Charleston Half: The third time around

Half marathon training for Charleston started last week, and this will be my third time running it. In 2013, it was the second half marathon I ever ran (just a few months after my first one) and I was shocked to PR by 11 minutes with not a whole lot of training. Last year, I was 19 weeks pregnant and ran it as my slowest half marathon ever (but only 2 minutes slower than the first half marathon I ever ran, so I can't really complain about that).

Both of those races were awesome races for me, for very different reasons, but I love the Charleston Half. It's my adopted hometown's local race and I'll probably run it every year. And this year, while I don't have a time goal laid out just yet since it's just too early in my training to know,  I feel mostly comfortable saying that I think I can PR, even if only by a few minutes.

Kicking it to the finish with my not so awesome sprinting form. Ugh. 

The half marathon is kind of a sweet spot for me. I love the distance, I'm pretty good at not blowing up in the half (unlike what happened to me during my first marathon), and I can pace myself really well. I really think with the training I've got planned for this cycle along with where I'm starting from, a PR is a definite possibility.

My fitness levels are quickly approaching pre-baby fitness and back then, I was positive I would PR in a half. My current PR is 1:56:22, which I ran in April 2013 (a few months after the 2013 Charleston Half) and on a much hillier course. And that time isn't as fast as my late summer/early fall 2013 fitness levels were supposedly capable of (according to time calculators and other races I ran at that time). But I didn't get to run a half marathon at that peak fitness level since I got pregnant just as I was hitting faster speeds and increased endurance, and then immediately started slowing down. So there's a lot of room left on the road for my half marathon running.

But in order to PR, I have to actually train, which is also something I've never really done for the half distance; I've just logged miles. So here's my plan and training goals:

  • At least 2 core/strength workouts per week (Bodyflow, CXWorx, BodyPump, etc) - I train with Fleet Feet Mount Pleasant and I get BodyFlow and CXWorx classes as part of my training. I need to take advantage of this. 
  • Continue with my 20 minutes of core work at least 4 weekday mornings per week (this is in addition to the above bullet point). Ideally, I'd like to do 5 weekday mornings, but this doesn't always work with my schedule (and by schedule, I mean sweet little Baby B, who sometimes wakes up at odd hours and expects attention and food, so if that happens, he wins every time)
  • Speedwork once a week - even if I have to miss the group session, I need to get it done on my own. There's a track nearby, so this shouldn't (technically) be a problem. 
  • Tempo/progressive runs once a week. I'm bad about getting these done. Always have been. It's time to change that. 
  • Really going out easy on the long slow distance runs. Those are all about time on my feet, not my pace. 
  • A race simulation run - I'd like to get one of these in a few weeks before the race so I can better gauge my fitness and predicted time goals. 

I think these are mostly doable now that I've got my schedule figured out, and I'm really looking forward to running longer distances again. Here's hoping the third time out on this race is a charm for me!