Let’s Train!

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Today is my first official day of half marathon training.  Super excited.  I’m doing the Corporate Cup Half Marathon here in Charlotte on March 8.  This will be my fifth half marathon.  My record is 1:58 but that was in flat, flat, flat Florida; most of my other times are under 2:05. 

PicMonkey Collage

Here’s everything that I’ll need for my half marathon training:


A TRAINING PLAN.  But of course!  I’ll be using Hal Hidgon’s 12 Week Novice Plan, but I’ve tweaked it a lot.


One big tweak: I added in a 13.1 mile run the week before the race.  A lot of half marathon training plans don’t have you max out at race distance, but some do.  I’ve tried training both ways, and I just prefer to run the full distance prior to the race.  It’s a nice confidence boost.


I also rearranged some of the workouts.  I prefer to work out over the weekend and have the weekdays as rest days.  Smile


RUNNING BUDDIES.   I convinced a friend to sign up for this race with me. I’m super excited!  It’s so motivating to have someone else to help hold me accountable… So we’ll do a lot of our runs together, but when we can’t, I always have my #1 running buddy… Henry!

photo 2

We went on a 5.0 mile run this morning and he yelled “GO MOMMY GO” for the first time ever.  As a jogging-stroller-pushing-mom, I’ve been dreaming about that moment forever. <3  He’s the best coach!


HILL WORK.   I haven’t run a half marathon in Charlotte yet, but I’m familiar with the course map (actually, it’s where we used to live), and I *know* that there are a ton of hills.  So hill work is definitely going to be part of the equation. 

photo 3

Shouldn’t be hard because my house is surrounded by hills!


SPEED WORK.  I’m not going to set any time goals – yet. But I would obviously love to break my personal record, and the only way to do that is speed work.  Smile  I have a love/hate relationship with speedwork.


NEW SHOES.  I need new kicks so bad.  I think I’ve had these for almost a year!   They carried me all through Half Ironman training and back – the cushioning is definitely shot. 


I’ll probably reorder the Brooks Ghost 5s because 1) now they’re an ‘old’ edition and thus cheaper and 2) they are really great shoes.




Anyone else training for a half marathon?  When’s your race? Are you going to run 13 miles before race day or keep it shorter?



  • Alina December 21, 2013, 1:37 pm

    Just out of curiosity, do you have wider or narrower feet? I need a new pair of running shoes, but I’m worried the Ghost 5s will be too wide for my narrower feet, even tied tightly.

    • Caitlin December 21, 2013, 1:42 pm

      I usually wear wide shoes so I would say if you have narrow feet, it’s not the shoe for you.

  • Megan December 21, 2013, 1:52 pm

    I’m doing the Joplin Memorial run on May—10 I think. Sometime in early/mid-May. I’m actually going to do most of my long runs with several first timers (this will be my 4th) so I’m hoping to do some intense speed work on the shorter runs. Would love to improve PR (also 1:58).

  • Katie December 21, 2013, 2:26 pm

    Teary eyed reading that “Go Mommy Go” part…I can’t imagine when my little guy does too! Not training for a race yet, it’s been negative temps here in WISCO therefore I’m waiting to start training until spring!

  • Karoline December 21, 2013, 2:27 pm

    I’m about to start training for the NYC Half on March 16. I ran my first full marathon in November, so half training this time around doesn’t seem too intimidating but I’d like to try some more speed work … :/ your training posts will motivate me! 🙂

  • Katie H. December 21, 2013, 3:17 pm

    The only times that I’ve ran the full distance (or more) in training is when I was already “trained up” for a race. I know you know what you’re doing (this is your fifth!), but I might suggest running the 13.1 two weeks before the race, then recovering with an 8- or 9-miler the weekend before. Just a suggestion 🙂

    • Caitlin December 21, 2013, 3:44 pm

      That’s a good idea – I may do that, depending on how I feel. I feel like I lose cardio strength so quickly though.

    • Christina December 22, 2013, 12:16 am

      I second this! You want to be fully recovered.
      I think the 13.1 is more mental than cardio, so it won’t really hurt you to do it earlier.
      I do a half marathon every spring and have never run more than 11-12 before the race (per my Hal Higdon plans!) but this year I’m making my own and do plan to do 13-14, but 2-3 weeks out from the race.

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More December 21, 2013, 3:36 pm

    I ran two half marathons in 2013 (including my first, ever!) and I’m trying to figure out what 2014 looks like – another half or two? a full? a combination? Right now my body is being given a rest from running long distances after a really packed year of running but I loved the accomplishment of this year and I don’t want to lose that momentum.

  • Annie December 21, 2013, 3:47 pm

    Cute hill. 😉

    I’m also training for a half marathon starting Monday! It will be my third. Hoping to run in 2:05 or under.

