#gostl half marathon race goals

14 weeks of training will finally come to it’s completion in 2 days.  I’m nervous and excited, but most of all, just ready to get it done.  It probably doesn’t help that the closer I get to a race, the more I chicken out and want to throw all my goals out the window and just “run for fun”.  But, that’s not what 14 weeks of training is about.

I had a goal in mind from the beginning.  However, that 1:30 half marathon has seemed pretty lofty from the beginning.  Not that I don’t think I’ll ever achieve a sub-1:30 half, but I’m not sure this is my time.  I’ve barely hit a sub-7:00 on any training run or race, let alone anything of any distance, so I’m a little nervous to make that my #1 goal and be completely disappointed.

The Concrete Runner - Race Goals

So, the 1:30 is still the bucket list goal, but if I don’t hit it this race, it’s just something else to work for in the future.  Instead, I’m looking at another sub-1:40 half marathon.  I ran Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago this summer in 1:47:03, a little off my goal of 1:45, but I was riddled with injuries and just wasn’t on my game.  But, I feel that my training this time around is definitely putting that 1:40 achievable.  It won’t be a PR, but I will definitely be happy with that.

But, then it comes down to the how.  Now that I’m trained, how will I be able to actually run a sub-1:40?  I recently listened to a Coach Jenny Hadfield podcast, specifically because she was talking about how to run your best half marathon.  Coach Jenny suggests “running by color” and implements a 3-color system:

Yellow = conversation pace
Orange = can still talk, but have to take a breath after a few words
Red = leave nothing left in the tank

I’ve actually used this color system in training runs with my 7th + 8th grade track kids.  Yellow is an easy run, orange is what we run for repeats + intervals, and red is race pace.  This totally worked for them because they could actually visualize what I was talking about.  If they ever feel like they are running at an orange pace during a race, they’re not quite running hard enough.

My last 2 long runs, I’ve tried to incorporate this technique.  I spent all 14 weeks running mostly for time, especially for my long runs.  Two weeks ago, I did a 90 minute run.  I ran the first 45 minutes at a yellow pace, then spent 30 minutes at orange, and the last 15 at red.  Last weekend, I did a 75 minute run, but changed it up from the previous week.  For my 75 minute run, I decided to make it a negative split run, by running out in 38 minutes and back in 37 minutes.  It’s not much harder, but it at least makes you speed up the pace a little bit.

My goal for the half marathon is very similar and I am going to try to attempt to run it according to the “Coach Jenny Method.”  My plan is to run at a yellow pace for the first 7-8 miles, an orange pace for 3 miles, and a red pace for the last 2.  I also don’t plan on looking at my watch at all either.  I want to run by feel as much as possible and don’t want to rely on my splits to keep my pace.


Thankfully, the weather should be exactly like I trained in:  40-50 degrees with a light wind.  Let’s just hope my body decides to do what it knows how to do!

[Tweet “Running a half marathon using Coach Jenny’s “color method” #gostl #halfmarathon”]

  • Renee Timmerman

    Been great to follow you on this training and can’t wait for you to put it all on the concrete this weekend! Hope you all the luck in the world!