friday:   Core work.

Saturday: 3.5 miles – this was suppose to be 9. Despite doing all the things I was suppose to do to prep for this long run (sleep, fuel, hydrating), my body just wouldn’t cooperate. I was so frustrated with myself and finally just stopped, called J and asked him to come get me. A low point for sure….

Sunday: I briefly toyed with the idea of going out to try the nine again, but ended up sleeping through my alarm and opted to avoid the increasing humidity and have a lazy breakfast with my family.

Like I said, happy to put this one in my rearview mirror and move on. Time to get my head back in the game …to remember the reasons I’m out there…My Why.

How do you get out of your head when you’re running?


Week 5 – Hills and a Headache

Week 5 on the road to Philly is in the books and it was a challenging week for sure – thanks in large part to a migraine that hung out for a few days. Migraines

Monday: Hello migraine! Hip strengthening and core work.

Tuesday: A hilly 5 miler.

Wednesday: Migraine continued. T25 Total Body Circuit.

Thursday: 5.5 miles.

Friday: T25 Ab Intervals.

Saturday: 9.2 miles with rolling hills. First time running 9 miles since the spring!

Sunday: Much needed rest day.

So the base-building continues. On deck for week 6, 23 running miles, some cross training and more core work, including the 8 minute core workout posted last week on Fuel Your Future with Tina (if you’re not reading her blog, you really should check it out!) I love to mix up the core work and Tina’s workout looks challenging.

How’s your training going?



Training Update & Nuun Winner

Week 4 of my Philadelphia Half training is done! Here’s a quick recap:

Monday:   3 miles with negative split

Tuesday:   Spent a fun day with my mom – lots of walking

Wednesday:  Pilates Barre

Thursday:   5.75 miles – tough run! My legs felt so heavy, I seriously wanted to stop a mere mile in, but stuck it out.

Friday:   Rest and a massage

Saturday: 6.5 miles on a very hilly loop. My legs felt so much better!

Sunday: Hip strengthening exercises and core work

After Saturday’s run, I’m feeling much more upbeat going into this week. I’ll be adding more hip strengthening work this week, as well as some T25.


Nuun EnergyAfter a great response to my Nuun Giveaway, the winner is  Samantha S! Congrats!

A big thanks to Nuun for sponsoring!


Training Check-in Week 3


check in

Well thank goodness for Week 3! After a less than stellar Week 2, it was nice to get back on track! There were 19 miles on my plan and I finished with 16 miles – I’ll take it! So here’s how the week played out:

Monday:   Cross-training – 55 minutes on the bike

Tuesday:   4.25 mile run – hot, humid and hilly!

Wednesday:  Pilates Barre  – my usual weekly class. I can never say enough good things about this class – and this week was no different!

Thursday:   Sick kiddo at home led to strength training/leg work at home instead of running.

Friday:   Thursday’s 6 mile tempo run became Friday’s 5.25 tempo – I ended up cutting my cool-down a little short in order to jam some “must do” errands in before the kids got home from camp.

Saturday: 6.5 mile LSD. It was suppose to be 8 but my legs were toast! I knew I was taking a chance doing a tempo run on Friday, but I just didn’t want to miss the workout. I think the other contributing factor was being on my feet Friday evening at the Athleta event.

Sunday: Rest day at the beach!

Overall not a bad week. I was super diligent about rolling, especially post-run and I think it helped – no KT Tape needed!

How did last week go for you?


Training Check-in: A Week of Shuffling

Well for as good as Week 1 felt, Week 2 was meh at best! A combination of various family obligations, schedule changes and the hangover effects of dealing with insomnia, left me in a state of constant shuffling last week. Shuffling of workouts to fit them in…and shuffling with tired legs out on the road.

check in

So this is how the week shook out:

Monday:  Needed to push this run to Tuesday.

Tuesday:  Again, needed to push this run till later but was sure I’d get it in. By late afternoon I needed to concede that I was just too damn tired so I skipped the run.

Wednesday:  Weekly Pilates Barre class

Thursday:  4 miles of intervals plus 2 miles warm-up and cool down. Ugly but done.

Friday:   Cross-training on the bike

Saturday:  Needed to leave uber-early to drive to Maine so moved my run to Sunday.

Sunday:  I was exhausted when I started…Was suppose to do 7 but called it quits after 5.8 miles.

Daily:  Core work & rolling

Clearly the mileage suffered…Some weeks you just have to do what you can and move on…last week was one of those weeks!

So the goal of week #3 is simply to get back on track!


Friday Five: Half Marathon Training Goals

Linking up with Mar, Cynthia and Courtney again today. This week’s theme is “goals” and given that I just started my half marathon training this week it seems the perfect time to share my goals for this training cycle.

training goals


Don’t Miss a Workout! — Goal number 1 is to complete all of my workouts. Scheduling can get a little crazy in the summer when the kids are home, but that just means I need to get creative to stay on my plan (Hello 5:30 a.m. runs!).

Get Stronger —  This ties in directly with Goal #1. I’ve got a fair amount of cross-training built into my plan, plus specific strength exercises to keep my hip happy. I will also continue with my beloved Barre class and adding in some TRX as well.

Fuel Properly — While summer eating naturally lends itself towards lots of fruits and veggies and meals from the grill, I know I could still focus better on my nutrition – especially pre- and post-run. Doing so should also help me return to “fighting weight” which is about 6 lbs lighter than I am now.

Recover Right — Sometimes because scheduling gets a little hectic things like post-run rolling, re-fueling and donning of compression gear gets pushed to the back burner in favor of moving on with the day – however I pay for it later and on my next run…so that can’t happen!

Remember My “Why” — The mental side of training is just as important as the miles I log. After not having the Spring I had hoped for from a running/racing perspective, I will be working hard to keep negative talk and doubt from creeping in. During tough runs it will be important to remember why I’m out there.


Have you set any new goals for the rest of the year?