Half Marathon training

Training for a race? Tips for getting stronger, faster… and maybe even a new PR!

Believe me, I’m no elite and not the guru of all things racing. BUT… I have PRed a lot over the years and more recently, my hubby has started KILLING it at road races! So we pulled some thoughts together – nothing you probably haven’t read before – and wanted to share a few tips that have worked for us.


Finish line celebration at this year’s M3S Sports Cap City Half – Deedra (second from left) pulled out a new personal record and her first sub 2 hour finish! 

1) Make time for speed training. 

From my first to my second half marathon, the only thing I changed was adding in speed work ~ and a pinch of confidence knowing I could go the whole distance ~ which resulted in a 10+ minute PR! I broke the two hour barrier on that second attempt and have made that my goal for most half marathons since. Speed training will benefit you and your body in SO many ways including shredding body fat, building your endurance and more. Read one of our older posts on speed training HERE.

We do a lot of speed work at Shred 415 Sawmill, but also hit up the track on occasion, do outdoor tempo runs and when we’re feeling really ambitious, meet for hill repeats out on the Dublin trails!

Shred Fitness 415 Dublin Sawmill -12

2) Find the right training plan.

Many of us are training for the fall Columbus half marathon. We posted some of our favorite half marathon training plans back in January 2018, some of which we still love. Our Living Fit runners all like Hal Higdon’s plans and we typically use them as a template, then modify based on where we are in “life.” The one we are using this fall is a mix of his intermediate and advanced plans with 4+ days of running per week including hills & speed sessions.

We also like the Shred 415 Half Marathon Training Program. It’s perfect for the minimalist runner that only wants 3-4 runs per week and a lot of cross & strength training! We have been LOVING Shred 415 Sawmill this past year ~ see why HERE ~ and were excited to find a plan geared towards us distance junkies.

Shred 415 Half Marathon

Other plans – the Hanson method for instance – will have you running a LOT more mileage. Find what works for you, your body, your schedule… and remember to always be flexible when life comes your way!

3) Summon your inner rock star & engage your mental toughness. 

You hear this a lot in the running world… “Running is 90% mental.” Agree! You have to be willing to push your body, even when your mind is telling you “this is hard, quit, walk” etc.

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My husband is much better at ‘pushing through’ during a run than I am. When it gets hard for me, I want to slow down… or even walk (and pending the run, sometimes I do!) When it gets hard for him, he turns his music up a bit louder and somehow just pushes forward, often faster. He says he visualizes the finish line and also tries REALLY hard to not let anyone pass him.

“You have to be able to push through pain and adversity in many aspects of life… it’s no different when you’re running. You can’t give up.” -thoughts by Joey Gellenbeck  🙂

Blog post Sep 2019 Joey cap city

Joey EC 1

Joey had huge PRs this year at the M3S Sports Cap City Half (finish time of 1:35) and the Emerald City Quarter (finish time of 41:33) – attributing it to consistent training, regular long runs and speed+strength sessions at SHRED 415 Sawmill!  


Regardless of all of the tips above, some times your performance just comes down to race day. In spite of all the training, there are so many variables, some races just may not go your way.

But sometimes, all the stars align. The weather is perfect. The course is ideal. You settle into your pace – perhaps a bit uncomfortably – but your training pays off. Some may call it “race day magic.” Others just call it kicking a*s. Either way, you cross the finish line, look at the clock, and smile.

Blog post Sep 2019

-Kara Goucher 


RACE WEEK!! Cap City’s 15th anniversary party is right around the corner!

This Saturday is RACE DAY! Anyone else excited (but anxious) for the Cap City Half Marathon? We have a fun week filled with a short group run, a 15th anniversary VIP reception, a visit to the expotique at The Vue Columbus, the race (duh) and of course, the after-party in the Cbus Commons! Many local companies will be present or represented this year, my favorites including Homage, Land Grant Brewery & Cameron Mitchell.

We have had a loooooong winter with too many cold runs. We have fought through wind, rain, snow and sub-zero temps. Some of us have dealt with injury. First timers and those trying to PR may be trying to control anxiety. Many ran & trained on vacations and business trips across the United States (and maybe beyond!) As you reflect back on your training and look forward to Saturday morning, remind yourself of all the hard work you’ve done and be proud of yourself, no matter what happens.


