A New Training Plan

by Meghann on November 17, 2011

I have a new plan!

Ok, I have a ‘in-the-works’ new plan.

Sit back, it’s complicated.

Remember that big announcement I made about wanting to run faster? I’ve already started plotting my course to that goal. Once I set my mind on something, it’s hard for me to think about anything else.

My goals are separated in a two-part process.

Part I: Run a 1:45 half marathon.

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That’s a pace of 8:00 min/mi. Crazy? Yes. But, I like crazy. I’ll actually be happy with anything under 1:50, but go big or go home, right?

My current PR was set at the Space Coast Half Marathon in November of 2009 with a finish time of 1:52:51.

That was at the peak of training for the Disney Marathon. Since then I’ve only run a small handful of half marathons (Miami, IronGirl, and Disney), but haven’t taken any seriously. In fact, I’ve never outright trained for a half marathon on its own, I usually just tack it somewhere in marathon training or just bust one out during the off season.

This time I’m doing it differently. I’ve scoured the internet looking for a specific plan that will get me to a 1:45 half marathon. After coming up empty handed on finding any (free) plans that fit my specific needs, I combined a few of my favorites (Hal Higdon, Smart Coach, and McMillan) to create my own.

The race is the Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Petersburg Half Marathon on February 12th.

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I picked that race because it’s close to home, flat as a pancake, gives me enough time to train, and was only $60 when I registered today during the 11/11/11 deal (I love a good bargain!).

Plus, the course looks pretty good.

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However, that’s not the next race I’m signed up for.

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I’ll be running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vega Half Marathon in December, but will treat it as a casual training run with Anne P. where our only goal will be to run in a straight line, ifyouknowwhatI’msayin. It is Vegas after all. ;)

I’m also registered to run the Miami to Key West Ragnar Relay Race in January.

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I’m the 12th runner (gulp) with legs that look like this.

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Again, this race is purely for fun and I have already incorporated the ‘long runs’ into my training plan.

Speaking of my training plan..

Here it is:

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The plan focuses on 4 days or running, two days of strength training, and a rest/recovery day. This plan was heavily based on Hal Higdon’s advance half marathon training plan where he recommends two days a week of strength training and two days a week of speed training. I love how he incorporated the two and am hoping those elements will help with my PR attempt.

This plan was created specifically with my running abilities in mind. I know what my body can handle and I know what it’s capable of achieving. If at any point I feel this isn’t working, then I have no problem admitting defeat and backing down.

Part 2: Run a 3:55 marathon

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Again, go big or go home, right?

My first marathon was a 4:29. I trained my booty off and ran a 4:12 less than a year later. I found a new plan, trained my booty off again, and ran a 3:59 eleven months after that.

I know what it takes to shave time off of a marathon because I’ve done before. Do I have what it takes to do it again? We’ll see.

The goal – gulp – is to kick booty at the St. Pete half marathon, then continue the booty-kicking training for a marathon in May. Kelly and I have been researching May marathons like crazy and concluded that we want to run the Flying Pig Marathon on May 6th in Cincinatti.

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There’s only one thing that terrifies me about this marathon: HILLS! This means LOTS of hill training via the treadmill, causeways, Clermont, and even stadiums. It’s going to be a lot of work and i’m hoping i can handle it.

But, even with the hills, Flying PIg has been on my marathon dream list for a while now. Everything I’ve heard about the race has been good (minus the hills). It’s a race full of energy, hometown spirit, and even a little humor. It’s the sort of race I would love to be a part of. :)

I’m still working on the plan for part 2. I’m hoping to feed off of my training from my half, but I also don’t want to overtrain. I would rather be undertrained than overtrained, but it’s a fine line when you’re trying to reach a time goal.

So there you have it. My still-in-the-works new plan. It feels good to have something to really sink my teeth into again.

Ready or not, let the training begin!

What are you training for in the spring? Any big goals?

{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ellie@fitforthesoul November 17, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Wow, you are a running machine for reals! haha, just looking at all these marathon infos and pics, I’m getting tired….:P The flying pig sounds really challenging.

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2 janene November 17, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I’ll be running the Pig, too! It’s my redemption race after I blew up in my first marathon – plus, it’s in my hometown, and I ran my first half marathon there last year… it really is all it’s cracked up to be, I had a BLAST!! :)

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3 Sara@RunningInPinkProject November 17, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I just signed up for the Princess 1/2. Im really excited!

