Week 1 Half Marathon Training

I am training for the InnerAct Alliance Red Ribbon Half Marathon & Run in Lakeland, Florida. This is the inaugural year and the first Half Marathon hosted in Polk County.

InnerAct Red Ribon Half Marathon & Run Lakeland Florida


I talked about it in my last post, that I signed up for a training group. We received our plan last week and officially started on Monday. The group does three runs per week together. Monday had an easy run of 30-40 minutes on the schedule. I was not able to do this workout because of a DEC Steering Committee meeting. I have two Monday after work meetings a month and will have to move that run to Sunday.

The first group run was Tuesday. It started at the Red Door Wine Market in Lakeland. On Tuesday, FITniche hosts a Pub Run and this allowed my small group of six, to run with a much larger group. The training group started with a one mile warm-up. The group is comprised of people with various goals and experience, which is nice because I was worried about being the slowest. The workout had us run the three miles with the larger group with two miles at 10K pace and a one mile cool down.

Red Door Wine Market Pub Run 8-6-13

The route is really pretty and takes you by two lakes. So nice to switch up the scenery from my typical running routes. The place was packed after the run and the food looked pretty good. I definitely plan on eating here with J.

Thursday was my first ever track run.(Not counting being forced every year in school to run on it for the Presidential Physical Fitness test. Not sure what the point of that thing was, there was no chance I was ever going to be able to do a pull-up, so failure was imminent.) We started off with a warm-up run around the track and did some dynamic stretching as a group. The stretching and warm-up exercises are something that I want to start including into my workouts. (The exercises included butt kicks, high knees, and strides.)  Doing a proper warm-up, really helped my body feel ready to move fast.

The track workout consisted of 2×400, 1×800, 1×1600, 1×800, and 2×400. The rest time in between the intervals is half the time it takes you to run. We were each given a goal pace, which worked out to be about our 5K paces. I was surprised that I was able to run each one at about a minute per mile faster than my goal pace. I was definitely pushing but I wonder if I can do that when it’s 91 degrees, am I underperforming in the 5K? The time was a recent 5K time, so it’s not an old time. My track takeaway, painful but I can definitely see the benefit in doing it.

The last run of the week was a six mile run with the group at Mitchell’s Coffee House. I have run with this group before and highly recommend it if you are in the Lakeland area. The run is split into groups doing various distances, today it was 13.1 (the InnerAct Red Ribbon Half Marathon route), nine, six, and three miles. So nice that there is a distance for everyone. The route for the six-mile, takes you past three lakes.

Mitchell's Coffee Run Six Miles Lakeland Florida

The portions that are not around lakes, take you through historic South Lakeland. The houses are really beautiful and unique. It really is an amazing place to run. I love that even through it was early, there are a ton of runners and bikers out trying to avoid the deadly Florida August sun.

I did get one full body strength training session in on Wednesday. I am finally finished with Stage Three of The New Rules Of Lifting For Women. I do want to continue to Stage Four but am starting to get bored with doing the same exercises. I am seeing progress physically and with my strength but it might be time to try something new.

My first week running with a training group was great and I cannot wait for week two!

Half Marathon Training Week Thirteen

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.

Half Marathon Training Week 13

Key Workouts:

Easy Run: 1/3

Speed Work: 1/1

Long Run: 1/1

Cross Training: 0

Strength Training: 0/2

Total Miles: 26.9

This week life got in the way of working out. It is amazing that when I am out of work, I can still be too busy to fit in a run. Spending more time focusing on political organizing and job finding is important right now, so I will have to make it work.

I finished two books this week.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me And Other Concerns Mindy Kaling.


(Review found here.)

Speak by laurie Halse Anderson


(Review coming soon but this book was amazing and a must read.)

I ran my longest run so far on Saturday. 14.02 miles! I feel more confident for Sunday after this run. I ran the entire run Celebration which was just beautiful. The tree-lined streets, the wide sidewalks, and a great breeze came together for just a wonderful run. Typically, I run with my phone so I can listen to talk radio on Sirius. Of course on my longest run ever, my phone decides to cut my battery life in half, and leaves me with no entertainment for the vast majority of this run. I did learn that I much prefer to have the radio than not. (Also, that being alone with just my thoughts for hours is interesting.)