Many of you are tried & true veterans, but a lot of you are first timers! Here are some tips that have helped us prep for “race week” and the big day you’ve been working so hard towards…  {revamped a little from our previous 2014 Cap City blog post}

Five Things To Keep In Mind During Race Week
1.  Stay hydrated and eat

  • Hydrate all week!  I’ve learned to hydrate Mon-Fri, but then cut back a bit at Friday’s bedtime and into race morning. I prefer not to have to stop for a pee break along the course!
  • The few days leading up to the race, try to consume only “normal” foods that your body is used to. This is not the time to try something new that may give you stomach issues. Eat clean so you feel great!
  • Pre-race dinner // Something you’ve tried before and know it works. Think lean protein, small serving of carbs and lots of vegetables. Nothing too heavy or spicy. One glass of wine may help you sleep, but a bottle will dehydrate you… so find some balance. 🙂
  • Race morning breakfast // your standard, pre-long-run breakfast ~ don’t try anything new! For shorter races I just have a banana with peanut butter, but for longer races (halfs and fulls) I’ll throw in a piece of bread or half a bagel. Eat early enough that you can hopefully make a potty stop before the gun shot start. I’m usually a ball of nerves and not at all hungry, so I have to force this. Heck, I’m nervous just writing this post and *thinking* about race morning!
  • Race day fuel // again, use only what you’ve tried previously. Some are okay on just water and/or a Gatorade type beverage along the course. I usually do some light fueling (a few HoneyStinger gummies) somewhere along the half way mark and a swig of water towards the end. This year, Cap City is offering a Carb Boom! Energy Gel station around the 6.5 mile marker.

2.  Try your best to get some quality sleep.  They say that its the “night before the night before” race day that you have a chance of getting some rest… and I’d agree. So for a Saturday race, you may not sleep well Friday night (pre-race jitters, early morning rise & run), but try to get a good night’s sleep on Thursday night. Some bed-time yoga may help you fall asleep!

3.  Make arrangements to get your packet at the expo. Don’t forget this important detail! This can be a challenge if you’re doing an out of town race and the expo ends at say, 7PM the night before, so plan accordingly. Many races will allow a friend to pick up your packet for you, but know the requirements.

4.  Plan out race morning & all the details.

  • Have your clothes, socks, shoes, race bib, safety pins, Garmin/iWatch, race fuel, music playlist, poncho, throw aways ~ anything you need ~ ready the night before. It’s also best if you’ve done a (long) run in your race day attire.
  • Figure out where you will park, what time you need to leave and where you will meet up with loved ones or spectators. We like to be down in the area around an hour before the gun start. You may also want to hit up the good ol’ porta pot!
  • Run through your finish line goals! I always recommend having more than one… that way you don’t feel defeated. I’m not going for a PR this race and ideally I’ll be able to hang with the two hour pace group… but any finish is an accomplishment, so that is always the main goal!

5.  RELAX!!!!!!  You have done the hard work! You have likely logged a training run somewhere close to your race distance [we got in a 12 miler]. Some like to do a yoga session or short, easy walk/run the day before to relieve some jitters. Some will do a SHORT “shake out” jog the morning of. Get some rest, show up on time, start your power play list (I usually save mine for mile 10 and try for a strong 5K finish) and be ready to take some fabulous pictures at the finish line! YOU GOT THIS! 

Cheers to another 13.1 or whatever your distance! See you at the finish line party Columbus!

Still got time? Check out some of our training memories from this year’s road to Cap City!



Tour of Columbus // RISE Fitness Community

Tour of Columbus – RISE Fitness Community, Upper Arlington, Ohio 

[by t gellenbeck]

We have toured a LOT of fitness places around Columbus. Some are “okay” and we are glad we made the visit to check it out. Some are so good we blog about them and include on our Tour of Columbus recaps and visit now and then.

And rarely, we fall in LOVE and will continue going back time and time again.

This has only happened with a handful of places in Cbus since the onset of this blog four years ago. You probably already know that we are obsessed with VPower Yoga, Harbor Yoga and Orange Theory Fitness. Well, add another studio to that short list!

I started attending RISE Fitness Community for their December challenge last month and absolutely fell in love! This is a runner’s dream and the perfect combination of running, speed work, cross training (variety of options including HIIT classes and runner specific strength training in run club classes) and knowledgable coaches that are all runners themselves.


Although there are a wide variety of run classes and HIIT classes, my work and family schedule has only allowed me to try two different types so far, Rise Run Club (RRC) Power and RRC Precision. As a distance runner, I’m (typically) good about getting in the mileage & the long runs with friends… but I’m always looking to add strength training and speed work to my routine. RISE offers the perfect combination!