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4 Meghann November 17, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I loved the Princess 1/2. That’s a good race :)

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5 Madison November 17, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Yes! The Pig is AWESOME! And the hills are not THAT bad…they come early in the race when the crowds are heavy. Plus, I wouldn’t even say “hills”. It’s just one, long, 2.5 mile climb!

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6 Heather November 17, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I’m doing a 10 miler on Thanksgiving morning, the Vegas Half (!) on December 4, Rock n Roll Half Relay in Arizona in January and then the Ragnar in AZ in February. After that I think I’m taking some time off from races. They are so darn expensive!

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7 Cheryl November 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I’m training to first increase my 5k time and then work towards the broad street run (10M).
The flying pig sounds like such an awesome race!

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8 Holly November 17, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Currently training for the Chevron Houston Marathon on 1/15 with a goal of sub 3:40 (ideally 3:30)- Dream Big (to quote Dorothy)! :)

The Olympic Trials are here the day before so I’m hoping to channel some of their speed vibes in my race :)

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9 Victoria (District Chocoholic) November 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Another way you might be able to address the hill challenge is by taking on aggressive strength training for the muscles you use more for hills (calves? I think? Probably worth some research). Nothing replicates real hilly terrain, but targeted strength training can be done on a regular basis without going too far from home.

I have a goal for a massive half marathon time drop, too. Target date: March 4. We’ll see how it goes.

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10 Christina @ Just Running November 17, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I am totally going to make a sign and cheer for you along the course somewhere!!!

My big spring race, the 50s for Yo Momma 50-miler, is the weekend after the Pig.

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11 Michelle November 17, 2011 at 2:39 pm

My plans include a sub 4:15 in either Rotterdam or Prague and continue on with a PR at the Berlin Marathon. Good luck with your training!

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12 Mary @ food and fun on the run November 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I am planning to do a similar training plan for my spring marathon! I am gunning for a 3:30-3:35 finish time. I am definitely looking to do more speed/less junk miles (aka no 3 mile runs). I posted about my (lack of) training plan yesterday :)

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13 whitney November 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm

You will love The Pig. The crowd support is like nothing you have ever heard or seen (in a non NYC or Boston race). The medal is always adorable. And, considering how many hills there are in Cincinnati, the marathon lets you off easy. Dont worry about the hills – train for the hill(s) because it is certainly not a flat course, but don’t worry about them.

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14 Laura November 17, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I have a half marathon in a couple weeks, but after that I’m backing off the distance and focusing on SPEED. I want to do a sub 30 min 5-k before my birthday (March 23) but I want to go as “sub” as possible. After that I have 4 half marathons from the end of April to the end of June. My sub 2 will happen somewhere in there. I’m also doing my first tri in July so I will be starting to get in shape for that. 2012 is going be a big effing year for me.

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15 Amy November 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm

The Pig is one of my favorite marathons! The crowds are amazing (and the year I ran it, it rained!) and the organization is perfect. You will not be disappointed…

I didn’t find it that hilly… but then again, I live in Nashville.

Good luck with the goals!

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16 Christina @ Just Running November 18, 2011 at 9:07 am

Yea, there’s really just one big hill.

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17 Ryane November 17, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Nice! I just created a training plan to hit my own goal for a 1:45 half marathon!!
I’m doing the ING Miami half – I checked out your recap from last year about it. I’m really hoping the weather is similar!
I’ve run 2 halfs at 2:07 and then 2:04 and that was without…any training… so I think if I actually do some speedwork this time, I can make it work!

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18 Heather @ Side of Sneakers November 17, 2011 at 3:14 pm

That’s awesome! And you can TOTALLY do it :)

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19 kathleen @ the daily crumb November 17, 2011 at 3:16 pm

this is quite the race calendar, meghann!! good for you :)

las vegas is on my race bucket list.

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20 Ann@anntics November 17, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I just signed up for my first EVER full marathon and it’s happening April 21. I am hoping that I can squeeze in at least one half marathon this summer since I will still be in good shape. And along the way I plan on running some little races (10Ks and 10 milers) here and there.

