Half marathon goals

I feel like I’ve spent the last 6 months preparing to return to serious racing and training. Sure, I’ve been logging regular mileage and occasionally doing workouts, but I still had lingering worries about my old hamstring/IT band injury. I’ve been overly cautious when it comes to running fast, hesitant about my fitness level and capacity to race hard. Don’t get me wrong – being cautious has been a good thing. I’ve gradually increased mileage and have been careful not to run hard more than a few times a week. I don’t want to get injured again, but I also want to reach my running potential. Every time I head out for a double-digit long run or start a tough speed workout, it’s a little scary. I’m testing my limits, hoping I don’t fail. But after 6 months of solid base training, I’m ready to get serious. My next big race is the NYC 1/2 marathon on March 21st and I’m going to race it. It’s not going to be a workout or a tempo run, it’s going to be an all out race. MY 1/2 marathon PR is 1:36:28 and I’m not sure I can beat that, but I am going to shoot for sub-1:40. And here’s how:

1) As long as my back and legs cooperate, I’m committing to twice weekly workouts: a shorter interval workout on Tuesdays (solo) and the weekly CPTC (Central Park Track Club) workout on Thursdays.

2) I’m going to plan out my long run schedule this weekend, but in the 5 weeks leading up to the half-marathon, I’d like to run at least 3 over-distance (13 + mile) long runs with fast finishes. This mileage will not only increase my aerobic capacity, but also my confidence.

3) Run sub-21:43 in the Coogan’s 5K on March 7th.  I’d like to beat last year’s time on this hilly course. I think a fast, short race will be a good tune-up for the 1/2 marathon.

4) Continue sleeping enough (7-8 hours) and eating well (lots of veggies!). Not rocket science, but essential components of a successful training plan.

Sub-1:40, here I come!!

Last night I went to my usual Thursday night workout with the Central Park Track Club. I always get a little nervous beforehand (it’s going to be hard! It’s cold! I’m tired…), but I ended up having a really good workout. I just need to keep reminding myself how good I feel when I go. The temperatures last night were actually pretty mild (low-30’s and not too windy), but I thought I’d show you the gear I wore anyway.

My base layer was a pair of spandex tights and a short-sleeved dri-fit top. On the outside I wore my long-sleeved Nike running pullover and a hat.

Megan

Plus thick thorlo socks. Love this brand – so cushy!

socks

And then depending on the weather, I either wear my obnoxious green mittens (faux-fur lined!) or my less intense fleece mittens. Last night I chose the latter since it wasn’t too cold or windy.

gloves

The workout: 6 mile Central Park loop – first 3 miles at marathon pace, last 3 miles at half-marathon pace (or about 20 seconds per mile faster)

  • About a mile warm-up
  • 6 mile Central Park loop in 44:59 (~7:30 pace)
  • First 3 miles of splits were: 7:50, 7:30, 7:40 (23:00)
  • Wasn’t sure about the mile markers for the second half of the tempo run, but I finished in 21:59, so I’m guessing I averaged about 7:20 pace which was right on goal pace
  • 3.5 mile cool-down
  • Total: 10.5 miles

I felt really strong throughout, although I was definitely pushing it during the last couple of miles. Legs felt really good afterward!

No back or hip problems, yay! Right hamstring felt a tiny bit tight during the faster downhills, but not anything major.

My fridge is pretty bare at the moment (not buying any groceries since I’ll be away for the weekend!), but I managed to put together something fairly nutritious for post-run fuel:

  • greek yogurt with a big spoonful of peanut butter and some lingonberry jam mixed in
  • chopped apple
  • Kashi Go Lean (fiber + protein!)

cereal bowl

There may have been more spicy caramel popcorn for dessert…And then I snuggled into bed pretty early. Only to be woken up at 4am STARVING. Luckily, I keep boxes of Clif and Luna bars from Costco in my bedroom. A peppermint stick luna bar appeased my hungry tum. I did not snap a photo at 4am, but I recreated the scene this morning. You’re welcome.

luna bar

Do you ever wake up super hungry in the middle of the night? What’s your go-to midnight (or 4am) snack?

In honor of Valentine’s Day, the gals at Skinny in the City compiled a list of nutrient-rich red foods. Mmm, cherries and apples and beets!

Single in the city?

Meet your potential Mr. Right at Flex Appeal, Crunch gym’s speed-dating yoga event. You’ll be paired with different dudes throughout the FREE partner-yoga session. The event starts at 4PM on Friday, February 12 at Crunch’s Lafayette locale. Enjoy post-yoga complimentary drinks nearby.

Are you a runner? Are you single? Lucky for you, Jack Rabbit Sports is the place to be this Valentine’s Day. The running store is hosting singles running events on Feb 14th at its Union Sq, UES, and Park Slope locations. Bonus: discounts on shoes, fun ice breakers, and free refreshments!

  • Oatmeal with some honey is remarkable at getting me back to sleep. It’s weird because I don’t put honey on my oatmeal or anything really at any other time

  • Good luck on racing the NYC Half! With all the amazing workouts you’ve had lately, I’m sure you’re going to rock it! How happy are you that they moved it from August to March? 🙂

    I’m running it as well but haven’t trained as much as I would’ve liked, so I’m not going for any sort of time goal.

