Miami Half Marathon 2017 Goals

It’s time to talk about GOALS!

All of last week I spent testing out different training paces to see what I thought would be a challenging but realistic goal for the Miami Half Marathon.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to be in shape to PR. That’s more of a Fall 2017 goal, although next fall I plan to SMASH my current PR out of the water.

Looking Back on Summer Training


Most of my summer was spent focused on running a marathon in 5:59 (or 13:41/mi pace). I was following the Hansons plan which has a very specific outline for which weeks you do speed workouts and how long your tempos are as you progress with the plan.

The longest tempo I did at marathon pace was only five miles long back in August, so I don’t feel like I’m in the right place to run a half marathon at that pace… and even if I did that would only result in 2:59 which is slower than my current PR as it is.

Setting Reasonable Expectations 

Instead of setting myself up with unrealistic goals, I want to set a goal that I know is within reach as long as I work for it.

Based on my training runs last week I feel like 14:10 – 14:15 is a pace that’s challenging but also doable for a half marathon. It’s honestly not something I could hold for even 8 or 10 miles right now, but I know I can get there with focus over the next few weeks.

So, with that being said, here are my Miami Half Marathon goals:

A. 3:05 (14:10/mi)

B. 3:10 (14:30/mi)

C. Run hard and end with a feeling of pride/accomplishment.

If I can hit my A or B goal I’ll feel good about this season and the progress I’ve made.

Turing Frustrations into Positives 

My current half marathon PR is 2:57 (set in Jan ’15), so it’s a bit frustrating to be aiming for times that are significantly slower than that. However, I’m just being honest with myself and where my training and body are at currently.


Initially I did let frustration sink in, but I realized there’s really no point in dwelling on it. I can’t do anything about my situation now except strive for as much improvement in the half as I can make this season. The Miami Half and the A1A Half in February will help me set the stage for Fall 2017.

Curiosity Killed the Cat

I hate this saying, but it’s something I’m keeping in the forefront of my mind because a part of me feels like on race day I could pull off a new half marathon PR.

Currently the coldest weather I’ve had the chance to train in is about 74*F. On race day it’s possible it will be in the 50s (as it has been for the last two years). If it’s nice and chilly that may help me run much faster than I’m doing in training runs.


I’d love to pull off an unexpected PR, but I need to be smart about this race. I dropped to the half because I wanted to have a race strategy that I could feel excited about executing – and for me that race strategy is really turning the race into a progression run. I earned my current half marathon PR by executing a perfect progression run and I am hopeful to do the same this coming January.

If I get too curious about running fast(er) in cool weather during the first couple of miles I could pay for it the rest of the race, so I will need to be smart about that.

During the first part of the race I will remind myself that “curiosity killed the cat.” And then I’ll be sad that this saying exists.

Pace Run Question 

I’m using the Hal Higdon Intermediate 1 plan to train for Miami. Since this is my first time using a HH plan, I have a few questions that I’m hoping you guys can answer! 🙂

When it comes to following a HH plan, how do you handle race pace runs?

Hal doesn’t specifically mention any warm up or cool down information on his site (that I can see), so I’m guessing he means run the prescribed number of miles @ race pace and then add on whatever warm up and cool down you want? Or does he mean to include the warm up and cool down within the total miles prescribed that day?

If you’ve followed a HH plan before please comment below with what you did! Thank you :).

When is your next goal race?
What’s your favorite distance to race?



  1. October 25, 2016 / 7:56 am

    My next goal race is to PR a 5k in April — This specific race is close to my heart because it was my first ever 5K. Now, after 4+ years and several more 5K’s, 10K’s, a half and a full under my belt, I want to go back and CRUSH IT! 😀

    I would say the 5K is my favorite distance because it’s so do-able. I can train hard for it without sacrificing my whole weekend (I’m looking at you marathon training!). Since my marathon finish time was 7:03 — you can see how those long runs seriously cut into my weekend time!

    A few three, four, five, or even six milers don’t seem so bad in comparison!

    • Kristina
      October 27, 2016 / 9:12 pm

      YES!!! I love your enthusiasm! You are definitely going to crush that 5K!

      I know exactly what you mean about marathon training cutting into your weekend hardcore. Not only do the long runs take forever, but they wipe you out for the rest of the day!

  2. October 25, 2016 / 8:35 am

    I hope you find the paces easier as the temps cool down. I really think that is one of the main reasons I am running so much more easily right now- it’s cooler, but even when it’s warm, there’s barely any humidity! Do you think you will know before race day if that is the case? Maybe it will be cool a couple weeks before and you will do some longer runs in cooler temps!

