Half Marathon Training Week 4 – What’s this change all about?

Half Marathon Training Week 4

Week 4 has been a bit of a humbling week. I took my first break from scheduled program, and maybe pushed myself a little too hard on the outset.

Here’s how Week 4 shakes out:

Week 4 Training Schedule



Another Jillian Video (No More Trouble Zones), but this time I moved it to Week 2 on the videos. It was more difficult and I felt more strained at the end.

I guess that’s a good thing, but boy was I tired.


Got so exhausted from yesterday’s workout that I struggled through this pace run. I ended up going a little slower than normal for the pace run, about 8.5mph, and as you can tell, I should have been going a bit faster, according to my calculations.


Wednesday is where I sort of hit a wall. Maybe I was feeling the burn still from Monday, or maybe it’s because I had thrown too many speed runs in this week. Between my life outside of training and that hardcore session on Monday, I decided to skip Wednesday’s run and make it a rest day.

This is totally fine, and I don’t feel bad about it.

One of the worst things you can do is overtrain yourself. This leads to injury. I’ve been successful in that I feel like I’ve never overtrained myself in my 6 years of running. It’s ok to take a break every now and again, and it took me 4 weeks into my plan, which I think is pretty successful.


Ahh, yes, my dreaded Yasso day! I never used to hate these things until now. I used to basically go the opposite plan, where I’d find out how fast I can run that 800m and then I’d get an idea of my finish time. Now I’m planning to a finish time, and this plan is all of a sudden SO TOUGH!

I’m proud to say I finished my first full Yasso at 10.6mph for 3m 11s! The next two were slower and not full runs, but still respectable. I didn’t even care, I got a full Yasso in without banging my head on the treadmill.


With skipping Wednesday’s run, I felt compelled to get something extra in. I decided to do Yoga on Friday and it made me feel great.

I’ve been really happy with adding yoga into the mix this time around. I highly recommend it to you runners out there, even if you’re a complete beginner like me.


A shorter and slower long run of 6 mi is just what the doctor ordered for this week. It gave me a chance to get my bearings from the haphazard week, and regain some confidence. It was still a tough and faster long run, but I’m building up some great endurance, and I’m very happy with that.


Finished off the week with another pace run, with hill training mixed in. These hills were GIANT, at 11 degree inclines going 5.5-6.0 mph.


The week was a mixed bag, really. At times I’d feel super strong, and other times I could barely continue. I think that there’s a certain level of fluidity in my schedule. Making small changes here and there is ok with me, if it means success overall.

I’m listening to my body and what it’s telling me.

Coming up next week, I’ve got a bit of a change for everyone, and I’m pretty excited for it!

It’s something I’ve been planning for, and it’s a bit of a departure from my regular training as well as these posts you’ve gotten used to. I hope to be able to switch it up and kick it up a notch to really reach my goal.

Look for that update on the future of the training later in the week!

Half Marathon Training Week 3 – Did Jillian Michaels just call me a “Lady”?


The training groove has set in. I’ve hit a stride where the training is getting easier to fit into the week, and I look forward to preparing for each different session, as opposed to just hopping on the treadmill.

There were some feelings of failure in last week’s training, but Week 3 proved to be very solid.

Let’s break it down for you into useful chunks:

Week 3 Marathon Training Schedule


I got a chance to try out the Yoga for Runners DVD, and it was pretty good! It was full of poses that I don’t think I’ve found in my searches on Youtube, and the program is made by a runner, for runners, which I find comforting and helpful.

I found a great write-up by Jessica from A Little More Each Day. Check out her review, it’s very thorough and informative!

The DVD is broken out into sections, making it easier to digest when pressed for time, like on a Monday night.


I cut back 5 min on the pace run, and that made me feel awesome because I actually made it through the pace run with no breaks! It was also a 9.0 mph pace, which is faster that the minimum.


I used a tougher Jillian Michaels’ video this week, No More Trouble Zones which was almost twice as long as the other workout sessions. I forgot how brutal it can get towards the end, when you just want to stop.

There’s also something about being called a lady by a buff Jillian that makes me feel like I should keep on going strong through the whole workout.


Yasso 800s are still kicking my ass. I still haven’t finished a full round of even 1. I am going to get these tackled one way or another because they are the best thing around for guaranteeing a finish time.

Next week, maybe, when I have the strength gains of doing Wednesday’s strength training session.


Saturday was a great long run, I did not stop the whole way, I used it as a slower run, and I felt great afterward.

I’ve also made a modification to the whole rest of the schedule to have long runs on Saturdays. This seems to work better because I feel a lull that comes in throughout the day, and as the runs get longer, I think Saturdays will be better to find the time for them than Sundays.


Sunday was supposed to act as a recovery run, but Saturday went so well that it became a speed run. I used the treadmill to climb up to 10 degrees incline, and I went through the whole 50 min yoga session afterward.


As you can see, the week of training had a solid mix of a slow run, a fast run, strength and recovery. The balance in the week of working out, the dedication of not missing a run, and the discipline of keeping the diet reigned in is starting to shape a great beginning to a training plan.