  • Jen

    I’m so glad you posted this – I’ve really been struggling with the “wake up” hungry thing. I’m training for the Madison Ironman so I’m putting in about 18-20 hours of training each week. I feel like I’m ALWAYS hungry. It drives me crazy when I wake up hungry in the middle of the night! I just want to sleep. I usually make a PB and Honey sammich when I wake up. It’s ALOT of calories but it usually puts me back to sleep. Do you ever wonder if you keep waking up and eating in the middle of the night, you might be “training” your body? I mean, if you stop eating in the middle of the night, maybe you’d sleep better. I don’t know – when I wake up and my stomach rumbles, I usually grab something to eat. But I’m starting to think it’s becoming a habit now and my body expects it.

  • Sounds like a great plan and a great workout last night! On the right track (no pun intended)!

    I think those events at Crunch and JackRabbit sound like fun. Unfortunately I’m married, so not part of my plan for this weekend!

  • So exciting that you are gearing up to RACE! I am mulling over a half marathon (my first!) and am getting quite excited at the prospect. I’m also running a 5k tomorrow – me and the boy just completely randomly decided to sign up. He isn’t a runner and actually kind of hates running so I’m taking this as a token of love! haha. Enjoy your weekend away!

  • You are such a speed demon! Back in my REALLY speedy days I was running a sub 1:40 half and I’d love to get back there in the next year or so! My goal for my half coming up in April is sub 1:50. Gotta start somewhere, right?

  • Ooooh, fingers crossed for you! You’re going to put that previous PR in its place…

    I used to always drink a glass of milk if I woke up starving in them middle of the night, and now I’ve replaced that with soy or rice milk (the dairy intolerance thing, urgh). I’d also have to leave boxes of cereal way up high in the cabinets, or the milk would end up with some cereal dumped in… So unnecessary, usually, but so tasty when you’re half-sleepwalking!

  • The green mittens are terrific. I don’t tend to wake up hungry…only with a full bladder. Because I have the bladder of a very pregnant woman.

    I like the look of your half marathon plan. It’s pretty gutsy to invest yourself like that. I’m skipping the NYC half ($$$) but I’m implementing a similar game plan for the (best name ever) Colon Cancer 15K.

  • so so so happy i just found your blog!!!!!!!!!!!! so exciting! a runner and pictures, and NYC..and healthy food!!! yay!!

    now on to reading more!!

    oh and i never wake up at 4am starving…but i go to bed hungry sometimes and its hard to go to sleep…

  • When I was in my hard core marathon training last fall I would ALWAYS wake up around 2 or 3am STARVING! For a while I would try to ignore it and go back to sleep but then I realized that the reason I am waking up hungry is for a reason and since I am logging such intense workouts I NEED to eat no matter the time. If my body wakes me up from hunger than I need to listen to it. I would typically go for something like oatmeal or a 1/2 PB&J sandwich. Something that was nutrient dense but also carby so it wouldn’t be an jolt to the system and allow me to fall back alseep!

    CONGRATS on the race in March! I can not wait to hear how you do! You will totally crush 1:40…total faith! 🙂

  • What great goals!! I can’t even imagine being able to do 1:40!!!

  • Your workout plan sounds great. I wish I could run anywhere near a 1:40 – I’m hoping to break 1:50 at the NYC half.
    I used to wake up hungry all the time when I was training for my 2nd marathon. I think the increased mileage surprised my body. I eventually became used to the miles and the hunger stopped, but honey bunches of oats was my go-to food, even though I didn’t eat it at any other time of day.

  • Your running plan sounds awesome. I am def jealous of your goals and how well you are approaching the race with your current slight injuries. I’m sure you’re going to do great on the 1/2!!!!

    and sometimes i wake up at insane hours of the morning starving like crazy, i always have a piece of bread read to be eaten…in the kitchen, not in my room though (ants are too prevalent!)

  • When I was training for my first marathon last fall I didn’t often wake up hungry in the middle of the night, but even now sometimes I will wake up so hungry in the morning I feel sick. My quick fix is definitely a banana and crunchy peanut butter or 1/2 a clif bar – I generally keep a box of them in the drawer of my bedside table. Very convenient for either early morning munchies… or just so that I can fuel up before an early spin class but steal 5 more minutes in bed!

  • Good luck with your 1/2 goal!

  • JJ

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who wakes up hungry sometimes! I think it’s because I usually eat quite an early dinner (by 6pm) and then go to bed early (by 9pm) to wake up early (by 5am)! But when it happens I go with what sounds good to me, usually a whole wheat english muffin with PBJ/honey, milk, banana, OR cereal, milk, and fruit. I don’t really worry about the calories because I do my workouts in the mroning and need the energy. Sometimes I’ll nip it in the bud by having a snack before bedtime.

    I remember the days when I was training fast and had a 1/2 marathon PR of 1:39 and some change…now I just run for health and because I enjoy it! You seem to be running strong and I think you’ll make that PR!

  • I think you’ve been extremely wise to proceed with caution regarding your running/training. Now that you’re healed from your injuries, I think your plan to spice things up a bit is an excellent one.

    Your post-run yogurt bowl looks delish! Sometimes I prefer Kashi Go-Lean cereal over Granola in my yogurt, it’s crunchier!

    Have a wonderful weekend, Megan!