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21 Lynda @ Hit The Road Jane November 17, 2011 at 3:35 pm

New goals are so exciting!! They feel like Christmas when you’re a kid :) Researching and making a list of what you want, being really good (training), and then waking up Christmas morning hoping you get what you asked for/worked for (PR).

So excited for you!!!

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22 Erin November 17, 2011 at 3:37 pm

It seems like the entire world will be in Vegas on December 4th! I’m signed up to run the full and freaking out about the 4:30 course limit.

I bet you will love Ragnar! I did Madison to Chicago this year and noticed that they ranked the legs as “Moderate, Hard, and Very Hard” depending on how long they were, not on any other criteria! Anything over 8 miles was “Very Hard”!

And I was surprised that you signed up for the Flying Pig since it’s know to be super hilly. At least you know that going in and won’t be surprised.

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23 Christina @ Just Running November 18, 2011 at 9:08 am

Actually the Pig just has one big hill. :)

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24 Laura S November 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm

I love the Flying Pig Marathon! It was my first marathon I have ever done! Its a tough hilly course but that atmosphere is awesome :) Good Luck

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25 Corey @ Learning Patience November 17, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Wow…this is funny that you posted about this today….I recently signed up my friends for their 1st 11k..on 11/11/11 and for no previous training…they finished w/11 min miles. I was so proud of them that I thought I would sign all 3 of us up for our 1st 1/2…..scary but doable. Now all I need is a very flat course….

xoxo from Trinidad

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26 Tami November 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm

how hilly is the marathon? i hope it’s not too overwhelming since you don’t really have hills where you are, it might be hard to train but I think you can do it. You have accomplished so much and we put our minds to something, nothing can get in the way other than ourselves. I saw a quote the other day, it went something like “it might not always be fun but it will be worth it”

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27 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife November 17, 2011 at 4:11 pm

I did a sub 4 hour marathon and a sub 1:50 half marathon, so maybe I should try to go less for a future race??! :) All I know is that neither of those I necessarily trained for a time, so I guess if I really trained, who knows?!

I am doing a half ironman next year–in July!! WOOT :)

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28 Courtney November 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm

So glad you used the pace bands to display your goal times! I raced the Daytona Half with one and loved it. I just used that with a simple sports watch and PRed; it was a LOT less stressful than the Garmin stuff. I’m currently training for my first marathon in Feb. in Jacksonville. Here’s to successful training for both of us!! :)

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29 Cait's Plate November 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm

You never cease to amaze me by how motivated you are! I love that you’re always challenging yourself. And I think you goal for Las Vegas is perfectly acceptable :)

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30 Michelle November 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I’m such a nerd – I love running “goal” posts! You know you can do this!

I’m trying to add a 4th day of running back into my schedule. While I think 3 days worked when I was focusing on endurance, 4 days at a minimum is necessary for speed. Anyways… I am aiming for a sub 1:58 half marathon (my PR). Ideally I’ll like to aim for a 1:55 or lower. I’m SO ridiculously far away from that right now though (at least, that’s how I feel). Argh marathon training! I have at least 4 halfs in the next 5 months, I just have to keep thinking it’s going to happen.

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31 Meghann November 17, 2011 at 10:26 pm

4 halfs? Which ones are you doing?

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32 Anne P November 17, 2011 at 4:37 pm

For a second there, I was scared thinking you wanted to try to get a 1:45 in Vegas. I was like… oh shit. I’m not trained very well this time around, ha. Whew! :)

See you in 2 weeks!!!!!!

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33 Meghann November 17, 2011 at 10:27 pm

haha – NO, not Vegas. Run in a straight line. That is our goal. ;)

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34 Anne P November 18, 2011 at 7:15 am

I like that goal. :)

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35 Steph @321delish November 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm

I registered for a rock n roll half and full marathon this spring! My full goal is the same as yours, so I’m looking forward to seeing your full plan! I’m still formulating mine. Good luck! Rock those races!!

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36 Jason November 17, 2011 at 4:52 pm

I’m running the Flying Pig as well. From my understanding the Hills are early and the last 10k is basically downhill. I know nearly 20 people who have ran this marathon and loved it.

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37 joelle (on a pink typewriter) November 17, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Whoa, look at you go! Very exciting stuff coming up!