Sure, it’s tough carving out time to do all of this almost every day. When I think about skipping a run, I envision the race that’s just weeks away.

I envision being unsure of the preparation and work that’s been put in leading up to that day. I can already see myself there now. Skipping a run won’t be doing me any favors, and so I continue.

Are you doing any training for an upcoming race? I’d love to hear how its going!

Half Marathon Training Week 2 – If I collapse, will the dogs come get me?

Half Marathon Training Week 2

This week, I ran into a big hairy problem on Thursday. It almost got me questioning: Did I really put out to the world that I’m going to finish a half marathon with my best PR ever? Scary to say the least.

That kind of broadcasting is exactly what is called for in my training, though. I need to have an audience holding me accountable on this one. I’ve told several running buddies about this new PR, as well as on social media and this blog.

Accountability partners are so key when reaching new goals.

Here’s what week 2 consisted of in terms of my training plan:

Half Marathon Training Week 2


Cross-Training (CT) has always been difficult for me.

I think this is a tough thing for many runners. There’s something about strength training that just seems easy to avoid altogether. I’ve trained for entire marathons without strength, which I actually don’t recommend.

The secret that I’ve found, though, is that the strength work is what keeps you going faster and farther. It’s going to be my secret sauce, and I’m taking it seriously this time.

My CT of choice so far has been Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30, for its ease of availability and use. I can come home and know I can have a choice between 3 different levels of workouts that I don’t have to think about.

It’s a tough 30 min workout and it’s relatively cheap, cost-wise. The only complaint with this I would say is that the menu previews on the DVD can not be skipped, so I end up wasting almost 5-10 minutes when I want to just get into the action.


This week, Kristin was on board for yoga with me!

We pulled out both mats and searched Youtube for Beginner Yoga and found Yoga with Adrienne series (check her out here). She has some good videos that are well-produced, but it is a little moderate for a beginner course. I couldn’t keep form for long, and Kristin was pretty sore the next day.

Kristin & Yoga

The time it took me to find an adequate video led me to believe there had to be something better out there. Some Yoga for runners, perhaps…

Enter Christine Felstead’s Yoga for Runners: The Essentials. Looking around for a good DVD on Yoga, this seemed to be well recommended on Amazon. I haven’t tried it yet, but I will be sure to let you know how it goes next week.


20 min pace run went much better than last week’s 15 min. The strength from the previous week’s CT was present. I had about a 7:05 pace, and I keep telling myself that the pace runs get faster, and that I’m not yet fast enough. I’ll have to shave off at least :15 per on this, and I want to cut even more to be safe.

Pace runs are where success is born. I can’t get faster unless I train faster, so these runs will be vital to overcome!


Yasso 800s are a true test of preparedness.

I’ve been using them in my training for a long time, and they’ve always been really good indicators of performance capability.

After Thursday’s run, it was obvious I have some tough work cut out for me if I want to achieve this PR.

FYI: The idea behind the Yasso 800 is to run 800m relative to a goal pace finish. I’ve always used them for marathon times, but they can also be calculated for half-marathons.

With Yasso 800s, if you want to finish a marathon in 3hrs 45 min, you run 800m (or about 0.5 miles) in 3 min 45 sec, and then jog for 3min 45 sec, repeating up to 10 times.


This week, I started with 2x Y800s, and I had planned to run 0.5mi in 3min 10sec. I was running at a speed of 10.6mph, the fastest I’ve probably ever run. I only ran for 2min instead of 3, and I even slowed down on the second one.

Total running time was less than 10 min. and I was ready to collapse.

Something in me just could not run that fast that long. I thought I was going to fly off the treadmill. It worries me that I’ve set too audacious a goal, but I’m going to hit it again next week and see how it goes.


While I had planned some strength training, I switched it up this week to run a 6mi. I waited until very late in the day to do this, and running 6 miles was easier than doing strength and cardio. Sometimes you just gotta switch it up.


Did a strength session of Jillian Michaels, and then a brief 20 min run to loosen everything up. A solid end to a solid week of training.


I’m really glad I’m making my own schedule. I feel in tune to what I’m doing and I don’t feel bad about adjusting as I go. There is something about taking action and controlling your own success that is so empowering.

Has anyone else ever tried their own running schedule? How has it been going for you? I’d love to get your insights!


Half Marathon Training Week 1


The first week of using my own training plan has been going surprisingly well, but not without its hiccups.

I’m planning for a 1h 30min PR, which will put me at a pace of at least 6:50/per mile, and I should be shooting for a little faster than that in order to ensure that I’m meeting my pace.

On the treadmill, which is where I do most of my training, that means no slower than 8.8 mph. I don’t know about you, but for me, this is fast!

After the first day of speed, I was worried that this goal was too audacious for me. I wasn’t huffing and puffing, but it was still hard to keep up & pain was present. By the end of the week, things have been progressing much better, and I’m already feeling stronger.

Here is what I’ve planned so far:

Training Schedule Week 1

I’m still tweaking the schedule by making sure that there is enough slow and fast-paced days. While I don’t have a heart rate monitor just yet, I’m trying to really key into my heart rate and know when I’m at a low, medium or high heart rate.

