Something New

Now that my so-called “spring” half marathons are done, it’s time to look ahead and set some new goals. I saw progress in my training at both the DC RNR half and the B&A half in Annapolis, but now it’s time to really work on my speed. To do that, I am going to do something new – and something I have never done before: train for a 5k!

What?! How can I claim I have never trained for a 5k with the number of years I’ve been running and the dozens of 5ks I’ve completed? Well, yes I have run a ton, but I have never trained specifically for one. I either just went out and did it because I knew I was capable of running 3.1 miles, or in the case of my speedier ones, I just ran them in the midst of training for another longer distance race.

Hal Higdon’s plans have proven successful for me in the past, so I’m going with him again for this one. I have chosen an 8 week advanced 5k plan culminating in the Alexandria Running Festival 5k on May 24.


So, what are my goals for this?
My pie-in-the-sky dream goal is to break 20-minutes in a 5k. My current PR stands at 21:25, so that would be a dramatic jump, but a small part of me believes this is possible and plans to throw reality out the window for the next eight weeks and go for it. My B goal is to set a new PR. Since that PR has stood for quite some time now, I would still be pretty thrilled with this outcome. My C goal if training doesn’t go quite as planned is to get back to a sub-22 5k time and have an excellent base to spring me back into BQ marathon training!

Will I have any other races along the way?
Yes, in fact I have a handful planned over the next two months to give me a chance to see where I’m at and have some fun picking up the pace. You’ll see me at:

Let me know if I’ll see you at any of these races and tell me about your upcoming goals and races!

In Training: Shamrock Half Marathon

After almost two months of my no-plan-training-plan, I must say I’m very excited to be starting a regimented plan again. I know both my body and my mind needed the break as I was pretty burned out after an up and down year of racing. It also gave me the chance to get a whole lot of spinning and strength stuff in that I sometimes let slip when I’m running more often. Still, my motivation was pretty low so I just wasn’t getting out there and running nearly as much as I would have liked, so now it’s time to change that.

I’ll have my race calendar up soon, but my target spring race is the Virginia Beach Half Marathon that is part of the Shamrock Marathon weekend. It’s also the site of an Oiselle team meet-up, so I’m super pumped to get to fly fast with a bunch of my fellow birds!

I’m back to training on my own without a coach, so as usual I’ve been doing obsessive research into the best possible training plans for me for this race. I settled on my old favorite – the Hal Higdon Advanced Half plan. I’m a big fan of Hal’s plans and have had success with them in the past.

Hal Higdon Training Programs


While I have a goal of getting in as many of the planned workouts as possible, I also want to make sure I stay flexible. By that I mean a few things including being smart and knowing when my body might need a break as well as not missing out on group workouts/runs because it’s not the exact mileage I have on tap for the day.

In addition to my runs and strength training built into the plan, I’ll be spinning at Revolve when I can fit it in, stretching A LOT and becoming good friends with my foam roller!

I don’t have a goal time for the race yet, but I do have a PR in mind knowing it’s a very flat course. After I have a few more weeks of training under my belt I’ll have an update for you on my race goals.

Have you used the Hal Higdon plans before? How’d it work out for you? What other training plans do you like?




Nike Women’s Half Marathon DC: Here I Come!

My first goal race of 2013 is the Nike Women’s half marathon in Washington D.C., and I cannot wait! Monday marked the start of my official training plan. I kicked things off with a cross training and strength training day before hitting the hills this morning. I’ve decided to follow the Hal Higdon advanced half marathon plan, but am switching the Monday and Wednesday runs to cross training days. As much as I want to get back to running six days a week, I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet and don’t want to overdo things again this year only to end up re-injured.

I’m a bit annoyed at myself for paying 100 bucks more for this race than my last full marathon (this was $160), but sometimes the experience is worth the cost and I’m hoping that’s the case with this one. It’s the inaugural race in D.C., so I’m excited to be a part of it. I love that Nike partners with Team in Training – an awesome organization that supports the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and also the group I ran my first marathon with. Another bonus…instead of a medal when you cross the finish line, you’re given a little blue box with a Tiffany’s necklace in it!

I ran the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco way back in 2005. I’m not sure why, but I remember less about this race than any other marathon I’ve done, but I do recall it being pretty well organized and a fun event. It was marathon number two for me and I’ve come a long ways since then. I had so much energy in college that I could go out and run a marathon without really training (just very slowly), and I also didn’t really know the right ways to train for a race. I had a basic 3-day-a-week and one long weekend run plan that I kind of, sort of followed as the semester got busier. Unfortunately, it was usually the long runs that I didn’t always fit in.

Race nutrition wasn’t something I’d even heard about. I thought people eating along the course needed to suck it up. I mean going 4 to 5 hours without food shouldn’t be that difficult, right? Oh, I had so much to learn. I’m fairly certain my pre-race meal the night before was at a bar where I had a grilled cheese sandwich and a Miller Lite. OK, it was two Miller Lites. What was I thinking?!

Needless to say, I will be A LOT more prepared for the Nike Half. I learn more with each race I do and can’t wait to put my latest knowledge into action as I take on this course. I love racing in my own backyard and that’s what this course feels like. I know and have repeatedly run every inch of it, which I think will be a huge benefit come race day. We’ll get some awesome views of the monuments along the Mall, do an over and back on Memorial Bridge, pass by the Kennedy Center, brave Hains Point and finish up on Pennsylvania Ave not too far from the White House. I’ll also get to do a dress rehearsal a few weeks earlier at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler which follows a similar course.

My goal for the race is 1:38:15, which would be a 5-minute PR and a 7:30 pace. I’m going to have to really kick it up a notch in my training to get back to running at that pace and be able to sustain it for that long. My fastest pace for a longer distance race to date is 7:40, but that was also “only” a 10 miler, so it’s an ambitious goal, but one I think I can reach if I prep right. I also know a whole bunch of people who are also running this race, which makes it even more fun.

Let me know if you’re running the DC Nike Half as well and what your goal is for the race – can’t wait to see everyone out there on April 28!