My Winter Half Marathon(s) Game Plan

Yesterday I mentioned that I’ve officially started my “I am Going to Get a Huge Half Marathon PR This Winter” training cycle. Whoooooo! Nothing like turning up the pressure!

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve got one half marathon per month scheduled for the next few months which means I have plenty of opportunities to knock out a great race!

November – Fort Lauderdale Half

December – Palm Beaches Half

January – Miami Half (<— the targeted PR race)

February – Fort Lauderdale Half #2 (Maybe)

March – Miami Beach Half (Maybe) or Sarasota Half (Maybe)

I was originally targeting Palm Beaches as my big PR race, but after some additional consideration I decided to push it back to the Miami Half in January.

Why? I just want to give myself the proper time to really ramp up and feel confident going into the goal race.


When I ran my second half in February of this year it was only my second time EVER running 13+ miles.

I’ve logged just a few more 13+ mile runs since then : ).

Now that I feel comfortable with the distance, I’m ready to train for finishing in a specific time. This adds a whole new dimension to my running that I’m really excited about!


Over the last few months I’ve been insanely inspired by so many other running bloggers training to reach specific goal times and I’m excited to join that club.

I want to run 2:45 at some point (and then 2:30 and then 2:15 and then …), but I’ll be really happy to hit 2:59 (13:39/mile) during one of the races on my list above.

My fastest half ever is 3:04 which happened during a marathon training run not that long ago. My official half marathon PR is 3:24 from back in February.

It’s pretty exciting to see such a big difference from just eight months ago!

I may be slow, but I’m making progress! Some days it doesn’t feel like it, but it’s happening!

So, based on my training run, I need to find a way to shave off 5 minutes from my overall time. It seems doable on the right day with fresh legs.

I’m glad I’m signed up for multiple races though, I feel like that takes some of the pressure off to execute a perfect race on any specific day.


Last night was my training kick-off run. It was just an easy 3-miler to work my way back into training, so it was pretty uneventful.


It rained lightly during the first mile and that made me feel pretty badass for a few minutes!

Then it got really muggy and I felt considerably less badass and considerably more hot for the rest of the run. Oh well!

Temp was in the mid-80s! Boooooo, high 60’s please come back!

What is your proudest running accomplishment so far? 



  1. October 21, 2014 / 4:58 am

    I think you are going to rock it! I love PRing the half distance 🙂 question: do you take walk breaks in a three mile run? I know you’ve mentioned that you did in the past, I’m wondering if you have a consistent plan for when to run and when to walk?

    • October 21, 2014 / 7:44 am

      Hey Amy! Since I’ve only really been running through one winter I don’t have a huge sample size to base this statement on, but last winter I would set my walking breaks based on the weather.

      So, when it was 65 degrees or below I would eliminate all walk breaks on short runs (4 miles or shorter).

      When it’s in the 70s I usually do 3:1 or 4:1 intervals and when it’s 80+ I usually do 2:1 intervals.

      This winter I hope to carry the no walking breaks theme through the spring and onto the summer. That’s the basic plan anyway!

      • October 21, 2014 / 3:45 pm

        Good strategy! I like that it is based on weather!

  2. October 21, 2014 / 6:54 am

    You got this chica!!

  3. October 21, 2014 / 7:17 am

    Wow, you are running LOADS of half marathons!! So excited for you!! (LOADS more medals, yay!!) I have complete confidence you are going to smash your pb this season! And I can’t wait to read all about it! 🙂 xx

    • October 22, 2014 / 12:22 am

      Thank you, Lou! I can’t wait to earn all those new medals but more importantly to start getting faster!

  4. October 21, 2014 / 7:18 am

    You’re a half-marathon machine! Go girrrrrl!

    I am dying to run a marathon this Spring if my body would just stop getting injured and actually let me.

    • October 22, 2014 / 12:23 am

      Awww I’m sending positive thoughts your way! I want you to run a marathon this spring too!

  5. October 21, 2014 / 8:11 am

    Scheduling several halves certainly does take the pressure off! You can run what feels good on that particular day and for whatever conditions present themselves. You are totally going to PR in the half. Heck, you technically already did at your marathon!!!! I see a 2:xx:xx this winter, Kristina!