I’ve also added Yoga in for the first time, because as I run these very fast speeds, I tend to tighten up much faster, so I’m trying to counteract any issues down the road.

Here’s what I’ve learned from past speed races:

I find structure to be especially important when hitting a new goal. At last year’s half-marathon, I felt like I was guessing all the time with training. Though it did get me a good finishing time last year, I probably could have done much better. This year, I’m vowing to do better.

Here are some things I’m starting to do differently, because it seems they actually work. It also seems to be where I falter in setting awesome times.

1. Knowing the course.

I noticed in my last 5K run that I was doing pretty great, but my downfall was not knowing the course. I faltered in the last few minutes by losing steam with an added turn.

My mind and body were not prepared to do another loop. I was so close to getting in the top 10, but because of my shortcomings, I was not able to get into that top 10 timeframe. That won’t happen this time around.

I’m going to be making a trip or two around the course before race day, to get a feel for what I’m up against. I’ve honestly never done this before, but it seems like a great and important plan.

2. Planning for hills and other tough spots.

Good old-fashioned hill training should do the trick. Have you ever heard the mantra “I eat hills for breakfast”? That will be me. My treadmill goes to a 15% incline, and that is way more than anyone needs!



3. Analyzing previous race times and training runs

Here’s a breakdown of last year by the numbers. At last year’s half marathon, I was 86th overall out of 1155 registered finishers. I was 13th in my age group. After how much I trained last year (not excellent), I should easily be getting in the top 10 in my age group this year.

Based on last years numbers, when I get my goal of 1:30 finish time, I’ll be in the overall top 20 finishers, in the top 7 runners of my age group, and in the top 2% of total course participants.

4. Visualizing my plan daily.

This means seeing the run I will have, even when its 90+ days away. It means pushing though a tough 20 minute run, even though I feel like calling it done after 15.

This means feeling like I’m running the marathon at every training run. It means not giving up, not waiting until “later”. Just getting it in & getting it done.

In Summary

It’s been a tough but rewarding week. I’ve had some great success, and I’m already starting to see changes. In the next post we’ll go into the diet and meal planning Kristin and I are on, and how it is helping both of us achieve even greater things.


My Next Running Goal!

Running in Japan

Accomplishments breed Progress.

Thus far, I’ve achieved two huge running milestones for myself: a sub 4 hour marathon, and an ultra. It’s hard to determine what’s next when you’ve already achieved what you thought might be impossible.

The vision must get bigger and bolder. What can one do in running when they’ve already hit their goals?

Do it Faster!

Coming off the slower but longer pace of the 50K run, I was pondering another street race. There’s something about flat-out speed that just gets really exciting. The speed bug always comes back!

What Race to do?

After some thought, I’m going to run the Cincinnati Half-Marathon Too!, on October 19th, 2014.

I ran in last year’s Cincy Half Marathon exactly one year ago from this race. Aside from the cold and rainy weather, it was a really good half-marathon starting at Sawyer Point & taking me around downtown Cincinnati.

Cincy Half 2013

Frank Dejulius and I after my 1st Half Marathon!

Believe it or not, last year was my first half-marathon, after 6+ years of running. I’d never gotten around to one of the most popular running distances out there!

It was a well-routed and well-marked course, and I had a great time, even despite the rain. It’s also sponsored by our good friends at Fleet Feet Sports!

All successes aside, there were a couple of issues from my first Half Marathon:

1. Unknown finish time

One of my toughest things to plan for last year was determining a finishing time. I didn’t really know what kind of time I’d be able to achieve. This is always a problem with initial PR’s (“Personal records” – Best time in a specific race length).

Last year I made a good PR of 1:42:20, because it was my first, and therefore best, time. It was pretty good, but for me, I felt like I was unsure of my true limits the whole time.

The main problem with last years race was that I didn’t have a good PLAN for how to run a half-marathon. I’m going to fix that this year.

2. Training schedule woes

I’ve always relied on others’ training schedules to carry me through a race. To me, it was great seeing everything laid out and not really having to think about a plan & just follow what someone else had made.

The problem with relying on someone else was I never did find a half-marathon training program that I liked or even used well.

I’m going to look at this year’s Half Marathon in a whole new way by owning my training.

This year, I’m making my Own training schedule!


Up until now, I’ve always been a follower with running. The 50K I did in June instilled in me that I NEED to start becoming a leader.

I’ve learned a lot over the past years of running, and it will all culminate into this upcoming training plan. I now know my body and personal schedule enough to craft a good plan.

Not only will this give me a tailor-made plan, but it will shift my race preparation into a new realm where I become the owner of my destiny.

I’ll be continuing this story in the next several months leading up to the big day. I’m excited to share this with the Hello Flecks community. I’m going to show how I fit training into an already busy schedule, as well as some success and failure points along the way.

Follow along with me, and I will share information that you can use to fuel your goals, whether they are running-related or otherwise.

I’m really looking forward to this, and I know you’ll find this info to be a great resource for you!

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