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38 MaryBe@Accidentally-Vegan November 17, 2011 at 4:55 pm

That’s a pretty impressive (and aggressive!) training plan but truthfully, that’s one of the reasons I love your blog. I don’t really care about what you eat for breakfast or dinner but I love to read about you running. So this is pretty exciting news :D

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39 Alaina November 17, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Way to go on the goals!! From what I’ve seen with your trainings and races, I’m confident that you can kick butt on both races!

I’m starting my training for a half marathon in February. My time to beat is 2:12. I’m going for 2:00 to 2:05!

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40 Christy November 17, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I’m running Vegas too! It’s my first half and I have a lofty goal of 2:15. Everyone tells me just to try and finish, then work on a PR next race. I think every blogger that I follow is going to be there! If I see any of you, it will be like seeing a celebrity. lol

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41 Meghann November 17, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Ha! We should plan a big meet up :)

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42 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen November 17, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Awesome training plan! You amaze me how motivated you are to constantly run and beat your PR’s. Inspiring :) I’ve got nothing planned for this spring yet. Waiting to see how Philly goes this weekend and then I’ll see what goals to set next :)

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43 Hillary November 17, 2011 at 5:37 pm

I’m training for the Rock N Roll DC Half Marathon in March (formerly the National Half). It’s my second half, and my only goal is to PR by at two minutes (I ran my first in 2:17, so I’ll be thrilled with anything under 2:15!) I definitely need to get myself back into “running shape,” though. Since I ran my last race (in Oct 2010), I’ve become all sorts of slow!

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44 Bri November 17, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Training plans look great. Good luck!

This spring I plan to bust out a 1:35 – 1:38 half. I can run low-1:40′s on a hilly course right now, so I think it’s just a matter of finding a PR course.

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45 Katie November 17, 2011 at 5:46 pm

I did Ragnar Florida Keys this past Jan and it was THE BEST EXPERIENCE EVERRRR!
I’ve also ALWAYS been interested in Flying Pig…I’m just so scareddddd! Good luck with all your new goals!!

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46 Krissy November 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Looks like an awesome plan and line-up! Yep, you did it again….you have inspired me to make more goals and more future race plans. Thank you (I think….)

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47 mary November 17, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Squeal!!!!!! I’m pretty sure we’re set on flying pig too!!!! That’s SO exciting!!! We’ll have to meet up again in Cinci! I’d Love to see you and Kelly again! :)

ps. don’t worry about the hills, Even though i’m further north, they’re the bain of my existance, and i’ll be putting in just as much work ;) plus, the elevation chart doesn’t look THAT bad!

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48 Meghann November 17, 2011 at 10:29 pm

I’m counting on you girl! We’ll definitely be hanging out that weekend :)

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49 Kathleen November 17, 2011 at 6:08 pm

I can’t say enough goof things about the flying pig. My husband and I have done it several times and mist likely will be doing it again in 2012. It is so much fun and the Cincy people are so enthusiastic about the event. Everything is so well organized it is unbelievable. One year there were rumors about George Clooney coming to join in on the fun but he was a no show. These people really know how to put on a race. Maybe I’ll see you then. Word of advice- train on some hills. The first half is pretty much uphill.

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50 RunToTheFinish November 17, 2011 at 6:12 pm

ohh the ragnar is SUPER fun! I loved where we got to run and those legs will be a piece of cake for you

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51 Caitlin November 17, 2011 at 7:17 pm

How/where did you make that chart? I could use that for ny things! Just excel?

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52 Meghann November 17, 2011 at 10:30 pm

It’s excel. I actually stole the template from Emily at Daily Garnish. :)

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53 Sara November 17, 2011 at 7:58 pm

The Flying Pig was my first marathon last May… the hills really aren’t too bad. They’re early in the race. Just don’t go too fast on them because it will come back to get ya. Just hope it doesn’t pour down rain like it did last year!

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54 Jessica November 17, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Yay for Cincinnati and the Pig, my home town! I will be running the half pig and it will be my first half marathon. Dont’ know that I’ll ever run a full, but who knows. You’ll love Cincy and the pig. The energy level is high in our small town that weekend!

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55 Elizabeth November 17, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Flying pig is amazing! I am from Ohio and this is the one race that I do every year!! I would also suggest in October is the Columbus Marathon. It is really cool over 100 bands and you run through some really really nice neighborhoods in Columbus!

