Reflecting on My Past Half Marathon Training

As I’m working on finalizing the details of my Shamrock training plan, I’ve been thinking about what worked (and what didn’t work) when I trained for my past three half marathons.  Looking back on all three of my past half marathons, here’s a brief summary of what worked and what didn’t work as I trained for each of them.

Half #1 – Disney World Half Marathon


  • From the beginning of November and race day in January almost every one of my runs was on the treadmill, which didn’t give me a realistic expectation of what the inclines on the course would be like
  • The foam roller and I met for the first time, and it hurt so good to roll those tight spots out
  • While I learned many lessons by training for my first half marathon, the biggest lesson of all that I learned is that I can accomplish whatever I set out to do

Half #2 – Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Half Marathon


  • You don’t have to run a full 13.1 miles in order to be completely trained for a half marathon (my longest run was 10 miles, albeit, this wasn’t originally my plan)
  • When training in the winter, the treadmill is often the only option, but on the rare days when the weather does cooperate it is so important to take my run outside

Half #3 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon

post rnrvb

  • Although Virginia Beach was a flat course, I embraced the hills during this training cycle, which helped me build my endurance and speed
  • I used the treadmill primarily for speed work and focused on running outside as much as possible
  • Running races as my long run helps keep me focused and motivated

So what do I hope to accomplish this next time around?

  • Continue to use the treadmill for my weekday runs, especially when focusing on speed work (because let’s face it, its way too dark outside for my to safely complete my weekday runs after work)
  • Not be too much of a cold wimp during my long runs on the weekends (in other words, complete the majority of my long runs outside instead of opting for the treadmill)
  • Use shorter distance races as a way to keep me motivated (I’m already registered for the Christmas Town Dash 8k during week 3 of my training, and am hoping to register for another race or two during this upcoming training cycle)
  • Properly and effectively train in order to PR at Shamrock

QOTD: What lessons have you learned from training for your past races?

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21 Responses to Reflecting on My Past Half Marathon Training

  1. Pam says:

    There are several things I have learned from past training cycles. The biggest thing is that you will have bad runs mixed in with the good ones. And the bad ones, if you push through, make you stronger for race day. I also have found that three days of running per week is perfect for me, with 2-3 days of cross training. Having a strong core helps in the last part of a race when you are tired and good posture and running form can collapse.

  2. Since you already have completed the Virginia Beach half you know a little of what to do expect for Shamrock since it is on some of the same course. Also like you said it is flat which may bring a new PR.

  3. Piper's Run says:

    It’s so great to hear someone else actually likes to run on a treadmill/does it for training. I wouldn’t be where I am at without my treadmill, that’s forsure. I think the biggest thing I learned about training for my second half marathon is that putting in the time gives you results. I knocked off 28 minutes for a new PB!

  4. Lesley says:

    Mainly what I learned from my first half was that I could do a lot more than I thought. For the first time, running was actually fun.

  5. Chaitali says:

    Great tips! I am going to try to run outside as much as possible this Winter but not use the weather to avoid a run all together. The treadmill is much better than not doing a run at all!

  6. i think one of the biggest things i’ve learned is the importance of cross training – it’s made a huge difference for me! i think you’ll love shamrock 🙂

  7. A big thing I’ve learned is that strength training really helps with a PR! Also, make sure to incorporate stretching, particularly after runs, to get the benefits of your training (running and strength training!)

  8. I have learned that NOTHING can prepare you for race day, you never know what is going to happen even if you have a flawless training cycle. You need to take it as it comes!

  9. kristenk says:

    I love this! I have learned that when I fully get through my training plan and do cross training I will have a great race. If I get sick during training and don’t get through enough miles I will feel like crap during the last few miles of the race. I’ve got my next half in March and I’m going to fully train for that one – I’m never having a rough ending again!

  10. Jennifer says:

    Those are some great lessons learned. I know my best running (this past spring) happened when I incorporated more speed work (probably as a result of being inside on the treadmill as well). I hope to get more of that in this winter, hills, and some swimming. Shamrock is going to be fun!

  11. Pingback: Happy Runiversary to Me! | From Dancing to Running

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