Looking Back: Shamrock Half Training Cycle/Race

Looking back at this training cycle and the Shamrock Half Marathon, it’s hard not to analyze every single little bit of running slash running things that occurred.

There were a lot of good things, bad things, and…random things surrounding the past few months of my life.

To train, I used Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Plan [Novice 2]. It followed a twelve week training schedule with adequate rest that slowly added a mile to each week’s long run.


whatididdo1Whoops. There’s a lot more rest days on there than are supposed to be!



  • I built up my mileage.

Pretty much every extra mile I ran during this training cycle was a new experience for me. This was my first real crack at distance running, and I had a lot to figure out. Moving forward with my mileage base makes me feel more confident that I can run farther than I ever thought I could.

  •  I got the basics down.

Now I know some of the little tidbits about running, like which gear to use and the difference between normal running discomfort and actual bad pain [like if a muscle is strained, etc].

  • Fuel. I understand the importance of fuel on – and off the trails.

guchompsDuring the Shamrock Half, I took 3 GU chomps around mile six or seven and 3 at about mile ten. Gels are an acquired taste that I’m still working on ;).

I get how important eating the right food is when you’re training, and how shitty you feel if you don’t.

  • I found the perfect shoes. 

lovebrooksAbout halfway through the training cycle, I realized that with longer mileage, I needed a bit more padding for my feet than I originally thought. I bought the Adrenaline GTS 13 from BROOKS and I am obsessed.

the bad1

  • Cross-training.

So, uhhhh if you look at the chart of “What I Should Have Done” above, you’ll see that every week had one cross training workout. Cross-training was virtually non-existent during my training for the Shamrock Half, except for the occasional yoga DVD. I don’t think I would understand how to work a spin bike anymore.

  • I’m slow.

longrun11miI like to run slowly. Or maybe I’m just convincing myself that I like to because I do run slowly. Anyway, I think I would like to get faster. Perhaps there shall be some speed work in my future.

  • Timing matters.

Timing as in time of year. Training in the winter kind of sucked. It was always too dark to run outside by myself, forcing me into a few too many treadmill runs. I think late spring or late fall might a good race season for next time.

  • Water.

I need a large-ish handheld water bottle stat. Long runs tend to be rough for me trying to grasp on to a teensy plastic water bottle. Maybe I’ll invest in one with an extra cool mesh storage pouch.


  • The need to run at my own pace.

Yes, it’s good to run with buddies that run at different speeds than you from time to time – but not when you have a pace you need to keep in a race! Now I know what I’m capable of, and I need to start running selfishly (whether that’s faster or slower than others!)

  • My running form needs some work.

That heel strike is making me cringe.

What are some lessons that you’ve learned from a training cycle or race? Good, bad, or random?