  • Christine @ BookishlyB December 21, 2013, 3:57 pm

    My next race, after a 3 year hiatus, will be the Surf City Half… in February 2015. That’ll give me 9 months to train after the baby is born! It’s so far away, but I really miss the commitment of training.

  • Jana December 21, 2013, 4:24 pm

    I’m starting training after Christmas for the Get Lucky half marathon in Chicago on March 15th. After that I plan to run the Indy 500 mini-marathon on May 3rd!

  • Elizabeth @ Positive Change December 21, 2013, 5:07 pm

    Good luck with your training! Right now I am doing a full training, but for 2014 I want to get in more 1/2’s so I will be training come spring!

  • Steve Carmichael December 21, 2013, 5:29 pm

    I am training for Capital City Half which is in May ’14… I usually train up to 12 for my half marathons except when I am training for a full. Sometimes, I will over-distance train not so much for the half itself, but because I timed my half marathon during marathon training, etc. For me, I run better half’s when I do this, but it certainly is not necessary….

  • Sarah @ Licorice & Olives December 21, 2013, 5:57 pm

    Thanks for this awesome training plan, I am going to be doing my second half in May so would love a good plan!

  • Emily December 21, 2013, 7:11 pm

    I’m training for my first half on May 4th! I know I started way early (I got started in November), but I think I’ll need the extra time. I’ll run eight miles on January 4th in an official “kick off” training run sponsored by the race, beating my personal longest run by two miles. I’m excited!

  • Anna December 21, 2013, 8:23 pm

    Yep, I plan on running my 2nd half marathon in Mid-March. It’s the half I suffered double injuries during last year so I feel a need to redeem myself!

    Love the Brooks Ghost 5 and am so excited they’re now the old edition!

  • Ashley M. December 21, 2013, 8:43 pm

    The half is my favorite distance, and I’m really looking to get near 1:40 in the spring — I usually run 13.1 or up to 15 before the race, but never the week before the actual race. I like to keep that run between 8-10 so my legs are fresh for race day — a tiny taper, if you will 🙂

  • Jennifer Drake December 21, 2013, 9:15 pm

    I am training for the Hospital Hill Half Marathon in June of 2014. I look forward to reading your blogs!

  • Sarahf December 21, 2013, 11:41 pm

    I have no race plans for next year, which is actually really liberating for me! I’m trying to branch out and try new ways to exercise, and experiment a bit beyond running. I love that Henry is your coach!

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun December 22, 2013, 12:04 am

    Not training for a race here because I am coming back from injury. Looks like a great training plan you’ve got going on!

  • Sarah December 22, 2013, 9:22 am

    HOORAY! I am currently training for my 7th and 8th half marathons 🙂 My house is also SURROUNDED by hills so getting in hill work is easy peasy… I also never AIM for speed work but half walk through some runs I just pick it up hardcore and give myself a goal! I am kind of obsessed with training 🙂

  • Army Amy December 22, 2013, 2:02 pm

    I’m currently in the middle of training for the El Paso Marathon. I’m using Run Less, Run Faster since the idea of running less and running faster appealed to me. 😉 In the past, I’ve used Hal Higdon and loved it. Happy running!

  • Barbara December 22, 2013, 5:31 pm

    Good luck! You can do anything if you train hard enough for it! Just a tip though, from experience, if you are running to PR, id recommend switching your 12 mile LR and 13.1 miler so that you are not running that far distance the week before your race. Your legs will thank you on race day.

  • Katie December 22, 2013, 5:35 pm

    Nice work! I would love to break 2 hours someday. I agree on taking the weekdays off, I prefer taking Tuesdays, it seems more relaxing. Plus, i can usually find someone to join me for part of a run on the weekend!

  • Kim December 22, 2013, 7:36 pm

    I’m doing my first half marathon in February. We are going to Austin to do it (making a trip of it; we live in California). I heard the Austin one is really fun and I’ve always wanted to visit there. I’ll get a good look at the city 😉 I’m doing a beginner plan similar to yours — 2 runs during the week, 1 day of cross-training, and a long run on the weekend. I can’t wait! By the way, you inspired me to do my first sprint tri (did it back in October) and I have to say I never considered doing a half before reading your blog…so thanks 😉

  • Reenie December 23, 2013, 11:29 am

    …” and he yelled “GO MOMMY GO”… ” OMG ~ ~ so cute!!!


  • Jacquelyn @justjacq December 23, 2013, 1:58 pm

    I’m training for my first half in April! My goal is to complete as much of the training as possible, and if I can complete it all the way, then great I’ll do a half. But if I can’t I’ll just keep doing it until I can complete it and then find a half for that time. I look forward to reading your posts as you train since we have a similar schedule.

  • Cathy December 30, 2013, 12:53 am

    Yes! I’m training for a half in April! I think I’m going to try and do a 13 miler before the run. Especially since I have enough time to train for it 🙂 I’m gonna check out that training plan you linked up.

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