US Half Marathon Recap. Boston Training begins.

Two weeks ago, I opened up my 2014 season at the US Half Marathon Championships in Houston, Texas.  Having only been back into training for about 6 weeks, I traveled to Texas with tempered expectations.  The main goal was to get a fitness barometer before beginning my Spring marathon training block.  The result? I ran 1:04:34, the second-fastest half marathon of my career. Granted, that time was only good enough for 27th place, which isn’t anything to get too excited about.  But considering where I was on Jan. 1st, I’ll absolutely take it.

This was my road. For an entire week!

This was my road. For an entire week!

December was a rough month for me.  Right as I was getting back into my training, Eugene was hit with its worst snowstorm since the 1970s, followed by a week-long cold spell – I guess we are calling that a polar vortex now?  Nonetheless, it was a lost week of training.  Then, towards the end of the month, I began having some problems with my knee.  My training was again sporadic.  I was finally able to string together 3 solid weeks of work leading into the race, but I knew a few good weeks wasn’t going to be enough to put me where I wanted to be.  I remember telling Ian before leaving for Houston that I would be happy with anything under 65 minutes.  I can admit now that 65-minutes was probably a lofty goal given the workouts I had been doing.  But Ian was confident that I could run somewhere between 64-65 minutes, so that became a secondary goal.

Houston greeted us with fantastic weather on race day: clear skies, calm winds, and perfect temps.  I wanted so badly that morning to be in better shape because it’s not often that you get nice weather coupled with a fast course and great competition.  But no amount of wishing was going to make that happen now.

As the race began, I found myself running alongside a group of about 10-15 guys.  We were all a part of a second pack that had formed shortly after the first couple of miles; the first 15 guys ran 29:10 for their first 10k, the dozen or so guys that made up the group I was in made it through 10k in 30:05.  Although I had felt surprisingly good through this point in the race, I knew that it was going to be difficult to maintain that pace.  A 30-min 10k puts you on pace for a 63-low half marathon, which would have been a big PR for me.  Knowing I wasn’t in PR-shape, I talked myself into hanging on with the group as long as I could.  That ended up only being another few miles.  Luckily for me, a few more guys were coming on strong so I was able to work with them over the last 5k of the race and they pulled me to a somewhat unexpected 64:34.

The guys who were in the my group at the 10k, ended up finishing somewhere between 1:03:15 and 1:04:21.  Like I said earlier, it was definitely a missed opportunity.  However, I left Houston knowing that I’m certainly capable of running a sub-64 minute half marathon if I am training well.  Running under 64-minutes is big a goal of mine, because I know that it will help my marathon progress immensely.  I’m confident that my strengths translate much better in the marathon than many of those who finished ahead of me.

Thanks go out to Houston, and the race staff, for once again doing a phenomenal job hosting what has become a first-class event.  They pour a ton of financial support into American distance running, and as a result were rewarded with one of the fastest American half marathons, in terms of depth, of all-time.

Another thank you is in order for my wonderful family.  My cousin and her family, along with my aunt and uncle, proved once again that family does in fact come before sleep.  They are notorious among the Houston marathon fandom for being some of the first arriving spectators each year that I run.  An added bonus is that they spoil me afterwards with a great home-cooked meal and a nice comfy couch on which to nap.  Thank y’all!

With Houston in the rear-view mirror, my sights are now squarely focused ahead on this Spring’s Boston Marathon.  I’m now two weeks into my training and things are going well.  I just capped off a 22-mile long run/workout to finish out 125-mile week.  I told myself on today’s run that I was going to try and post more regularly during this cycle, so I made a pact with myself to publish my training each week.  Hopefully, this will give you some insight as to how my training is structured.  And although I don’t expect anyone running a marathon to adopt my routine, I do think there are some general themes that translate into running a marathon, whatever time goal you have in mind.

  AM PM Total
Monday 45 mins S&C; 10 miles 6 miles 16
Tuesday 8 x hill circuit (300m). 12 miles. 6 miles 18
Wednesday 13 miles   13
Thursday 45 mins S&C; 11 miles 6 miles 17
Friday 6 miles 5 x 1M/1K continuous. 1M hard, 1k PT. 14 miles. 20
Saturday 12 miles 7 miles 19
Sunday 22 miles; 1:30-2:00, 2 min on/off (5:00/6:00)   22
      125

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Comments (5)

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    Olin Hall

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    Awesome reporting, Craig! Good luck as you move forward in your training!

    Reply

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    Frank Youngwerth

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    Craig, thanks for the update. I like your positive approach to your planning, and training. Keep it going. By the way, thank you for the e-mail you sent us last fall regarding our support. You did a great job raising money for that family in Boston that lost their young son last April. Our best to you.

    Frank and Polly Youngwerth

    Reply

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    Tony Mollica

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    Good luck staying healthy during your Boston training! If you do, you will have a fantastic race!!

    OU is closed today because of snow. There was a closure last week too, because of low temperatures.

    Reply

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