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56 Ida November 17, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Your ragnar legs look tough! I think you should try and find a 5k or 10k to do during your 1/2 marathon training to see how well you’re progressing.

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57 Meghann November 17, 2011 at 10:30 pm

That a great idea! I’ll look for one in January!

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58 Alexandria November 18, 2011 at 8:14 am

I wish I could attack time goals for races. I’ve always been such a slow runner & I dread speedwork, but I know I need to suck it up if I want to get faster. I’m planning on running the Flying Pig as my second full marathon. I know this is super early, but I propose a blogger meet-up! Btw, I wish Kelly hadn’t stopped blogging. If she reads this, know that teaching after becomes much easier after your first year (I’m in my fifth year)!

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59 Chrissy (The New Me) November 18, 2011 at 8:35 am

I just posted my plan to run a 3:59:59 marathon this March. Started training this week. It will be tough (my PR is 4:20) but I love a challenge!

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60 Monica C. November 18, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Oh – those are my goals/stats! I have a 4:20 PR and my secret dream is a 4 hour marathon. I’m about halfway through the Pfitz 18/55 program and will run the Houston full on January 15.

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61 Chrissy (The New Me) November 18, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I ran the Houston Marathon last year – that was my 4:20 race! It’s a great event – very well organized, mostly flat, nice support, beautiful city. The only downside was that it rained almost the whole race, which wasn’t the marathon’s fault but still sucked. Hopefully you’ll have nicer weather. :) Best of luck to you!

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62 Emily November 18, 2011 at 8:36 am

I had a bunch of stuff to say, and then I saw PIG! YES! That’s where I live and it will be my first marathon. I know the hills are going to be rough, but at least I live here, so every time I run outside I get some of them.

Ok – now that I have gone back through your entry, I have a question – did you create your plan in excel? If yes, was there a good template you used? I am trying to create my PIG plan, and am struggling to make it look nice. :)

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63 Meghann November 18, 2011 at 8:45 am

Woo hoo for PIG! Yes, I created the plan in excel. I actually used a template that Emily from Daily Garnish had sent me forever ago. It was easy to change everything about.

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64 pantsleflint November 18, 2011 at 8:44 am

I’m hoping to a PR on Feb 12, 2012 as well… but I will be running a race called the hypothermic Half in Canada, last year it was -6 F and very hilly…. I will dream of running in the warmth of Florida and flat…. I’m a little jealous…. Good luck with all your races.

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65 Tania @ The Health Macadamia November 18, 2011 at 9:32 am

I’ve lived in Cincinnati the last 4 years of my life and here’s the thing: the hills aren’t “normal” hills. I have a 30 minute 5K time right now. My 5K at Flying Pig last year? Over an hour. I HIGHLY recommend against Flying Pig less you want a REAL HARD challenge. If you do, we’ll see ya here ;).

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66 Heather @ Better With Veggies November 18, 2011 at 10:32 am

I have a full race list for next year, but my next two big races are a 50K in Charlotte (my first – eek!) and the RNR New Orleans marathon. I’d love to run a 3:55 in New Orleans, but anything under 4:00 would be fine with me too! Good luck with your training – I think we both have a lot of running ahead of us. :)

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67 Karen November 18, 2011 at 11:08 am

Loved the Flying Pig. I remember it being kind of hilly but nothing too out of control. The support during the race is fantastic. That race is my current marathon PR so it can’t be all that bad… :)

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68 Brooke November 18, 2011 at 8:47 pm

I think you are selling yourself short! :) I pr’d after 6 half marathons at 1:44 and went on to do a 3:34 marathon..I think ,you should really challenge yourself if that is what you want! :)

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69 Anne November 19, 2011 at 1:43 am

YAY CINCINNATI!! (my hometown) My friends ran the Pig last year. It is hilly. Like really hilly. Cincinnati is known for it’s seven hills! But it’s also a great race with people dressed up like pigs! I hope you run it! And enjoy Cincinnati!! Let me know if you need suggestions for food. I’d start with Graeter’s ice cream the minute you get into town.

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70 Michele @ Within Reach November 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm

You will love Cincinnati! I did the Flying Pig 10K this year and have registered for the half for 2012. It is a LOT of fun in a great atmosphere, and yes, there are HILLS!!! Seriously. See you there.

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71 maria June 16, 2012 at 1:38 pm

would love to follow your blog!

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