RRC Precision is an hour long class where you rotate in 10 minute intervals between the treadmill and your yoga mat, doing runner-specific strength training and floor exercise intervals. RRC Power is very similar, but you do the 30 minute treadmill portion first, then hit the yoga mat for the second 20-30 minutes.  Both classes include a warm up and cool down. Get there a tad early and you can likely get in some additional time on the treadmill as you warm up!  I can almost always count on getting in 3.5 – 4 miles or more.

All of the RRC classes have the option to utilize heart-rate based training. Strap that bad boy on and push yourself into the four different zones throughout your workout! Your trainer will guide you through the session and like any good run coach, will also motivate you, believe in you… and PUSH you! I seriously feel like I could go conquer a marathon after I’ve finished a workout here.  Although I don’t plan to any time in the future. 🙂

I’m excited to check out other classes, especially RISE & RENEW – you start on the treadmill, and then end with a yoga session. Seriously?  My two favorite things! This is the best combination since peanut butter and jelly!!

There are also HIIT classes that take place in the front studio and do not include treadmill running. I haven’t taken this class, but we did a few workouts in the front area…


When I told the owners, Michelle Flemming & Jessica Kopp, that I wanted to rave about RISE in a blog post, they were willing to answer a few questions for me. I love including things from the owner’s perspective!  Here are a few tidbits from co-owner, Michelle…

Why did you start RISE?

“We started RISE to help more people find health. We believe that each person is on Earth for a purpose and if they are healthy, they can do it with zeal. The world is a better place when people are doing what they are meant to do. Thomas Jefferson said, “Exercise and recreation are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary, because health is worth more than learning.” The root of everything is having a healthy body, mind and soul. RISE is working towards that every day.

From a business perspective, we wanted to be the first to open a running studio in Columbus so that we could expand our love of running to our programming. Running studios are popping up around the country just like cycling did ten years ago. We love being a part of this action-packed opportunity.”


Me with co-owner, Michelle Flemming

What is your experience as a runner and how does that help make RISE specifically beneficial for runners?

“Both Jess and myself have been runners for a long time. We were athletes growing up in sports that required at least 5 miles per game. After our sport specific days came to an end, we both desired a physical challenge, to feel strong again and of course a little competition (even if it just with ourselves). We ran for exercise and for mental health, but when RISE Run Club came about, we discovered another level of training. We are healthier and stronger athletes than we were ever before, and the best part is that our RISE athletes are actually in better shape than us! Although it is a pride check to get out run by one of our athletes, it is the exact reason that we do what we do: to bring out the best in people.”

Can you give us a quick rundown of the classes and programs you offer to benefit runners?

“We offer RISE Run Club and HIIT IT classes all day, every day of the week and our athletes reach their goals using any combination of the two. In addition to these large group exercise programs, twice annually we offer a half & full marathon training program (July & February). We love helping our athletes set a lofty goal, overcome obstacles, and cross that start line. The finish line is just some extra icing, and it is only after our runners do it that they realize the journey was just as sweet as the glorious finish.”


Both owners and all the instructors we’ve met so far are kind, genuine and super motivational. They want you to work hard towards your goals, whether its getting into running, training for your first 5K or trying to qualify for Boston. That last one’s not on my personal bucket list, but I’m only half crazy!!

If you want to check it out, they offer first class free and have ongoing specials, challenges & more.  Tomorrow is FRIEND FRIDAY so bring a new training buddy to sweat it out with you and you’ll both receive a free class added to your account!

I really can’t say enough good things about this studio, the workout(s) and the people. I will be a long-term athlete here and can’t wait to have them help me cross many finish lines over the coming years… starting with th



Left to right // Jen (new member!), Jessica (co-owner), & me in the obnoxious neon 🙂

Choosing a half marathon training plan

So you’ve decided to run a half marathon.  Maybe it’s your first, maybe it’s your 100th. Perhaps you want to just finish (without crawling up the hills, my husband’s goal for Knoxville) or maybe you want to PR. Regardless of your level and ability, we all have one goal in common… to cross that finish line! And over the next however-many-months, you will want to build mileage, consider cross & strength training, stretching, hydrating, sleep, rest, recovery… and on and on.  Enter TRAINING PLAN!