    • October 22, 2014 / 12:23 am

      I see it too! I dream about it! I want it! It’s a small step toward a bigger goal, but an important one!

  6. October 21, 2014 / 8:54 am

    This is so great! I love that you are giving yourself several different chances to reach your goal. I think for me one of the best things to help me gain speed in the half was doing tempo workouts. The amount of time I did them for varied quite a bit- back in May I was only running for 3 minutes at my goal pace but lately I can do 6 miles (and eventually the half!). I also think strength training helps alot to work on form and making the muscles more prepared to handle the work. Good luck- I can’t wait to hear more about your journey towards a new half PR!

    • October 22, 2014 / 12:26 am

      I really liked the plan you blogged about the other day where we could just transfer to a different race if we were having a bad day! That was a good idea! haha

      I read your comment earlier today before I went out for my run and totally thought about how you went from 3 minutes to 6 miles at goal pace since May, that is so awesome!!!

      I agree about weight training, I’ve already starting getting back at it! During my recovery time I really let myself rest and barely did anything, but now I’m all in!

  7. October 21, 2014 / 9:03 am

    Woohoo! Get it, girl! I have pretty much the same mindset right now — I plan to run NYCM for time (and then, of course WDW Marathon for FUN), but then Todd and I were just talking the other day how we’d like to maybe go back to focusing on half marathons for a few months and see if we can get a new PR. Because I gotta tell you, I STILL haven’t beat my time from my very first non-Disney half marathon way back in April 2013!

    • October 22, 2014 / 12:29 am

      The marathon is such a beast! I had a lot of fun during marathon training, but race day really took a lot out of me. I’m excited to run another marathon … but next year! haha

      Truthfully I might have signed up to do another one sooner but I think getting faster at the half marathon will give me more confidence in my next full.

      You and Todd have done so much over the last year! For a while you were doing race after race. I bet with some recovery time in between you will absolutely annihilate your half marathon PR!

  8. October 21, 2014 / 9:05 am

    Awesome! Winter really is Florida’s running season 🙂 Those look like great races and I can’t wait to hear how training and racing go.

    I ran my first (and only) half in Chicago last year, and I’m just happy to have finished it! I think I finished in a little over 2:45. My most recent running accomplishment was on Sunday, when I ran five miles at an 11:10 average pace. I tried out a “run a mile, walk a minute” method that gave me some recovery without losing my speed or momentum. I think I’ll be keeping up with that interval method through my longer runs!

    • October 22, 2014 / 12:30 am

      Way to go Jess! That’s great!

      I’ve never thought of doing intervals like that before, it sounds really nice. It gives you a little break to look forward to but it eliminates all of the momentum shifts of shorter intervals! Smart!

  9. October 21, 2014 / 9:46 am

    Oh I want a half marathon PR soooo bad! I have one in March that I have a crazy goal for. Like so crazy I’m scared to say it out loud haha. You are definitely going to get your PR with all of the races you have coming up!

  10. October 21, 2014 / 9:51 am

    That is a ton of half marathons lol. I think you could PR Fort Lauderdale but nothing wrong with having a plan. Crazy how we have a HUGE accomplishment and we are right away planning or next goal, runners are crazy lol.

    Proudest running accomplishment is just the fact that Mrs schlub and I are still running. We were very lazy before are were so up and down with our exercise. We are a year into this lifestyle and we are loving every moment.

    • October 22, 2014 / 12:34 am

      I think I will PR at Fort Lauderdale but not the big PR, just a little one, which I will be more than happy with! for the time! Little increases here and there will all lead up to the big one! 🙂

      I can hardly believe you two just took up running a year ago – you’re both so great at it! I know exactly what you mean, I was lazy as can be, thank goodness running is so addictive and sucked us all in to its web!

  11. October 21, 2014 / 11:07 am

    That sounds like a great plan! I was just thinking that the trouble with a marathon is that if you have an “off” race it’s not like you can go back out there and do one the next weekend…You can’t really with a 1/2 either, but you can a lot sooner than a marathon!
    I look forward to reading about your training.
    My proudest accomplishment running…32 miles!

    • October 22, 2014 / 12:36 am

      32 miles would be my proudest running accomplishment too – that’s so awesome! I would work it into every conversation for the rest of my life!

