Running

Half Marathon Training Goals

It’s finally here! Fall training is about to start at my local running shop. (They call it “Fall Training” because the race is in October even though it is clearly still Summer right now.) This will be my 5th group training, but only my second half marathon.

In some ways I am less scared than I was when Spring training started. I know I am physically capable of finishing 13.1 miles, so there isn’t that fear of complete failure. I’m not afraid that I will have to stop 7 miles in completely unable to take another step. I’m not afraid that the training will be so hard and intense that I will give up after 4 weeks. However, I still am afraid I won’t accomplish my goals for this training.

In some ways my goal for my first half was simple: I just wanted to finish. I didn’t care if it took 2 hours or 2 days, as long as I crossed the finish line. (Okay, the race coordinators might have cared if it took two days, but with a course time limit of 7 hours I wasn’t too worried.) This time around I have a list of goals I would like to achieve, and I am afraid of the disappointment I will feel if I don’t reach them.

I know it is important to not have too many running related goals at once. It is overwhelming and can lead to injury if you try to run faster and stronger and further all at once, but there are certainly plenty of running related goals that can be worked on simultaneously. Still, I have to be careful. I am all too familiar with waking up with a burst of motivation and setting 16 goals but then burning out after 3 days because I am overwhelmed and exhausted.

The Goals:

So, keeping all of that in mind, here all my goals for Fall Half Marathon Training 2017:

  1. PR -As with most runners, I aim to set a personal record at this event. I am not fast by a long shot, so I try very hard to not compare my race times to others. However, I would like to compare myself to myself and beat my last time.
  2. Adhere to the types of runs called for in the training plan – I didn’t really understand the importance of keeping easy runs easy until the end of Spring training when I was completely fatigued and burnt out. I also never had the energy to do any speed training because I ran every run at the same level. This time around I want to run easy runs easy, hard runs hard, and speed runs speedily.
  3. Pay attention to what I am eating from the beginning – I had the vague notion that what you eat before or after a run could affect your training, but I didn’t really believe it until my weekly mileage ramped up over 15 miles/week. Prior to January I had never run further than 3-4 miles at a time and certainly not 15+ miles per week consistently. When I first started running I could get away with fried foods or beers on a week night and not notice anything when running the next day. Those habits made the first third of Spring training harder than it needed to be. I want to continue the healthy eating habits I built in the second half of Spring training through all of Fall.
  4. Incorporate some cross training into my weekly workouts – Speed work isn’t the only way to build speed. A solid core, proper running form, and cross training all help as well. I’ve already started my plank workouts at work. I would like to continue to include core work weekly, and add more full body strength work. Even some squats here and shoulder presses there is better than the absolutely nothing I did in Spring training.
  5. Stay injury free – This is really always a goal, but an important aspect of goal setting is to write out the goal and how you plan to achieve it. So here it is in writing. I plan to prioritize stretching, foam rolling, warm-ups, and cool-downs. The extra slight inconvenient 10-20 minutes this might add to a run is worth it compared to the complete and total inconvenience of an injury.

Sometimes I look at this list and think that really isn’t too much, and other times it seems like a lot. Thankfully, goals 3 and 5 are pretty much routine for me right now, so those are more about maintaining than building new habits. As for the other 3, I know I have the support of my family and local running community as well as all of you here in the virtual running community. Thank you all for continuing to inspire me and I look forward to sharing my journey with you.

Questions (leave your answers in the comments):

What are your current running goals?

What keeps you motivated during training?

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