    • Kristina
      October 27, 2016 / 9:13 pm

      My fingers are crossed that we have another cold race day, although I saw that the prediction is that our Jan-Feb is supposed to be warmer than usual this year. Hopefully that will mean the temps will be in the 60s instead of the 50s, and not that they’ll be in the 80s!

  3. October 25, 2016 / 8:44 am


    Warm-up: Warming up is important, not only before the race itself, but before your speed workouts and pace runs. Most novice runners do not warm up, except in the race itself. This is okay, because they’re more interested in finishing rather than finishing fast. You have a different goal, otherwise you wouldn’t be using the intermediate program, so warm up before you run fast. My usual warm-up is to jog a mile or two, sit down and stretch for 5-10 minutes, then run some easy strides (100 meters at near race pace). And I usually cool down afterwards by doing half the warm-up distance.

    • Kristina
      October 27, 2016 / 9:14 pm

      WHAT, how did I miss this?!? Hah! Thank you!

  4. October 25, 2016 / 8:45 am

    I think setting a realistic goal for yourself is a good idea. Nothing is worse than setting yourself up for disappointment. I had several unrealistic triathlon goals that I thought about and I’m glad I decided against them. And you could always set some goals but have a PR in the back of your mind!!!!

    I’d really love to run a half marathon next year if my body allows me to do so. I’m interested in what you think about the HH plan because that’s what I would probably use!

    Good luck on your training 🙂

    • Kristina
      October 27, 2016 / 9:16 pm

      Thanks Sam! Ohhh that’s so exciting that you’re thinking about the half marathon! I would definitely support you going for it!!! The more I think about it, the more I am sure that it’s my favorite distance!

  5. October 25, 2016 / 8:46 am

    So I guess that means warm up separately and then do the miles on the plan at the race pace? (Or whatever you have time for, but do both!)

    • Kristina
      October 27, 2016 / 9:18 pm

      It sounds like it! I’m glad that Hal warms up, stretches and then starts his workouts. That’s what I do too, but I always thought that everyone else did their stretches before OR after running and not necessarily after the warmup!

  6. October 25, 2016 / 10:19 am

    These goals sound great! Not every race has to be a PR, so certainly don’t feel bad about taking it a little slower for this race. I followed a HH plan for Colfax and I ran the mileage prescribed including my warmups and cool downs. I also tried to add some tempo mileage during the end of my long runs. I felt like that helped me a lot, especially at the end of the race.

    My next goal race is in less than a month. I’ll be running the Route 66 Marathon. Not really sure what the goals will be. We’ll see how I feel over the next two weeks.

    • Kristina
      October 27, 2016 / 9:20 pm

      Thanks Kerry! I’ve been pushing the pace on the final mile of all my runs recently – just because it feels good to – but also because I know it’ll help at the end of the race. It definitely helps that the weather is cooler now. During the summer I was pooped by the final mile even though I was running slower than I am now!

  7. October 25, 2016 / 11:16 am

    I am not sure what my next goal race will be. I want to focus on triathlons next year, but my friend and I are looking at a destination half marathon during my spring break. I guess that will be my next major goal. 🙂 I think 5k is my favorite distance to race–I just love running fast and I can’t do that any longer than a 5k or I feel like I’m going to die. 🙂

    • Kristina
      October 27, 2016 / 9:20 pm

      Hahah I dislike the 5K because I feel like I’m going to die around mile 2 😀

      Ohhh a destination half marathon, that sounds exciting! Somewhere tropical?!

  8. October 25, 2016 / 4:23 pm

    I think you are really smart setting reasonable goals. I totally relate. The half I just ran in Danville was a reminder to me I can not compare now current self to my old pre-injury self…and really we can’t compare year to year – things change!! Set a goal and then always keep a pie in the sky goal tucked away 🙂 I do feel my effort level is so much easier right now as temps drop and I can run now at paces I couldn’t even thing about hitting a month ago, so there is chance you will feel powerful and be able to push! If that is the case – run with your heart and see what happens!

    • Kristina
      October 27, 2016 / 9:22 pm

      I have been watching my easy paces drop — and my heart rate drop even though I’m running faster. It’s amazing what cooler weather and slightly lower humidity will do for our running! It makes me want to move to San Fran, except I could never afford to live there, haha!

  9. October 25, 2016 / 4:50 pm

    My next goal race isn’t until a year from now – Chicago Marathon 2017. I’m not going to have time goals because I want to scale back my training, have more of a life outside running, and not wind up burnt out and sick of running like I was after my last two marathons. While it feels amazing to nail marathon PRs, spending weeks worrying about whether or not the stars will align for me to perform well on race day really does take something away from the experience. I need that energy to run 26.2 miles, haha. For once I’d rather just be able to be proud of myself as long as I finish strong, no matter the time. So that’s my big lofty goal for next year, lol.

