The half marathon is one of my favorite distances. It’s long enough that it can push your limits and short enough that you can test your speed…. it’s kind of the best of both worlds. Recovery time (in comparison to a full) is much easier as well.

I’ve done four half marathons this year so far, but only one of them was for time. The remaining three were simply for fun or used as a training run with no time goal in mind. My fastest half marathon was earlier this year in Pasadena with a finish time of  1:44 or a 7:59 pace (read the recap here). My next half marathon is in a couple of weeks at the San Jose Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. I’m extremely familiar with this course having run it 5 years in a row between 2007-2011. The course is mostly flat, with the highest and lowest points on the course being only 50 feet in difference.

My goal.

I would love to come in anywhere between 1:30 and 1:39. That is a big gap, but really, I’m happy with anything where the first two numbers are a 1 and a 3. Realistically, 1:35 would be AMAZING, but I don’t think I have enough speed work in recent months to pull that one off. Let’s take a look at what I would have to average for a few finish times:

7:00 avg. = 1:31:46
7:10 avg. = 1:33:57
7:20 avg. = 1:36:08
7:30 avg. = 1:38:19

Those are the magic paces. When I am running “fast” my pace usually falls between 7 and 7:30 for 5 or so miles. I feel pretty winded at that point, but am able to have some pretty good stretches mixed in there. I have a couple of weeks to allow my body to recover from some longer distance runs I have done recently and this week, I’ll be looking to get a couple of my runs in around the 7:30 pace just to remind my legs what I will be asking of them. Nothing serious, but I’ll mix in a fast mile during an easy run. Just a little refresher, ya know?

I’m actually pretty excited about this race. Familiar course, fun atmosphere and a tough goal. I’ll share more specifics on my race day plan as it gets closer. I feel like I am entering uncharted territory where “fast” runners live. I’ve always considered myself to more of an endurance runner rather than a speedy one.

>> TWEET UP planned at the RnRSJ Expo on Sat. at noon (details here).

>> If you’d like to run the race, click here for a coupon.


Do you have any races coming up with time goals?