Rex Healthcare Half Marathon Training

Next week starts the “official” training for my second half marathon, the Rex Healthcare Half Marathon on November 4th in Raliegh NC.  Run in conjunction with the City of Oaks Marathons, one of North Carolina’s longest tenured races.  Of course, I didn’t stop running after New Orleans so I guess technically, I’ve been training all summer, but now is when we get into the structured plan of increasing distances to get me back up to that 13 mile distance.  Here’s a look at my training plan.

I was originally planning for an 8 week training program, but somehow when I counted out the weeks I ended up with 9.  The first two weeks are the same, and I’ve actually already started the 4/4/5 rotation a couple weeks ago, so I’m already doing the first couple of “weeks” anyway.  I shortened this from my 12 week trainer from New Orleans because I didn’t want (or need) to drop back down to a lower distance like 2/2/3.  I made a few tweaks to customize it for myself, but in essence this is still the Hal Higdon Novice Half Marathon trainer. Please check his stuff out here.  He has great programs from beginners all the way up to Elite runners.  I highly recommend his stuff and I give him all the credit for this training program, I just made a few minor modifications, it’s still his program.  After New Orleans I stayed with the Tues/Thurs/Weekend pattern of running so I don’t have to adjust anything for the program other than just distances.  I’ve added my cross training (Spin and Yoga) in on the schedule just to help me keep track of things, and about halfway through I move spinning to Wednesdays to give me a rest day after my longer run days.  Spinning after a 7 miler was not fun.  I also included the upcoming shorter races on my schedule, since they are incorporated into the training.

When I set out to train and complete my first half marathon my only goal was to finish.  Even when I toed the starting line, I didn’t know whether or not I could do it.  I was determined to finish, even if I had to walk some or all of the distance (New Orleans had a 4 hour time limit, so pace was not an issue).  I did have a super secret time goal (meaning, I didn’t tell anyone, not supposed to have a time goal for your first race!) of 3 hours.  At first it was looking good, but then I hit the wall hard between 10 and 11 miles.  I finished in a very respectable 3 hours and 11 minutes.  I was happy with this, despite my secret goal.

When I signed up for Raleigh, suddenly this became a big deal.  Raleigh has a 3 hour time limit (14:00 mile pace).  Now, in theory, this means I only need to shave 11 minutes off my time (or 12, to be safe) which is less than a minute a mile.  Sounds doable, but any runner will tell you, even a 30 second a mile drop in your pace is HUGE.  I started to freak out about this, not knowing whether I could get my pace down to where I could officially finish Raleigh.  I’m not as worried now, because I’ve done some things that are encouraging, such as 7 miles around Salem Lake at a 12:30 mile pace, 5 miles as a 12:00 mile pace etc, but I still need to watch and work on my pacing, just to be safe.  I was originally shooting for 13:00 mile pace, which would be a 2:50 finish time, 10 minutes under the limit.  I’m hoping to maybe shave that down a little further to 12:30 mile pace, which would be a 2:44 finish and give me a little breathing room if I need to stop and walk, either for rest, or a water stop, or a congested part of the course etc.  I’m pretty confident that the sub 3 hour half is “doable”… now I just gotta go out and do it!

Here’s what’s waiting for me at the finish!

This is the 2010 medal (from SouthwestRaleigh blog).

And this is the 2011 medal (from

I prefer the 2010 version with the “Colored Enamel” look, rather than the “Solid Brass” look of the 2011 version, which means with my luck the 2012 medal will be identical to the 2011 one, or since it’s been different the last two years, it may be something completely different!  I imagine the acorn shape will stay since that’s a Raleigh trademark (and it’s the City of Oaks Marathon) so we’ll see.  Of course, regardless of the design it’s another 13.1 in the books and more bling for the wall!

I chose to run Raleigh for several reasons (the other fall Half I was looking at was Myrtle Beach in October).  I went to NC State and lived in Raleigh for about 10 years.  The race begins and ends at the NC State Memorial Belltower, and while it doesn’t go through campus, any Wolfpacker will tell you Hillsborough Street may as well be “On-Campus”.  Two of my best friends from college, Gray and Katie still live in Raleigh, my sister lives nearby with her boyfriend and my parents are planning to come up as well, so I will have quite the cheer squad for this race as well.  Shorter travel distance to Raleigh played a part as well.

They say if you do something once, it’s a mistake, but if you do it again, it’s a habit.  While I don’t consider running New Orleans a “mistake”… running my second half marathon in Raleigh will certainly make it a habit!


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  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.