    • Kristina
      October 27, 2016 / 9:26 pm

      “I need that energy to run 26.2 miles” hahahah YES!

      You have achieved some amazing PRs in the very short period of time you’ve been a runner. If I was you I would be happy to just take some time to enjoy the experience too! You’ve put in so much hard work, you deserve a little vacation from racing marathons! 😀

  10. October 25, 2016 / 5:07 pm

    I say you go out, run on feel, and just enjoy this race. Don’t care about race paces or finish times. I bet you’ll be surprised by how well you do.

    Never done an HH training but I always include my warm up and cool down in the planned mileage.

    Goal race is Dec 3rd, 50k is right around the corner…boom!!

    • Kristina
      October 27, 2016 / 9:27 pm

      YEAHHHHH! I’m so excited for you! You will be my third friend who earned ultramarathoner status this year. I’m so proud! I know some amazing people!

  11. October 26, 2016 / 10:31 am

    My advice would be to train based on your current fitness level instead of a specific finish time. You can still have a goal in mind, but for setting training paces use your current fitness level (I don’t think you’ve raced recently, so if I were you I’d probably do a short time trial and see what the half marathon prediction is for that time). You could then do time trials throughout your training to see how you are progressing and whether or not your goal is reasonable. Of course I’m not a coach (I just love talking about training plans/strategies/goals) so feel free to ignore 🙂

    Oh and I also wanted to mention that going from 2:57 to 3:05 might feel like taking a huge step backward, but it really is only a 5% difference. Which, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t too bad at all! Plus taking small, smart steps forward is definitely better in the long run than ending up injured because you pushed to hard in training.

    And since your race isn’t until January you haven plenty of time to improve. I wouldn’t completely rule out a PR. I haven’t used this HH plan before, but I used Intermediate II before and it took me from 2:00 (May) to 1:48 (September). So I have a lot of faith in HH plans! When I followed this plan I did not warm up for the pace workouts. This was probably really stupid and I’m lucky I didn’t get injured. I’d recommend spending at least 5-10 minutes warming up so you aren’t running hard on cold muscles.

    • Kristina
      October 27, 2016 / 9:37 pm

      THANK YOU Heather!

      I love that training for a race in January actually gives me a chance to include some races in my training plan. I am going to do a 5K next month and then another in December. I’ll definitely use those races to adjust my race goals if necessary.

      I forgot that you used HH! Going from 2:00 to 1:48 is incredible. You have sparked some hope inside of me that this can actually be a PR race!

  12. October 26, 2016 / 11:17 am

    My goal is to finish my first half next weekend. I hope to run in the 2:45-3hr range. I have had a couple injuries flare up over the last few months so my goal is to cross the finish line injury free.

    I don’t know my favorite distance to run. I hope I love the half distance but maybe I’ll like 10ks better. We shall see. 🙂

    • Kristina
      October 27, 2016 / 9:29 pm

      Crossing the finish line injury free should be all of our A-goals! It’s easy to take that one for granted. I hope you have a great day! My first thought crossing the finish line at my first half marathon was “I want to run a marathon!” Maybe you will have that crazy thought too and then the marathon will be your favorite distance! 😀

  13. October 26, 2016 / 1:50 pm

    I’m a little bit crazy. I’m coming back from not being able to run for months and have set my goal race as the Spokane Marathon in October of 2017. I know recovering from my current back issue and building up stamina will be a long, slow process, but the thought of getting ready to train for another marathon is motivating me like crazy. I would like to find a half to do somewhere in there, but my main goal is to get in shape for another marathon!

    • Kristina
      October 27, 2016 / 9:32 pm

      You’ve got marathon fever!!! 😀 I don’t think that’s a crazy goal at all, I love it!

  14. October 27, 2016 / 6:50 pm

    You know, I don’t consider 3:05 or 3:10 THAT much “slower” than 2:57. I’m one of those runners whose times are all over the place. On a good day for a half (which I haven’t run in a year I think!) I may pull off 2:15, but on a normal day I’m anywhere from 2:20 to 2:35. It’s weird how much my times fluctuate! I feel like most runners consistently run within 5 minutes of their usual paces.

    I can’t wait to see you at A1A!!!!

    • Kristina
      October 27, 2016 / 9:34 pm

      YEAH!!! I’m so glad you’ll be there! 😀

  15. October 27, 2016 / 10:00 pm

    My favorite distance is definitely the half marathon (16 completed so far). but I’m hoping to have the full marathon be my second favorite (or rival for first) really soon. I run NY next week, but I also had to readjust my goals for that race since training didn’t go as planned. I would like a sub-6 hour race but my ultimate goal is to finish injury-free (since I have a bunch of other races coming up next year).
    Good luck with Miami Half training. I will see you out there 🙂