Half-marathon next weekend? Sure, sign me up!

All of this running and marathon training has gotten me super excited for my next race. So excited, in fact, that I marched myself over to Run For Your Life yesterday and signed myself up for my 5th half-marathon, Corporate Cup! The YMCA of Greater Charlotte puts on a number of races each year, and the Corporate Cup half-marathon is one of ‘em. In fact, I helped put on this race last year, and worked behind the scenes and worked to recruit and organize all of the volunteers! It really is amazing to see how much work goes into organizing a race… it’s serious stuff!

So…when exactly is this half-marathon? Ohhh, you know… March 12th. Yep. As in next weekend.


Oh hello, Mr. Running Man

I had been toying with the idea of including a race in my marathon-training plan for the past couple of weeks, and finally decided to just go for it. (BTW, a big thank you goes out to Ryan, Meg and Heather who helped weigh in on the decision!) They made me realize that there’s no better time than the present to run a race, especially if I’m already in shape for it!

My reasoning? Well, many of the marathon training plans I’ve read incorporate actual races to help you get used to the race mentality and amped-up atmosphere. I also figure that because I’m pretty much running the distance of a half-marathon every weekend, why not actually race one and get a medal for it? (I sure do love getting medals…)

ThunderRoad Paschal Prod. Pic

Love me some *bling*

The only thing I’m nervous about is going out too fast. You see, the two half-marathons I ran most recently (back in November and December of 2010) went amazingly well — I PRed in both and dropped a total of 16 minutes off my time from my 1st and 2nd half-marathon times from over a year ago. However, I didn’t plan to run them any faster than I run a normal, leisurely run… it just, sort of… happened. My fear is that I’ll start out “too-fast” and run it hard. Trust me, this may sound like crazy-talk, but it has happened with every single race I have done… I look down at my watch and think “daaaaang I had no idea I was running that fast!” You might be wondering why I don’t want to run it hard… and I guess my only answer is that I think running slow helps prevent overuse and over-training, which can both lead to injury. For me, slow and steady = slim chance of injury.

So with that said, I think my goal for this upcoming half-marathon is to NOT set a personal record. I want to be a slowpoke in this race, and simply enjoy the course and the race atmosphere.

Oh, and did I mention that according to my training plan, I am supposed to be running 18 miles on March 12th? Yes, you heard me right… 18 miles! So what does that mean if a half-marathon is only 13.1 miles? Welp, that means that I’m going to run an additional 5 miles either immediately before or after the race!


No big deal. (yeeeeeeah right!)

My thinking is that I’ll run the 5 miles beforehand and just wake up extra-early to fit ‘em in. This should help set me up for a good pace in the beginning of the half since I’ll already be warmed up, and will hopefully decrease the chances of me starting out too fast or too hard. Another advantage to running the 5 miles beforehand? I’ll be able to utilize the fuel and drinks offered at the water-stop stations on the actual half-marathon course (which will technically be *my* miles 6-18, right when I’ll be needing that fuel!)



Let’s just say… I am SUPER excited for this half-marathon, because when I cross that finish line, it will be the furthest distance I have EVER run at one time. I might even put a piece of tape on the back of my medal and write “18 miler” on it. Caaaan’t wait!

thunderroad 2010 pic 1

Bring it

Have you ever incorporated a race into your training plan? Have you ever purposefully gone slow during a race? What is the longest distance you have ever run?



Filed under half marathon, marathon, races, running, training, YMCA

36 responses to “Half-marathon next weekend? Sure, sign me up!

  1. I enjoy every asect of Half Marathons.. The training, and the race itself. so much easier then a full. Good idea racing before hand, it will boost up the ole engine prior to your marathon


  2. I actually swapped a race for a longer run in my marathon training plan. I let myself run the race at whatever pace I felt comfortable and unexpectedly PR’d (it was Thunder Road actually). Then the next week I did the longer run. I ran at a much faster “race pace” then a normal training run, so I think you have to take that into consideration. You may not want to add additional miles AND go fast if you don’t think you’re going to be able to hold yourself back from going too fast. I think that’s when you run into possible injury if you are going fast and doing a lot of miles…. Just my two cents, for what they’re worth!

    • I completely agree… it’s SO hard to run a race at a slower pace simply due to everything that goes along with the race atmosphere! That’s part of the reason why I signed up… I want that”mental challenge” of running at a slower pace! I think I’m capable of doing it, though. Thanks for your input, Brittney!

  3. Crossing my fingers that you will be injury free! PRing is great, but like you said – you don’t want to risk an injury! You’ll rock it even going slow and steady. 🙂

    • Yes, PRing is awesome, but you can’t PR every time, right?! Gotta keep my eye on my main goal… and that’s staying injury free and crossing that finish line on May 1st! Thanks for your support!

  4. Great idea! While I’ve only done one half marathon (doing my second in May) I think the distance rocks. Can’t wait to see your ’18 miler’ medal 😉

  5. I think my cousin and I are going to run the 5K. She’s never ran a race before so I’m super excited for her. Good luck!

    • Ohhh that is SUPER exciting!!! I’ve actually never run a 5K before (or any other distance besides a half-marathon… isn’t that crazy?!) I’ll make sure to look for y’all before the start of the race!