This graph excited me. February was my first month to go over 100 miles.

Monthly Miles

Seems like an accomplishment. I just wish there were more hours of cross training and strength training in there. When I think about my new goals after this race on Sunday, I will be reevaluating fitting more of those two key components in. It is important to do more than just run.

As my runs get longer, and I don’t know how often I would run farther than 14 training for half’s, but I may need to make an adjustment to my FuelBelt. I now run with this model.

FuelBelt Revenge R20


I have the FuelBelt Revenge R20 with a larger pouch to fit my pepper spray and Cliff Shot Bloks. As the weather gets warmer and my runs potentially get longer, I am running out of water with only the two water bottles. There are times when I can refill but it is not always practical.

FueldBelt Revenge 4-Bottle Belt


Going with a four bottle model may be more practical for the summer. I use plain water with GU or Shot Bloks, maybe using a sports drink like Nuun or Hammer Endurolytes Fizz might help. My plan is to start experimenting to see if a water bottle full of water plus sports drink is helpful.

Half Marathon Training Week Eleven

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.

Half Marathon Training Week Eleven

Key Workouts:

Easy Runs: 5/5

Strength Training: 1/2

Total Miles: 29.27

This week was a step-down week that only contained easy runs. It was a nice mental break from a long run that eats its way through a huge chunk of my Saturday. I felt strong and rested throughout the week and my body responded well to the lighter week. I did do Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zones on Wednesday which did leave me sore on Thursday and Friday.

I have speed on my mind a lot lately. Obviously, the goal in racing is to improve your time which I do think I am right on target for a faster half this time around than my first. What I have been thinking about is how to proceed after this training cycle to improve my speed. I do want a sub-30 5K. Being at the end of a training cycle, it can be difficult to remember how you felt at the beginning. Are these miles getting easier? Is my body stronger from adding the additional day of running?

Going back through my Garmin data, it does look like I have gotten a bit faster. With my easy runs, I do not aim for any particular speed but run what feels like a comfortable pace. This can vary based on the temperature and how I feel but seems to vary by a minute per mile either way.

This is my average pace for my most recent easy runs.

Average Pace 2-6 to 2-14

This is my average pace for easy runs at the end of December.

Average Pace 12-26 to 1-9

Longer runs with slightly faster average speeds all run at a comfortable pace means I’m getting faster, right?

I guess time will tell on March 4th.

Half Marathon Training Week Nine

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.

Half Marathon Training Week Nine

Key Workouts:

Easy Runs: 3/3

Speedwork: 1/1 4 x 1600 with 800 jobs in between

Long Run: 1/1

Strength Training: 0/2

Total Miles: 35.14

This is my highest mileage week yet. I am still adjusting to running five days a week but felt strong through the week. The long run was supposed to be 14 miles but I felt good with doing 12. I am still coming back from two weeks of nearly no running because of being sick and have over a month until my half to get in a few 14 miles runs.

I did not do any strength or cross training this week. It is a struggle to do two workouts in a day and after four days of running, I needed a break on Friday.

One of the best benefits from this training cycle is that I know I can run a half. The focus is on what is and isn’t working to meet my time goal. I am feeling faster this time around and know the Tempo and Speedwork is helping.

Half Marathon Training Weeks Seven And Eight

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.


Not much to say about week seven. I was still very sick and was only able to fit in one run.


Week eight I was finally able to get back on track. Being able to breathe again and not feeling like complete death were also nice.

Key Workouts:

Easy Runs: 3 for 3

Tempo Run: 0 for 1

Long Run: 1 for 1 with the caveat that I had 14 miles on the schedule but ended up doing seven in the morning ( I had a meeting and did not get up early enough to do 14) and three in the afternoon. The afternoon run was supposed to be seven but just doing the three was difficult enough. Whenever I have a long run and a meeting or somewhere to be on Saturday, I rarely get the mileage in. I need to work on spending less time drinking coffee and looking at the internet in the morning and more time getting out earlier to start running.