Choosing the right training plan is important and although many have commonalities, others have specific focuses. I think the most important thing is to find one that fits YOUR LIFE. If you LOVE to run and have time for high mileage plans, find one that will get you into those peak weeks of 30 miles (we’re talking intermediate half training over here, these mileage goals will vary too!) If you’d rather just do three “quality” runs per week to have time for yoga and cross training, do that (then weekly mileage may be closer to 20-25 at peak weeks). Find something that balances your interests, goals and overall life balance.


Here are five favorite half marathon intermediate training plans…

  • Capital City Intermediate Plan
    • This one has four runs per week with a peak long run of 13 miles prior to race day. It also has an active recovery day (great for yoga!) and two rest days.  It is 17 weeks, but could be modified down if you are already running.
  • Columbus Running Company
    • This one is similar, with four runs per week and a long run of 12 miles prior to race day.  I like that this one has you taper a bit earlier… I like to feel well rested on race day! One cross train day and two rest days. This one is over 18 weeks (I think?!), but again, can be modified if you are already running. CRC also has weekly group runs & virtual coaching – contact them today!
  • Hal Higdon
    • Higdon is a popularly utilized training option found on the internet. He has a wide variety of intermediate plans ranging from five runs per week to his HM3 plan, with three key runs per week.  Most of Higdon’s plans are 12 weeks. You can find some that are based on mileage (my preference) and others that are based on total run time.
  • Sage Rountree
    • We met Sage at a run+yoga workshop at Go Yoga a couple years ago. She pairs our love of running and yoga, combining the two in her training plans. I’ve not done her half plan, but did follow it for a 10K and was pleased with my finish time! Her plan combines five days of running with one day of yoga and one day of rest. It is a 12 week plan.
  • Coach Jenny Hadfield 
    • I’ve not done this plan, but have heard great things about Coach Hadfield and have listened to some of her podcasts. Jenny’s intermediate plan is 14 weeks and includes four runs per week.

Moral of the story – every runner is different.  Find a plan that works for YOU and tweak as needed.  I’ve personally run 17 half marathons as of this post… so I’ve created my own training plan over time that combines my love of running+yoga, as well as my need for a day of rest here and there. Some races I’ve run for “fun” and I add in more rest, while others have been a PR chase and I added in more mileage and/or speed work. I try for a minimum of three quality runs per week (speed or hills, tempo and long run), but like to add in a 4th day of running when I can.  My peak weeks are around 25 miles, but I make time for 1-2 hours of yoga (sometimes at home, sometimes at a fav local studio), and try for an additional hour of runner specific strength training (LOVE places like Orange Theory Fitness and RISE Fitness Community, combining running+strength). 


More to come on “using” that training plan in another post! I like to track my workouts in a training log & then tweak training as needed.  Remember to be flexible and “listen to your body” as you plug along through the next 12-17 weeks! 

Disclaimer – these intermediate plans are geared towards runners that have been running for a while and are a bit “seasoned.”  Coach Hadfield states on her site, “The Intermediate Half Marathon Program is best suited for those who have been running at least 3-5 times per week for 45-60 minutes for at least one year and have completed a half marathon in the past year.” If you are running a half for the first time, find a plan that is geared more towards beginners.

So…. what plan do you like? What have you used in the past? We want to know! And good luck this season, we hope to see you out on the trail!

Cap City Half Marathon… Who is coming with us!?

I’m excited to be signed up for the Capital City Half Marathon again this year!  I’ve done the half a few times and last year, squeaked by the bad weather and big storm by PR-ing in the quarter (whoop whoop – gotta love a PR!)


And even more exciting… I was asked to be an official “Voice of Columbus” for this year’s event! I’ve lived in Columbus my entire life (well, other than that random semester I moved to the University of Wisconsin) and my love of all things Cbus runs deep.  The Cap City event is having its 15th anniversary and I’m SO very excited to be a part of it! I’ve always loved M3S events, especially the after parties, so much so that we’ve dedicated a page just to them HERE!


Hope you’ll join us this year! As of now, we plan to stick with the two hour pace group and see that 1:59 on the finish line clock. Sign up before Dec 31st (or put it on your list – last minute gift idea without the hassle of long lines!) and save $10.  Use code 18VOCLIVINGFIT to save an additional $10 off registration.

Okay, heading to bed. Only two shopping days until Christmas and only 126 days until the starting line… gotta rest up! 🙂  Stay tuned for discount codes, training tips, and little doses of inspiration over the next few months!





