Goals for the Love Run Half Marathon

By Janelle @ Run With No Regrets | training

Mar 24

This Sunday, I’ll finally be running my first big race of the year – the Love Run Half Marathon!

I am very excited to see how this race goes but I’m definitely nervous!  One of my goals for 2017 is to run a sub-2:15 half marathon, and this will be my first test.  Coach Laura has given me a great plan these past several weeks, but now it’s time to execute.  I’ve got my fingers and my toes crossed that I’ll have my day.  Keep reading to check out my strategy for the Love Run!

I’m linking up with Ilka and Angela for Sunday Fitness and FoodSusie, Debbie, Lora, and Rachel for the Running Coaches Corner and Annmarie, Nicole, Jen, and Michelle for Wild Workout Wednesday!

Check out my goals for the @loverunphilly half marathon! #loverunphilly #run215 Click To Tweet

I'm sharing my goals for the Love Run Half Marathon in Philadelphia, my first goal race of the year! Find more about race training at runwithnoregrets.com!

Goals for the Love Run Half Marathon

Some of the 2016 Love Run Ambassadors

For Philadelphians, the Love Run Half Marathon is the unofficial kickoff to spring race season, and I’m so excited to finally get to run this race!  Last year I ran the inaugural Love Run Relay and had a blast with Bret and my friend Mark.  This year I’m going to be riding solo.  The course for this race hits some of the same points as the Philly Marathon so I’m not expecting any surprises.  Because I am aiming for 2:15 (or faster if I’m lucky), I have to make sure that I’m on the ball!


On Saturday after the Fight for Air Stair Climb (oh yes, I’m doing that too LOL), I’ll be heading to the race expo to pick up my race packet (and probably buy more Love Run swag LOL).  On Sunday, I’ll be meeting up with the City Fit Girls who have organized a team for the race.  The race starts at 7:30 am so I’ll have to make sure I get into the Art Museum area early enough to find free parking and get a group photo with the team!  Last year, all I had to do was walk out the door to the course start.  It’s probably the #1 thing I miss about living near the Art Museum, haha!

Racing Strategy

Coach Laura has provided my plan for this race, and I have to admit that I’m praying that I’ll be able to get it done on Sunday!  The Love Run was notoriously hilly but they seem to have taken away the “worst” parts of the course this year.  I’m hoping this will be to my advantage!  Pacing and tackling the hills the right way will be key.  After an easy warm up, here’s the plan:

  • Mile 1-2/3: Begin at a restrained, easy effort (10:25-10:35/mile). Let the crowds go out in front of you. Use the slight downhill here to gradually ease into pace and then keep it easy for the first 2-3 miles. This part of the course will feel easy, but keep it so – think about conserving energy for those hills.
  • Mile 3-4: Once you reach 2.5-3 miles, gradually pick up the pace to goal race pace (10:10-10:17/mile). Focus here on your breathing, keeping it steady and smooth (two counts inhale, two counts exhale).
  • Mile 5-7: The big hill begins here, so focus on maintaining an even effort (meaning pace will drop) on the uphill. Look up into the hill and take short, powerful strides. Once you crest the hill, take a minute to catch your breath and ease back into goal pace. When you reach the downhill, maintain your save effort and let your pace naturally pick up – use the hill to your advantage.
  • Mile 8-10: Another hill! Focus on maintaining an even effort on the way up, or even back off the effort if it feels hard. Think about reserving a bit of effort for the final few miles. Once you crest the hill, accelerate naturally down the hill and use it to make up the difference for the uphill climb. On the final significant hill, use the momentum from the downhill to help you climb it, then accelerate again on the downhill.
  • Mile 10-12: Increase your effort. This may mean increasing your pace or just holding onto goal pace (10:10-10:17/mile) as best as you can. Take this portion one mile – or even 1/2 mile – at a time.
  • Mile 13: Push faster with each 1/10 of a mile. Use the slight downhill to speed up before the final hill. Power up that final hill as best you can and keep your eye on the prize (both literally – look up the hill – and figuratively).
You may also like:  Love Run Half Marathon Training Week 5 Recap

Fueling and Hydration

I’ve been having some awkward water bottle handling with my Orange Mud Hydraquiver during races, so for this race, I’m going to focus on getting my water at the hydration stations along the course.  I will use the Hydraquiver to hold my Honey Stinger Chews and my personal items, but I can’t deal with my water bottle flying off in the middle of the race….I forgot to mention that that happened at the Rock ‘N Roll DC Half Marathon a couple of weeks ago!

Unfortunately, it looks like it’s definitely going to rain on Sunday.  I just can’t catch a break, can I?  Saturday’s weather would have been perfect to race!  Hopefully, the rain won’t make the temperature feel too cold but I’ll make sure I’m properly dressed so that I don’t overheat!

I just have one more easy run to do this morning and I’ll be foam rolling, keeping hydrated, eating smart, and keeping positive vibes for Sunday!  Thanks to everyone who has been following my training each week and encouraging me along the way…it’s been a fun ride!  It’s almost time to get it done!

Have you had your first goal race of the year?   What are your plans for the weekend?

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