Half marathon training update – Run, volunteer, repeat

It’s half marathon training update time!  I have now completed 8 weeks of my training plan, and this week I’m making quite a few changes.  First things first though, let’s talk about the past 2 weeks of training!

How about those long runs? 

I’m now at the stage where my long runs are starting to get significantly longer than what I’ve been doing in the past – in the past 2 weeks I’ve done a 7 mile and an 8 mile run, both with very different outcomes.

7 miles of hell 

My 7 mile run was in Palisades Park in New Jersey, a great place to run becuase it’s mainly shaded but still boasts great views of the NYC skyline and George Washington bridge.  I used to run 3 or 4 miles on this route regularly in the summer, taking advantage of the rolling hills as good practice for Central Park runs.

However, this year?  I am not prepared for hills yet.  I’ve been running a route round my work every week that does have a few hilly areas, but I’ve swiftly come to realise that it’s not enough.  My work route has ~165ft elevation, this course has nearly 400ft.  Quite a difference!  A quick google search tells me that the Central Park loop has ~200ft of elevation, so I want to make sure I’m well prepared for going round it twice in my half marathon!

Anyway, I digress.  I ran 7 miles, the first 5 being on rolling hills and the final 2 on a flat section of trail.  Not gonna lie, I struggled with it.  My calves were hurting, I stopped to adjust my laces, I felt so out of breath going up the hills!  At one point I just turned the watch off and had a 5 minute rest.  Seriously.

Palisades Interstate Park running
Tough run!

Lesson learned – do more running on bigger hills.  I need to be prepared!  There is an absolute monster of a hill near my house, so I’m gearing myself up to running up that very soon….

8 miles of awesome 

My next long run, in comparison, was awesome.  I ran 8 miles along the Hudson river and felt GREAT, I actually think I could have kept going for another few miles.  However, this was completely flat – literally 0ft elevation.  I’m worried now about doing training runs without hills as it won’t be preparing me for race day.  Still, though, I’m taking it as a win.  I love days when you feel strong!  With 4 weeks of half marathon training left until my first half, I’m feeling like I might be able to actually do this!

nyc running weehawken
I do love a jaunt along the Hudson. Check that out for a view!

Another bonus to long run day – having a nice big cheat meal to celebrate!

half marathon training update


Pam, how’s the half marathon training plan looking?

It’s going OK, I’d give myself a solid B for my performance in the past 2 weeks.  Not terrible, but there is definitely some room for improvement.  Let’s check on the chart!


Looking at the past 2 weeks, I’ve got 7 green workouts, plus 2 orange and 1 red.  It’s a traffic light system, so that means I’ve missed one workout and run fewer miles than planned on two.  All in all, not bad – but by this stage I really should be consistently seeing all green boxes.  Must try harder!

So what’s changed?

You may have noticed that my training plan has gotten longer – that’s because I’ve added another 5 weeks of half marathon training!  I’m actually signed up for two half marathons 5 weeks apart (AirBnB Brooklyn Half and the More Womens Half), so I’ve extended my plan to include both events.

I’ve also started a plan to add some structure to my ‘sprints’ day.  Normally what I do is walk for a few minutes on the treadmill, then sprint as fast as I can for 1 minute, rinse and repeat.  Now, I’ve added in some elements from a plan which targets a sub-30 minute 5k in 8 weeks.   Each week, my ‘sprints’ will now be structured as follows:

  1. 5 minute warm up
  2. 1/4 miles (400m) at 6.5mph (9:14 min/mi)
  3. 1/8 miles (200m) walking at moderate pace (I chose 3mph)
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 as necessary
  5. 5 minute cool down

For week 1, it’s 4x400m repeats.  Week 2, it’s 6×400.  Week 3, it’s 8×400 – you get the gist.  I really, REALLY want to do a 5k in under 30 minutes this year, so hopefully this will help me to get there!   There’s a little bit of multi-tasking here too, as technically I’m using my half marathon training to get ready for TWO races, and targeting a sub-30 5k all at the same time.  Hey, if you’re going to set targets, you might as well make them ambitious!!


Volunteering at the United NYC Half marathon

Sadly, this year my name didn’t get drawn in the lottery to run the NYC half marathon – so I opted for the next best thing and volunteered instead!  I was on the first water station at the mile 1 marker, my role was to help set up the tables, pour water and Gatorade into cups ready for the runners – and, of course, cheer on the runners as they came flying past.

NYRR NYC half volunteering
Ready for my volunteering duties!

The race started at 7:30am, which meant my duties started at 5am – so a very early Sunday morning start for me.   It was so cold too, I made good use of the hand warmers that were given out to everyone!

NYC running
The city that never sleeps…. fast asleep

NYRR have a ‘9+1’ program, whereby completing 9 races in 2016 plus volunteering at least once will give you guaranteed entry into the 2017 marathon – so my volunteering efforts will go towards that.

Volunteering was so fun, my favourite part was watching all the runners go past – most not actually stopping since we were only at mile 1!  I had a great time whooping and cheering for everyone and helping to keep the energy up.  Wish I could have run it!!

Water stations all ready to go, just waiting for the runners!
Water stations all ready to go, just waiting for the runners!


Can we talk about my new shoes for a minute?

Normally when people rave about new shoes, it’s a pair of beautiful new designer heels.  Me?  I’m SO EXCITED about my new running shoes.

You may remember in my last half marathon training update that I had purchased some new running shoes – unfortunately it did not end well.  I really didn’t buy into the whole ‘you’ll run better with specific types of running shoes and/or insoles’ thing, I thought it was just bullshit that marketeers fed to gullible people.  However, now I’m not so sure.

I tried to run 3 times in my new shoes and they were so uncomfortable, I even had to cut one of my runs short.  My calves were hurting, my feet were hurting – especially the arch of my left foot which was killing afterwards!  I don’t think the shoes were poor quality, they were great shoes, but just not a good fit for me.  I took the shoes back and swapped them out for Adidas Ultra Boosts instead.

Look how pretty they are

The first thing I noticed is that these were SO comfortable when I put them on, it was like wearing slippers.  The shoe almost disappeared as I put my foot into it, it was that comfortable.  And after 2 runs on them, I love them.  I love, love, love, love LOVE them – no blisters, no pain, no issues at all.   Half marathon training is easy when you’ve got good shoes!

OK, I’m going to stop gushing about shoes now or people will start to think Adidas are paying me (which I am totally OK with if they pay me in Ultra Boosts…..)

adidas ultra boost blue
Seriously, look at them. LOOK AT THEM. So pretty

OK guys, that’s enough from me!  Have a great week y’all!

Don’t forget to check out last week’s guest post from Sarah.  She’s talking us through her first week on the Couch to 5k (C25K) program, and her first experiences with running.  We’ll be checking back in with her at the end of her training too – watch this space!  Who knows, maybe after C25K I’ll be drawing up her very own half marathon training plan!

Pam x 



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