Bass Pro Half Marathon Training Recap – Half Marathon #6

This is definitely more for my own sake than anyone else’s. I don’t believe my running to be that interesting or impressive to anyone in particular but it has been a good practice for myself to recap some of the ups and downs, the good weeks and bad weeks of a training cycle. It helps builds my confidence for race day knowing I did what I could and I can’t control the outcome.

I am well aware that these will be small accomplishments for some, too much to even think about doing for others so I will start by saying I have been in the latter’s shoes thinking “no way I will ever run six miles a day on average!” and hope to someday be in the former group saying “that was a great stepping stone to what I am now capable of”. This is simply three months on what I hope is a long journey in endurance sports. It comes after ten years of enjoying running, and about three years of actually attempting to get better at it.

So here are some numbers for the past 11 weeks:

• 280 miles total – Again, that’s two weeks’ worth of mileage for some people (which is insane and usually only because it is their full time job) and too much to attempt for others. For perspective, this is my 6th official half marathon.


• 9 track workouts – These started as 400 meter repeats, moved to 800 repeats, and finally 1600 repeats which I had never done before this training cycle. It was fun to build confidence in going faster for longer. I didn’t wear a tracking watch when I ran in college and I definitely didn’t log my workouts so I really didn’t have anything to compare my times to except training times for the race pace I am trying to hit. Next time around you can be sure I’ll be trying to beat some of the times I logged!

• 3 hill specific workouts – The plan called for three hill workouts in the early weeks of training which I did. I also run a fairly hilly route on a regular basis so felt good about not doing more as the weeks went on.


• 12 tempo or pace runs – These were what I was afraid of attempting. In college I was in the “less fit” group of runners who only had to hold a tempo pace anywhere from 15 – 25 minutes so the thought of doing them for 30 – 60 minutes intimidated me. I remember coming back from the first one that I held an 8:00min / mile pace for 40 minutes and I could hardly believe it. On occasion I used these runs as progression runs if I was tired or sore but sometimes I would warm up then try to hold the tempo pace for the whole 40 – 50 minutes. Most weeks they built my confidence, some weeks they were discouraging but overall I’m grateful I have a lot of them under my belt, or in my shoes, going into race day.


• 11 long runs – Long runs are often defined by the company and the weather and I’m grateful to say I’ve had a great three months of both! On the large group runs I’ve had to choose to run too slow a pace with a slower group then what I should be running, run by myself, or try and keep up with a few gentlemen who hold an easy conversation at about an 8:20 pace. I always took the latter and would end up surprising myself with how good it felt. The constant in addition to unconsciously not wanting to fall behind always helped. I also did quite of few of these on my own around the camp where I live which was more of a mental challenge than a physical one. Not because I was alone but because two hours on a three mile out-and-back gets pretty boring.

• 24 strength sessions – This has been my favorite part and one of the biggest differences in how I have trained in the past. Because I teach classes at our local YMCA it forces me into two full body strength circuits a week. My glutes, quads, hamstrings, hips, back, and core are stronger because of it! 

• Every run outside – despite having a VERY warm fall and multiple days in the summer and end of summer with heat advisories, I had made a resolution to do every run possible outside. I am happy to report that I accomplished it and feel so much stronger for it. Those summer days were not easy, but the added fitness once the temps fall and you have all this extra blood plasma to go around is a great feeling!

Things I didn’t do as well this time around:

• Stretching: I think during marathon training I was so paranoid about the amount of miles I was putting in that I made time for yoga once a week. I have only been to ONE session this entire eleven weeks and I have started to notice it. Tighter hips, tight calves, and the beginnings of arch discomfort to which I am attributing to lack of calf stretching. Time to get back in the yoga groove…I need it and I know it!

• Meal prep and nutrition: During marathon training in the spring I was constantly hungry and did a much better job of creating meals on the weekends, putting together snacks to take to work, and making sure my protein and veggie intake was sufficient. With the lesser miles I tended to think less about it but found myself eating bad snacks and quick dinners too often. I did purchase a copy of the lovely Run Fast Eat Slow cookbook which I have successfully produced five items from: Superhero muffins, Sweat Potato Fries, Fartlek Chili, High Altitude Meatballs, and homemade Simple Marinara sauce. All were delicious and I need to make more of them!


• Hit my intended weekly mileage every week: I’m a low mileage trainer, I always have been. Maybe one day that will change but even with good sleep, better nutrition, and cross training, multiple weeks of 30+ miles usually gets me feeling exhausted and sluggish (and unable to hit the following week’s goals). So, some weeks the planned Friday pace run was replaced by a rest day and instead of being made up on Sunday, easy recovery miles were put in instead. There were a few weeks when it all came together and I did hit every goal pace and every mile I intended so I plan to look back and see if I can correlate that to something specific (more sleep, easier work week etc.). For now, I’m thankful to be done with another 11 weeks of training injury free and not being grumpy because the house is falling apart from lack of time to clean it.


• Race a 10k to determine my fitness level.

My goals for the half marathon:

• “A” goal: 1:45 or faster. I know I am capable of this if the weather is mild and I don’t end up with the flu. Most of my tempo and pace runs have been in the 7:45 – 8:00 per min mile range so I know that with the help of adrenaline and strategy I can do this. It would be a 9-minute PR.

• “B” goal: 1:50 or faster. This I am certain I am capable of. In the spring I ran a half marathon course preview in 1:52 a few weeks post marathon with hardly any training between the full and preview. It was hard but I hadn’t been “training” post marathon and meant to do an easy long run which turned into keeping up with someone (for conversation sake) instead. All that to say, I know I am at least as prepared as I was then and the course will be flatter.

• “C” goal: 1:54 of faster. I basically ran this on Saturday in an easy run and it would still be an official PR so if that doesn’t happen you know I got food poisoning the night before.

*Also, have fun with my husband, visit with old friends, eat good food, and enjoy racing with lots of people from the Joplin running community!

I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me again soon. If you have any questions at all I’d love to answer them!

Also, tell me about your favorite half or full marathon…I’m trying to plan a big one for next year (think big city or destination marathon with a friend) so I need ideas!

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