I ran my current half marathon PR (1:45) at the Augusta Half Marathon back in February. That race was essentially part of training for the Delaware Marathon – I wasn’t following a specific half marathon plan, though I felt very fit going into it from marathon training. To date, this is still one of my favorite races.
While I have 16 half marathons under my belt, most I trained for without any real time goals. When I first started out and my mom and I ran our first half, it was all about finishing. While I did start to think about faster times with each subsequent race, I would say I was pretty disorganized about it. Generally, I would just look up what pace I needed to run to hit a PR and then hope for the best on race day. Maybe I would try to do 2-3 runs at that pace during training. But it was pretty low-key.
That’s easy to get away with when you’re first starting out and able to make huge jumps in progress just as you become more experienced as a runner, but it gets harder as your times get faster. For example, between my first and second half marathons, I shaved 10 minutes off from a 2:15 to a 2:05. For me to shave 10 minutes off my current PR, and run a 1:35, I would have to run a 7:15/mile pace for 13.1 miles. That’s not going to happen by accident.
I’ve already noticed that my PRs are shrinking in size with each race. From my previous personal best in the half to Augusta was a 3-minute drop. My first marathon to my second was a 40-minute improvement (26.2 miles makes for a lot of opportunity to make up time!). But my second to my third was a 4-minute improvement.
What all of this means is that at this point in my running career, PRs are only going to come with clear and goal-oriented training. I can’t wing it anymore. With that in mind, I’ve picked my next half marathon where I’ll be gunning for a new PR – the Half at the Hamptons on March 5th in Hampton, NH. It won’t be a new state unfortunately, but sometimes it is easier to go for a big goal without adding the stress of travel on top of it. And this will be a big goal. Because I am hoping to break 1:40 for the first time.
Wish me luck!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow – who will also be running a Turkey Trot???