Training Diaries

Race Pace Training Diaries follows Jess D, a Race Pace Runner, training with the goal of becoming a faster runner and setting a new Personal Records in everything from the marathon to the 5k. Learn more about Jess here.

While journaling in my Believe Training Journal, I came to an interesting portion where you’re asked to break down the steps you plan to take to achieve each of your annual goals (read my original post about my 2015 goals here). This started wheels turning in my head…while I had a general idea of how to works towards my goals, I couldn’t pinpoint the steps to get me there. With Jess’s guidance, below you’ll see how we plan to check these items off the list!

1- Set a new best/faster pace with the NYRR to get into a faster paced corral for NYRR races:

If you aren’t familiar with New York Road Runner (NYRR) races, runners are assigned to a start corral for each local race based of their fastest time in a NYRR race of three miles or longer.

  • Learn how to race and pace properly for shorter distances
  • Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
  • More speed & interval workouts geared towards short distances
  • Start incorporating plyometerics into strength workouts

2- Run two, sub-two hour half marathons:

  • Build a strong base in early 2015
  • Follow a 10 week training program from Jess
  • Race shorter distances to improve speed and to become better at racing
  • Incorporate more long runs during training than in the past when training for half marathons


3- Get back to my old base weight:

  • Assess any possible health conditions that could be causing weight fluctuation- currently testing for food allergies & thyroid
  • Readjust diet after receiving test results

4- Run a 4:00-4:07 marathon:

  • Follow a 18 week training program from Jess
  • Increase weekly mileage
  • Begin testing fueling options on weekend long runs
  • Increase mental toughness; if all doesn’t go as planned on marathon day I need to be prepared to get comfortable being uncomfortable and fight harder for my goal time

I’ll keep you posted as I check these goals off my list. And feel free to keep me accountable too!


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The sun is shining and it’s 50 degrees in NYC! Though it might snow a little later in the week I have a bad case of Spring Fever.

The warmer temps combined with spectating at the NYC Half Marathon on Sunday have me anxious to get back into shape and exited to continue training for the Brooklyn Half Marathon in May.

Pro Women NYC Half Marathon

NYC Half Marathon

NYC Half Marathon

As eager as I am to get to work, I have to take things slower than I’d like and accept my paces aren’t going to be what they were last summer or fall. My weekly mileage will be a significantly lower and the miles will certainly be slower.

My personal schedule has changed a lot over the past year also. In past years even when I wasn’t running or training for a race I was teaching spin classes walking a ton and leading run clubs. Now, that I work from home 95% of the time and don’t do those things, I’ve had to make some new-to-me adjustments. I even have to plan walk breaks into my day or the only activity I get is my planned workout or walking to the kitchen. ;) I actually can’t remember a time that my cardiovascular fitness level was this low.

I know I have a long way to go, but I’m starting at the beginning and this is where I am right now. I don’t expect to PR in Brooklyn, but I do expect to lay down the ground work for hopefully running a half marathon PR this year.

Regardless, I look forward to running a ton of local races and hope to get my fitness back. Here are the races on my schedule as of right now:

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#1) Don’t use the word “just”

13.1 miles is a distance that demands respect. Actually, any distance of any kind demands respect if you want to stay injury free! I often hear the phrase “it’s just a half marathon” being thrown around from both seasoned and new runners. This phrase dismisses how much hard work and training goes into running and racing a half marathon.


Though we’re not discussing half marathon training in and of itself today, this mindset often means a runner isn’t likely to train appropriately for a half marathon from the get go and is already sabotaging their goals. Runners who have conquered the 26.2 distance or completed several half marathons are often the most guilty of doing this.

On the flip side, runners who haven’t completed a half marathon before shouldn’t compare their race distance to that of the marathon or to the race distance others have completed. Focus on the goal in front of you and not what anyone else considers a big deal. This is a big deal for you!

Bottom line: Runners who fail to acknowledge that 13.1 miles is a long way to run or race aren’t likely to set themselves up for success on race day.

