Monday Morning Quarterback: Week 1 Half-Marathon Training

About a week ago I set a goal to run the Fairfield Half-Marathon on June 23 in 1:20. I completed my first week of training and it’s worth a quick retrospective to assess whether I am on track and what did I learn that I can apply going forward.

Overall I am happy with my first week and I am having fun on this journey, although I fell short of my 45 miles goal and ran 41 miles. It is my first week above 40 miles since a 50 miles week the last week of December. I thought about making up the 4 miles and remembered advice that if one misses or curtails a workout, it is important to determine whether it makes sense to add it to another workout or move on. I decided on the latter.

I had four quality workouts during the week, two long runs of 8 miles each, and two threshold workouts 10×400 and 5×800 at my son’s mile goal pace with 1:3 break (to ensure we did not dip below the lactate threshold and kept these aerobic). Normally we don’t run two of these per week, one was postponed from last Sunday because of weather (so we skipped it previous week). Going forward, I will also add a tempo run at predicted half-marathon pace (so 6 minute mile pace) with increasing length over time.

I also completed one upper body strength training session (benchpress, military press, rowing) with about 7,500 lbs total volume. I will progressively add other upper body exercises, and some lower body exercises (some covered through my core exercises). This week, I missed my core exercises.

What did I learn?

  • Aerobic base: Priority is to build aerobic base as foundation for all other training. Quality workouts were harder than I expected because I lack the necessary aerobic base.
  • Outside distractions: Balancing work and family commitments will be key success variable, especially as I increase mileage and quality. Missing the weekly mileage goal was a result of a family commitment on Friday evening that reduced my planned 10 mile run to 6 miles. Not saying there is anything wrong with prioritizing work and family, it is just a something I need to manage.
  • Weather: The prevailing cold and wind the past few weeks in the Northeast US puts a damper on workouts (I don’t like treadmills!), it just means I need to dress appropriately and head out the door with motivation (and not excuses).
  • Health: Body feels good, legs a little tired.


  1. that’s a good start. you would be much better off with distance running than track workouts, but i guess that is a sacrifice you want to make to help your son.
    track workouts = less mileage
    tempo pace should be adjusted based on HR and perceived effort.

  2. Mick – thanks for the feedback and coaching. I agree with you, at the same time have to manage several priorities/constraints, one being my 11yo son’s goal to qualify for nationals this year, and therefore my commitment to help him achieve his goal. I have had good success with these weekly track workouts (see my son’s progression in other posts), and as you know I keep these aerobic and work on things like form, pacing, mental strength. I do not go out and race 10×400 – have seen many kids burn out that way. As the weather warms up, I will add longer warm-up and cool-down to track workout to increase mileage. Thanks again.

    1. yup, been down that road. lots of challenges to manage. there’s a thing called Creative Tension, which is the difference between your vision/goal and current reality.

  3. Nice 🙂 Yes I am familiar w/Creative Tension. My challenge is less about can I run 1:20 (I am reasonably confident that I can), it is about can I achieve my goal and balance all of the competing priorities/constraints (work, family, other personal interests, health/injuries, and so on) and really have fun and enjoy and learn and grow. For me that is the challenge because it requires abilities to be smart in approach and to re-prioritize when necessary and make difficult decisions.

    1. agreed…i really like the book The 5th Discipline…that might account for how i got so carried away coaching….i couldn’t help it!

  4. […] increased my weekly mileage from 40 miles last week to 45 miles this week, and plan to maintain that level before increasing to 50 miles per week. My […]

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