  6. ya know, it sounds weird, but I’ve NEVER run to my full potential in a race. the only time I did was the 5k turkey trot I did over Thanksgiving this year.

    the thing is, I always run with my best friend. she’s the one who got me to start races, so I feel pressure to stick with her. and she’s my best friend! I obviously will have more fun running with her.

    SO, that being said, I have never really run a race fast.

    when I am by myself, though, I am my body’s worst enemy. 🙂 I definitely push myself, and sometimes, too hard… oooopth?

    just try to take it easy and eaaassee into the run. remember that it’s for training purposes, and remember that you have to keep healthy for your BIG BAD MARATHON soon! 🙂 yaaayy, good luck!

    • I SO understand what you’re talking about… I feel like I never ran my “true potential” until my half-marathons this past November/December. That’s when I welcomed a 16 minute PR! Kind of neat what your body can do when you actually try…

      Now i wonder what I would have done if I had run the WHOLE thing by myself. Like you, I ran the first half with two friends (one of which got sick halfway through). The second half we were all split up, and I ended up doing a negative split and pulling ahead of the other girls by about 8 minutes (in just that second half of the race!) I sure do love having the company though… but racing by yourself is fun, too! And girl, don’t you worry, i am working on my mentality this whole week to make sure that I take this upcoming race nice and easy. You are so right, gotta keep my eye set on the major goal– the marathon! Thanks for all of the support 🙂

  7. Jenny

    Hi Allison!

    We actually traded a few tweets last night (@luckymom2boys, Cincinnati, Graeter’s, The Pig… remember me?) and I have been thinking about signing up for the half mary as well. I have a 16 mile run that day per Hal Higdon’s recommendations! I have been training alone… well not entirely I suppose. During the week I run with my entourage (dog+baby in jogger) and I run without the jogger on my long runs… my dog hangs with me as long as she can! It sure would be nice to run 13 of 16 miles with tons of people! Hmmm… I guess I have a few more days to decide.

    • Hi Jenny! I TOTALLY think you should sign up for Corporate Cup! Your mentality is the same as mine… it’d be a lot more exciting to run 13 of 18 miles with other people, than the whole 18 miles alone (not that I don’t like doing longruns alone, because I totally do!… but it’d be neat to have just one long-run during my training plan that isn’t alone). Let me know if you decide to sign up for it! I’d love to run with you during it, even if its just for a little bit (Like I said in the post… I’m gonna be running at a turtle’s pace!)

  8. I think its great youre including the race with your training…but like you said – be careful not to push it too much. 🙂

  9. I did a marathon relay during my last half marathon training but like you had was technically suppose to run longer My relay was 5 miles and I needed to run 10 so I kept on running with my friend once I passed her the baton, the second five miles were way better since I had someone with me, too! I think I’m going to run the Disney marathon next year and I’m sure I’l add some races into my training because why not? Your already all fit for it!

  10. You are so motivating! I don’t think I would ever do this, but you are certainly inspiring me to amp up my workout routine.

    • Aw, I love that I am helping inspire you! if you eeeeever want to go on a run (hello, beautiful spring weather!) let me know! Seriously, do not even THINK you would slow me down. I am super slow and would looove the company! Plus, I think we live in the same-ish nieghborhood? (Myers Park Country Club ish area? Maybs?)

  11. i’m so glad you’re gonna race it! extra medal = totally worth it.

  12. First good luck with the race. I do like incorporating races into training however in my experience adding mileage before or after a race never works out the way you want it too, at least not for me. Remember that you typically run a faster pace during a race than a normal long training run day which in many ways can be equal to running that extra mileage. In the end it is all about your attitude and what you want to accomplish race day that makes it worth it. Enjoy it!

    • Thank you so much for the advice!! I signed up for this race to mentally challenge myself… I want to go slow, and I’m going to work hard at it! I think it’ll be neat to run a race and have zero concern for time 🙂

  13. ::bows down::

    Haha..This sounds like a great idea (based on your points because I have little experience in this arena) 🙂 GOOD LUCK!! Can’t wait to hear the recap!

  14. I love how you just “grabbed life by the horns” and ran with your choice of doing the marathon (no pun intended using the word “ran” haha)… Congrats! Good luck!

  15. my PR is from thunder road, too (same as brittney, above)

    and that half you are doing is the first one i ever did in 2005 🙂 have fun!!

  16. Jen

    How fun! Normally (when I’m not on fertility meds), I will sign up for a race at the drop of a hat. They’re just so much fun!
    And I did this same exact thing last September. I ran a half as part of an 18 mile training run. I didn’t run the half all out, and had no plans to PR. So I ran 2 miles before the race, the half marathon, and then 3 miles afterwards. It was fun 🙂

    • That’s exactly what I”m going for… I’m not even concerned about time! Just want to go out there and have FUN (and receive a medal, of course!) Thanks so much for your support, Jen! It really means so much…

  17. How exciting! I think it’s pretty hardcore to run a half the day your training plan calls for 18 miles 😀
    I’ve never gone purposefullly slow during a race- though, during my first half my pace was wayyy faster than what I’d been training at so I told myself to slow down. I felt great though so I kept up the pace and just went with it!

    • That’s awesome that you trained so well that you were able to “just go with it”… that’s how i felt during my last two half’s! I’m excited to not even be concerned with time this time around, I just want to run the race for the sole purpose of logging in miles! I think it’ll help break up the 18-miler quite nicely 🙂

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