#2) Not fueling properly

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people tell me they don’t think they need to take in fuel during a half marathon. While I don’t believe in a cookie cutter approach to training and or fueling, the likelihood that you need to take in carbohydrates during a half marathon to avoid crashing is high.

Runner's World Half Marathon

Normal glycogen stores in the human body are insufficient for fueling a half marathon. This is especially true if, like myself, it takes you more than 90 minutes to complete the race. Therefore, you should plan to ingest carbohydrates at least once during the half marathon and twice if you anticipate finishing in more than 2:00. If you’re taking in one gel/gu/electrolyte drink, I suggest doing this between miles 7-9. If your stomach can’t handle too many carbs at one time, slowly consume your fuel of choice over the course of those three miles.

Bottom line: Develop a hydration and fueling plan that will allow you to run a strong race and that will help you maintain your energy levels for 13.1 miles.

#3) Winging it

No matter what your goal is for your half marathon, don’t arrive at the starting line without a race day strategy. Race day strategies can range from being super strategic to being more general. No matter how simple or complicated your race strategy is, make sure it includes pacing guidelines based on terrain, level of perceived exertion, when to fuel, etc… Having a plan calms race day nerves, can prevent bonking, and can help ensure you have a great race day!

Bottom line: Always have a plan on how you’ll go about running 13.1 miles, whether it be to set a new personal record, just have fun, or complete the distance for the first time.




“All that I am, I am because of my mind.” –Paavo Nurmi, Olympic runner with nine gold medals in track & field from Zen and the Art of Running


A few years ago I skimmed a few pages of Zen and the Art of Running. The main thing I took away from what I read is having a zen-like approach to things means something like this: running in the heat or cold isn’t good or bad, it’s just cold or it’s just hot. Hot is hot. Cold is cold. Neither is good or bad. Simply they are what they are. Apparently, realizing how we label things like unpleasant running conditions as bad when in reality they are just temperatures is the secret to the zen running life.

Where I’ve had success in applying this concept is when I’m using my garmin to pace a run. If the pace is a little below where I think it should be, I tell myself, “Okay, not bad. A little bit faster or put in a little more work and with time you’ll hit xyz pace.”

While trying to convince myself to get out of bed and stop napping today, I thought about how my mindset is ruining what’s left of winter running. Midway through the month of February everything about winter running started to evoke a sense of dread and misery. Even on the warm 30 degree days, my hands were freezing, my thighs went numb and it took my lungs ten minutes to stop burning after my runs.

Deciding I shouldn’t do something that makes me so completely miserable, I gave myself a break from running. (This is where I pause to say that breaks aren’t always bad and are at times necessary.) My attitude about running in the cold took a huge nosedive. And instead of feeling energized from a week off from running, I felt hate growing inside of me. A strong hate for winter, a strong hate for living in the northeast and an even stronger belief that my southern blood isn’t cut out for running in the sub-freezing temps.


As I read through blog posts and scroll through instagram and see all kinds of runners crushing it in the snow, sleet and ice, I long for getting back out on the streets. That’s really what I want most. To be out there enjoying my runs.

What if all of this stuff I’ve been telling myself about how I feel about winter running is just BS and I can choose to make a different decision about how I feel about winter running?

Cold is cold. It isn’t good or bad. (or am I crazy?)

Can I choose to stop labeling being cold and everything I don’t like about how running in the cold makes me feel as bad?

Can I choose to stop labeling myself as a born and bred southerner who doesn’t have the blood to withstand the cold?

If I choose to stop labeling winter and running in the sub zero temps as horrible and undesirable and implement a zen-like approach will I be able to stop letting the weather win?

I’ll let you know what I find out.

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Race Pace Training Diaries follows Jess D, a Race Pace Runner, training with the goal of becoming a faster runner and setting a new Personal Records in everything from the marathon to the 5k. Learn more about Jess here. While I am someone who believes in constantly setting and revising goals, I recently got the Believe Training […]

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