Thank you for all of your congratulations on PR-ing in the Nike Women’s Half Marathon! I’ve gotten a few emails on how I was able to set my personal record (1:56:16) on such a hilly, difficult course. It has made me reflect on the past few weeks, what was different, and how I was able to accomplish such a feat.
This was my eighth half marathon I’ve run. My previous PR was 1:57:51 and was the fourth half marathon I ever ran. Sunday was the eighth. I hadn’t broken two hours since number four, and truthfully, while it was my goal to break two hours, I didn’t really think I would as this was an extremely tough course. The hills were LEGIT. Take a look at the course and the elevation chart in the picture below.
Do you see mile 6?! Straight incline UP! And mile 8 was basically ALL uphill; that was the toughest mile, for sure. But I made it through, and crossed under two. Woot woot!
In prior races, I religiously followed a 12-week training plan. This time, I didn’t find out I would be running the race until 6-weeks out, so I did not have as much time to train as usual. I didn’t even follow a plan; I did what I felt was right and what fit in my schedule. Overall, here are some key points that contributed to the PR:
I did speed workouts with my trainer on Saturdays which sometimes doubled as my long run. The longest run I’ve done this year is ten miles, and that was only once. Speed workouts are my number one recommendation for those of you trying to improve. When I first started incorporating speed workouts into my training routine, my speed increased dramatically. Plus, itz fun to mix up the usual routine of running with speedwork.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been seeing a chiropractor. Despite the fact he told me I did not run like a gazelle, he has been helpful in figuring out what’s been going on with my knee/hip pain. Basically, my hamstrings are weaker than my quads and my hips are very tight. This causes my muscles to not function as smoothly as they should and put unnecessary strain on my knees. Three times a week, the doctor has been adjusting me by working out some of the adhesion that is going on in between my muscles.
He’s also given me two different exercises to do. One is to isolate and strengthen my hamstrings, and the other is to strengthen my hip flexors. The hamstring exercise is similar to a bridge, but I keep my hips low, so it works on my hamstrings, not my glutes. The hip flexor exercise is called the “clam.” I lay on my side, feed together, and open my knees just enough to where I’m not rotating my hips at all. Hence the name, my legs open and close much like a clam.
Foam Rolling / Stretching
Incorporating foam rolling and stretching into my daily routine has helped keep my tight muscles a bit looser. While I really had to make a conscious effort to fit in, I’m glad I did.
My running streak has been going strong since July 4th. The consistency of running, even just a mile a day sometimes, has trained my body for my regular runs.
As I previously announced, REBOOTizer was one of my sponsors. I drank a pouch on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Even though I landed pretty late on Friday night in San Francisco, I did not feel the usual lag of traveling the next day. Plus, Caitlin and I walked around all.day.long. on Saturday. Even still, yesterday I was not sore at all! Pretty amazing.
Running with 25,000 other people was incredibly inspiring, even as we trudged up the massive hills together.
When I got tired and my mind wanted to give up, I was thinking of the wonderful community I’m so lucky to be a part of. Not only my amazing family, husband, and friends who constantly support me, but also the FitFluential and healthy living community. I’ve gotten so many tweets, emails, messages, comments, etc. from all of you, that I am very touched and it definitely kept me chugging along as I thought about it. Thank you.
And now because you know how competitive I am and you know how much I love looking at stats, let me give you the rundown of how my PR turned out against the others.
Overall: 1,113 / 20,132
Age group: 227 / 3,862
I’ll take it!
What helps you achieve goals?