Breaking PRs Takes Time

With some dedicated work over the past couple of years, I have been able to make some big improvements to my PRs (personal records)—taking nearly 30 minutes off my marathon time and 10 minutes off from previous half-marathon times.

However, this did not happen over night. It took me 6 years to break my half-marathon PR–SIX YEARS. Even though I’ve been able to set quite a few PRs recently, that wasn’t always the case.

I ran my first half-marathon in 2006 in a time of 1:36 and it wasn’t until 2012 when I broke that PR running 1:31. During these six years it wasn’t that I wasn’t running or training at a decently-hard intensity. But there were some key things that helped me become a much faster and stronger runner.

1. I increased my mileage. I went from running 50-60 miles a week to 70, 80, and eventually 100 miles in one week. I realize that not everyone’s body can tolerate that high of mileage, but if you can, I highly encourage you to get as many miles under your belt as possible.

2. Ran more races. If you look back in my history of running races, I only ran 2-3 races per year up until 2011. I’m not even sure why I only ran a couple of races each year, but I have enjoyed running more races throughout the year and have become stronger and faster for it.

3. I stepped up the intensity of my track/speed workouts. I have, throughout the years, done track workouts and interval training but only within the last few years have I done them year-round and at a more intense level.

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These are definitely the main reasons for my improvement but not the only reasons. I have continued to refine my diet, stay health and injury free, weight lift on a consistent basis, and recover (foam roll, ice, etc.) in the right way.

With the success I’ve had, I would love to share my knowledge and expertise with others through coaching runners to help them achieve their own goals and PRs. I have another post coming that will detail more about what I can offer, but if you are interested in working with me, please think about it and let me know.

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This past week I did not have a week of very high mileage, but that’s okay. It was my 19th week of my pregnancy, and I am glad I am still feeling well enough to run and run a 6K race.

Running Workouts ~ May 26 – June 1

Monday

6 miles/49:30/average pace – 8:15

I ran these miles with two other friends. They kept the pace going and the time flew by with our conversations.

Tuesday

Off from running, 40 minutes of weight lifting

I was NOT feeling motivated to run today. Unfortunately I don’t have a good reason beyond that. It seems like I have one day a week where I am not feeling motivated to run, as it happened last week as well. I did go to the gym to lift weights, which was enjoyable.

Wednesday

8 miles/1:05/average pace – 8:08

Track workout

2 mile warm-up

Ladder workout (distances in meters): 400 (1:39), 800 (3:27), 1200 (5:17), 1600 (7:07), 1200 (5:14), 800 (3:26), 400 (1:37)

2 mile cool-down

I was very glad I ran the second set faster than the first. I am definitely starting to feel the bump and feeling my speed drop off some.

For comparison though, I am faster now (at 4 months pregnant) than I was 3 years ago when I did the exact same workout in this blog post. How crazy is that!

Thursday

5 miles/42:57/average pace – 8:35 + 75 minute deep stretch yoga class

I took this run easy the day before the race. It wasn’t a horrible run but not the greatest either. Love taking the deep stretch yoga class to force me to spend ample time stretching.

Friday

Skinny Mini 6K Race –> read the recap here

6K/25:24/average pace – 6:49

Saturday

3 miles/28:56/average pace – 9:38

The 6K race was Friday evening, so this was a very slow run in the morning.

Sunday

Off

I took another day off. I slept in and then got busy doing things in the afternoon. I wanted to do a long run but also wanted to run another 50 mile week this next week, so it was probably a good thing I took the day off in order to go into the week with fresh legs.

Total: 26 miles

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2 responses to “Breaking PRs Takes Time

  1. The fact that your first half was 1:36 is so impressive, you must have been in great shape. I totally agree with all your reasons, I think they are exactly what it takes to get faster.
    Personally they are all part of my routine, except for the high mileage, I don’t know if I’ll ever get there (time constraints, fear of injury).

    • Actually, I’m not sure how I pulled off 1:36 on my first half. I had been running but not that much. I also didn’t warm-up or take water or energy gel during the race, so I’m not sure how that happened. Maybe I was just so excited to be running the adrenaline carried me through.

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