      You’re so right about the marathon. If you have a bad race day, you can go back to the drawing board and gear up again, but to really race another one you’d need plenty of recovery time in between. But the upside is that if you have a great race day you can bask in that glory for a long time before you tackle the distance again!

  12. October 21, 2014 / 12:01 pm

    I love the idea of signing up for multiple races to take the pressure off of running just one. That’s a huge problem for me. Like you, I’m going to target more half marathons next year. And yes, that is an awesome improvement in just eight months. Congrats!

    • October 22, 2014 / 12:38 am

      Thank you, Jenn!

      I’m excited to follow along with your training and see you tackle more halfs!

  13. October 21, 2014 / 3:21 pm

    I love that you are running some races just for fun and the experience without the pressure of trying to PR every time!!! I know that you will start meeting your goals – every one of them.

    • October 22, 2014 / 12:39 am

      I think the pressure free races will feel really freeing! In the past I’ve always been nervous about making it the full distance, and in the future I know I’ll be shooting for time goals, but for now I have at least a couple of races ahead of me that I can just enjoy for the experience!

  14. October 21, 2014 / 7:12 pm

    Oooh you have SO MANY RACES! I’m so excited for you!! I think a half a month is kind of awesome. It will keep you in peak condition and really help for your ultra training. I can’t wait to hear all about it!!!

    • October 22, 2014 / 12:42 am

      I hadn’t even considered how it would impact my ultra training, only that I know I want to work my way back up to a base of 15 to 18 miles and retain that until the next marathon training cycle. But now that you mention it, if I CAN get comfortable running 18-milers maybe I can shoot for that 50K at the end of next year instead of beginning of 2015! Hmmmm 🙂

  15. October 21, 2014 / 9:52 pm

    I am having race envy right now! I love the race a month thing and it will give you many chances to knock out your target pace 🙂 You have made a ton of progress! I haven’t done anything too spectacular yet with my running…but maybe it’s coming 🙂

    • October 22, 2014 / 12:43 am

      Well, you are going to become a princess next year which is a pretty exciting thing to happen at a race! 🙂

  16. October 21, 2014 / 10:30 pm

    I’m so jealous that you have so many winter races down there in Florida! Keep up the training and you will be PRing one after the other! I can’t wait to see how you do!

  17. October 21, 2014 / 10:55 pm

    Can’t wait to see you at these events! Getting faster (even when that process seems slow) is always a great feeling!

  18. October 22, 2014 / 4:57 am

    You’re so lucky to have so many half marathons so close 😀 i only know about 2 different ones around here, and both are in September (2 weeks apart..). I know you’ll reach your goal, you work so hard! 😀 Can’t wait to read all about this winter journey of yours 😀

    I’m not sure what I’m proudest of. I’m proud of Berlin half marathon, my running was sloppy, but I’m proud of it because it was my first. I’m also proud of Oslo half marathon, running 13 and some odd seconds faster than Berlin. And I’m proud of my 30 km run. Can’t pick one, I’m proud of everything 🙂

    • October 22, 2014 / 10:29 pm

      Wow that is so amazing that you cut your time down by over 13 minutes in your second half!!! Really impressive!

      I love that you’re proud of everything, you should be! Your running accomplishments are awesome!

  19. October 22, 2014 / 9:51 am

    I love having a good plan and goals to aim for. Now that my goal half is over, I am already searching for the next one!!! I love working 10k’s into a training cycle. They make a good race to incorporate speed with still a good distance backing it up!! I think that is what helped me prepare for this last half.

    • October 22, 2014 / 10:30 pm

      I have NEVER run a 10K! For some reason we hardly ever get any races of that distance down here! I would love to race a 10K in preparation for a half marathon… or just to say I’ve done one!

  20. October 23, 2014 / 11:08 am

    It seems like there are some great races in Florida during the winter months. Don’t you just love the 1/2 marathon distance. Long enough to still be challenging, but it doesn’t set you back and require weeks of recovery like marathon. The half distance is definitely my favorite for that reason. I have no doubt that you will continue to reach little milestones and conquer your goals. You have improved so much since you started this journey and you have a determined mindset (which is key). Can’t wait to see what you can do in these races ahead of you.