Running ‘Lingo’

If you are new[er] to running or distance training and are clueless about your running group’s mentions of PRs, LSDs and tempo runs, you have a few choices…

1.  Ask them to fill you in  photo-sep-05-4-36-46-pm

2.  Read one of the blog posts below [or find your own]

Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon —>

Learn the lingo – 20 [Columbus] marathon running phrases to know 

lululemon-athletica_416x416-300x300  lululemon athletica’s [post from today] 

The Ultimate Guide to Running Lingo: 25 words you need to know


3.  Do nothing and pretend to know what they are talking about

Hope you choose #1 or #2!  Happy reading and happy Tuesday!


Saturday morning group run

 Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 6.11.29 PMOur Living Fit Columbus running group will be meeting tomorrow morning for an 10 mile run.

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 Our longest training run before we taper for race day!


  • When ~ Saturday, April 19 @ 9AM
  • Where ~ meet @ north end of the Olentangy Trail ~ near Hills Market & Worthington Hills (see below)
  • Mileage ~ Most of us are training for the Cap City Half Marathon.  Beginning runners will cover 10 miles while  intermediate runners can do more.

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Cap City Half Marathon updates…

  • Register soon!  It may sell out!
  • Join our team #LivingFitColumbus when you register (sorry, no incentives, just social support!)
  • Read our weekly post from last week on Training Tips for the Final Month


See you in the morning!  

Come sweat with us!

Saturday morning group run

lulu manifesto tip of the week – Sweat once a day to regenerate your skin Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 6.11.29 PM

Come sweat with us!

Our Living Fit Columbus running group will be meeting tomorrow morning for an 8-10 mile run.

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  • When ~ Saturday, April 12 @ 9AM
  • Where ~ meet @ Starbucks in Historic Dublin and run the Dublin Rd trail
  • Mileage ~ Most of us are training for the Cap City Half Marathon.  Beginning runners will cover 8 miles while  intermediate runners are encouraged to do 10.


Cap City Half Marathon updates…

  • Register soon!  It may sell out!
  • Join our team #LivingFitColumbus when you register (sorry, no incentives, just social support!)
  • Read our weekly post from earlier this week on Training Tips for the Final Month
  • Coming soon – an interview with David Babner, Cap City Half Race Director

 See you in the morning!

Half Marathon training tips – final month

Happy Hydration Wednesday (sounds better than Hump Day!)     


Thousands of runners around Columbus are counting down the days to the Cap City Half Marathon on May 3.  Our group has seven runners training for it, several of which are first-timers.

Here are FIVE tips to carry you through the final month of training…  

  1. As your long runs creep past 60-90 minutes, some people begin to use ‘fuel’ while running.  You CAN run a half marathon without fuel (just drinking water), but I typically do refuel around the 60 minute mark.  I LOVE Honeystinger chews but other popular favs are Gu (liquid & chomps) or even just Gatorade.  SEE WHAT WORKS for you during training runs, as you don’t want to try something new on race day!
  2. I don’t recommend trying any new type of fitness that you haven’t tried before, just to be safe.  Insanity, CrossFit, Speed work… if your body isn’t used to it, no sense subjecting yourself to injury this late in the game.  Wait until after race day.
  3. The same goes for pre-race breakfast as well as your race-day outfit.  Try something NOW, during your long training runs, to make sure your body likes it!  My go-to pre-race meal is typically half of a whole grain item with [yummy oh-so-delicous Krema Nut] peanut butter and a banana.  I stay away from coffee on race day, but I know runners that gulp it.  I also ALWAYS test out my outfit at least once.DSC_0266
  4. If you need new shoes, DO IT NOW.  I recommend at least 3-4 weeks of running in shoes to break them in.  I made the mistake of buying new shoes one week before running the Pittsburgh Marathon… you do NOT want the blisters I ended up with, not to mention a potential injury!
  5. Tapering is an important part of training.  More on this later.  Don’t go too hard those last couple weeks.

I’m sure there is other good advice out there, but those are my top five pointers.  Enjoy your last month of training… all your hard work is about to pay off!

Do you have any TIPS for that last month of half marathon training?  

Please SHARE and send COMMENTS!


Weekly Workout ~ Half marathon training week 6

We are HALF WAY to race day!

Its week #6 of our 12 week half marathon training ~ beginner & intermediate runners training for the Cap City Half on May 3rd can follow our workout below;

Half Marathon Training Week #6

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We posted some info last week on SPEED TRAINING, so feel free to check it out!

 Happy running!  

**SIDENOTE** We will NOT be posting weeks 7 – 12… to get the rest of our training plan, you have to come join us for a run or email LivingFitColumbus@gmail.com 🙂  Tricky, aren’t we!!!!