Strength: Jillian Michaels: No More Trouble Zones DVD

Total Miles: 22.31

During week seven, I adjusted my training plan (I’m using SmartCoach from Runner’s World) to increase my mileage. I have more time to run while looking for a job and want to focus on higher weekly mileage. My hope here is that this increase will help with my speed. The amount of time I am spending at home, it is nice to be out running. It helps clear my mind and focus on what my next step should be.

Training plans should be fluid and adaptable to life changes. It is a testament to how great the SmartCoach plan is that it is so adaptable.

Do you have a hard time getting back on track after being sick?

Half Marathon Training Week Five

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.

I finished December, and this week of training, with my best month of training yet.


This week was a step-down week, filled with all easy runs and my first week running for five days. I feel like I adjusted well.

Key Workouts

Easy Runs: Five for five

Cross Training:

Dance Trance (Still awesome and still have two left feet.)

No Yoga this week but was so hung over on Sunday, I do not think I would have made it. (Or that anyone would have wanted to be in class anywhere near me.)

Total Miles:19.94

Planned Miles: 20

Must strength train is going to be my new motto. I have another week where some days are two or three miles, so fitting it in should work.

I am surprised that running five days was easier than I thought it would. The most I have done before is four days but the way this plan introduces it on an easier week, I think makes it more mentally palatable. Waiting to see how it feels when there are harder runs in the schedule but so far, so good.

How many days per week do you like to run? Is there a certain point where you burnout? Did you skip any days last week because of being hung over?

Half Marathon Training Week Four

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow. 

Another week of eating and drinking plus lots of time off work. I think my training improved greatly with the amount of time off. Maybe I can have a two day work week with the same pay?


Key Workouts:

Easy Run: One out of two.

Tempo Run: Total of six miles with four at tempo.

Long Run: 12 Miles

Cross Training:

Dance Trace which I am still loving.

Yoga which I always love.

Total Miles: 21.06

Planned Miles: 24

I need to fit in more strength training and will need to give up having two rest days a week to do so. I run after work and before dinner during the week. Should I try strength training in the morning? I cannot push dinner back any later or we will be eating it the next day and J may file for divorce.

The reason I skipped the second easy run this week was because I was a little sore from Dance Trance and thought my long run would go better on fully rested legs. As my body gets used to Dance Trance, this may change but maybe a Yoga class the next day would work well.

How do you modify your plan to fit it all in?

Half Marathon Training Weeks Two And Three

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page.

It has been a busy past few weeks with all the shopping and pie eating. The weather cooling off is making running easier but I could do without running in the dark. I do enjoy seeing all the Christmas lights and wish my neighbors would leave them up year round. It makes the one and a half mile neighborhood loop, much more interesting.

Doing all of my runs, especially the longer ones, solo is starting to get to me. Even though I love listening to talk radio or Howard Stern, it would be nice to run with other people sometimes. The closest running club to me is the Lakeland Runners Club. I am contemplating joining in the new year.

Week 2:


I got in my speed work but my long run was a total disaster. I was supposed to run 11 miles but instead ran 4.27. At least the police were involved so I have some excuse but would have rather gotten in the mileage. There was zero cross training this week.

Key Workouts:

Easy Run: One out of two.

Speedwork: Total of six miles with 3×1600 with 800 jogs.

Long Run: 4.27 out of 11 miles.

Week 3:


This week I did every run in the plan plus three cross training workouts. I am so glad I finally tried Dance Trance but probably should not have done the class and then run 11 miles on Saturday. Everything hurt on Sunday. Luckily, I was able to make it Yoga and that helped immensely.

Key Workouts:

Easy Run: Two out of two.

Tempo Run: Six miles total with four at tempo.

Long Run: 11 miles

Do you run with a group or solo?

Any experience with joining a running club? I must admit to being a little nervous about it. (What if I’m the slowest person there and onward though my normal list of neurosis.)