First of all, I would like to apologize to anyone who found this page in search of a short-term, quick-fix half marathon training plan, as the title might suggest. That’s not what this post is. At all. My current training is not a “guide” or “training plan” (or really anything that I would ever recommend any runner ever do)– if anything, it’s more of a guide to what NOT to do when you are training for 13.1.
That being said, I know it’s been a while since I posted, so I’ll give a quick recap of what I’ve been up to (if you want the long version, check out my older post here). After having my 2nd baby in two years last May, I took a few months off from running until my new-found hectic life mellowed out. Late last fall, I started running with my local running group again here-and-there just to ease back into things. I got sick a total of three times this winter (I swear my immune system is so much weaker since I haven’t been running regularly), which put me out of commission for most of the cold winter months. Now that the worst of cold & flu season is *hopefully* (knock on wood) behind us, I’ve been hitting the pavement more often with a goal of increasing my pace and building up my mileage.
If you follow my blog at all, you know that I love, love, love the Pittsburgh marathon/half marathon events. I ran my first half marathon there in 2011, so it’s a race very near to my running heart. I haven’t missed a year since then except in 2017– my daughter was actually born on race day that year (I swear that wasn’t planned), so I’d like to think that I participated in the day’s events in my own way. It’s just that instead of a bib and medal, I got a living, breathing human to add to my collection (ha).
Each year, I enthusiastically sign up for the Pittsburgh half marathon on the day that registration opens, and this year was no different. I signed up as soon as I could last August with the goal of killing my training and making my return to distance running as epic as possible. I cut back my hours at work and was now only working three days a week– I shouldn’t have any trouble finding time to log even more miles than before. Or so I thought. When you have kids, especially young kids, often things that seem simple and logical (you know, like well-thought-out, reasonable plans) become complicated and impossible. And that, in a nutshell and for too many reasons to list here, is what happened to my seemingly logical training goals.
So, just about two months out from the half marathon, I realized that the half was drawing very near, and I was very far from being prepared for it. Missing my favorite event in my favorite sport, though, is not an option for me. So here I am, cramming my training in, two months before the half.
Before having kids (and barring any injuries), the only things stopping me from reaching my training goals were laziness and lack of motivation. I love running, so neither were much of a problem and training usually came fairly easily. Now that I have kids, the only things stopping me are laziness, lack of motivation, and two little ladies that are 100% dependent on me and their dad. That last one is a biggie. My days with my babies are wonderful, but they are long and they are tiring. Training no longer comes easily. Many days, finding the energy and motivation to run are hard. Especially in the cold winter months in Pennsylvania. And especially when neither of the kids are sleeping through the night (my toddler sometimes sleeps worse than my infant!). For many months, I’ve given in to the tiredness, allowing myself to sleep in and miss my scheduled runs. Now that the weather is taking a turn for the better, and my baby is starting to sleep (a little) better, I’m finding my motivation to run again. Thankfully. Having two half marathons on my schedule is also a little bit of a motivator as well, haha.
So, without further ado, here is my completely unofficial guide to training for a half in 8 weeks**:
**DISCLAIMER: DO NOT ACTUALLY DO THIS
SCRR Training Run
1:23:16, 10:24 pace
TRAINING NOTES: I got stuck in the port-a-john at this run and had to be rescued by
four grown men. So much for my epic return to running. Did you know that the Steel City Road Runners host free training runs every weekend in the months before the marathon and you don’t have to be a member to participate? This is a great opportunity for those who want to try some new/different routes in their training.
1:21:00, 10:08 pace
TRAINING NOTES: I despise the treadmill, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil when you’re trying to train in the wintertime around here. A great playlist is absolutely necessary for me to be able to run more than three minutes on a dreadmill.
31:18, 9:37 pace
TRAINING NOTES: I was originally planning to run 5 miles with my running group this day, but the timing and weather didn’t cooperate, so my husband and I actually went out for a quick run while we still had a sitter for the kids. I had a long race the following weekend, so a faster/shorter workout was probably for the best anyways.
Yough River Trail Council Races – Connellsville, PA
TRAINING NOTES: I sign up for this race each year I’m training because it’s the perfect distance at the perfect time before race day. It really allows you to gauge your fitness level and help to give you an idea of how you will do at the half. I’m not going to say much more here because I plan on writing a recap later in the week, but I was happy with my results given the amount of training (or lack thereof) I’ve had.
So, training has been off to a slow/late start, but I have a concrete plan in place for how I want the next few weeks to go, and I’ll be sure to come back and keep you updated each week. Have a great week all!