How I Trained for 3 Half Marathons in 7 Months

I ran three 1/2 marathons in one year; I was 14 for the first two and 15 for the third. This is my story.

My closest family and friends are all runners; I’ve always loved the race environment and the energy that comes with a big race. I knew I wanted to run a 1/2 marathon as soon as the minimum age requirement would allow. I wanted to find a race that was fun, but still had a competitive energy. I decided to run the Hershey 1/2 Marathon my freshman year of high school because I was also running cross country. I wasn’t the best, but I worked my butt off to get my times down throughout the season and become a better runner. I decided this would be the optimal time for my first 1/2 marathon because I was already doing daily conditioning with cross country.

Hershey 1/2 Marathon

My weekly training included all cross country practices, meets, and invitationals. Each practice was two hours, and meets including invitationals were about two times per week. On the weekends, I did my long runs. I ran at the local park and rail trail with my best friend who rode her bike beside me. I paced 11-12 minute miles on my long runs. Besides running, I took group fitness classes 2-3x per week depending on my training schedule. I took Les Mills classes for extra strength and cardio conditioning: BODYPUMP, CXWORX, BODYATTACK, and BODYFLOW. I roughly followed Hal Higdon’s 1/2 Marathon training plan for long runs and extra conditioning.

Daily Training Log – Hershey 1/2 Marathon

Hershey 1/2 Marathon Race Day:

I had two Egg White Delights from McDonald’s for breakfast before the race. I didn’t drink much water because I didn’t want to have to use the restroom during the race. My mom was also running along with some family friends. Within the first three miles, I ended up having to use the restroom. I was upset with myself because the line wasn’t short and I knew the clock was still running. As you can see from my Garmin log, I paced myself pretty consistently. I finished in 2:08:13 (chip time) and was pretty happy with it. I felt great at the finish and knew I pace myself effectively because I wasn’t short of breath or winded at any part of the race.


Baltimore 1/2 Marathon

After Hershey, I felt great. I wanted to run another one, and I knew that I wouldn’t have to build up endurance again if I did it soon after Hershey. I found Race 13.1, and it was the perfect race around Inner Harbor. I didn’t train as much for this race because it was less than two months after my last 1/2 marathon, and I just came off of cross country season. I ran about 2x per week leading up to the race, logging about 6 miles per week. I have included logs of my two long runs prior to race day as well as my race day log:

Daily Training Log – Baltimore 1/2 Marathon

On race day, I didn’t feel very confident. I ate a small breakfast and didn’t drink any water. At mile one, I wanted to drop out and felt sick to my stomach. The feeling ceased, but around mile 7 or 8 I started to feel nauseous again. I finished the race and didn’t feel great about my time of 2:11:04 (chip time), but I wasn’t too upset. This gave me motivation to run my third 1/2 marathon.

Harrisburg 1/2 Marathon

During training for this race, I noticed my foot was bothering me. I didn’t think much of it, so I toughed it out until race day. I felt fine on race day and actually thought it was going to be a personal record for me. Until about mile 10, I was running steadily in the 9-minute mile range. At mile 10, I hit a wall. All of the energy I had rushed out of my body and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to finish. I found myself struggling really badly, and couldn’t believe it because just a few seconds prior I felt fantastic. I knew I only had about a 5k left, but I wasn’t sure how I would manage for the next 3 miles. I ended up going really slowly, and damaging my time pretty harshly. I looked weak at the finish, and almost ended up walking through it. I finished in 2:14:40, and was pretty disappointed. I can’t seem to find any of my training or race day logs, but I found a few pictures from the day of the race:


julia grace

Leave a Reply