Newport Half Marathon + Workouts that guarantee a PR

So, now that I am marathon training, I am happy to sign up to do a half marathon on my way there, to sharpen speed and practice a fueling strategy. A PR in the half is this close and I determined to make it happen! I just need to slice 5 seconds and I promise I’ll be happy forever!

And with that, such turn of events… I am running the NEWPORT HALF MARATHON again this year! Hahaha, such turn of events, I know…! 

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I did the race last year (and their 10K also in 2016) and it was amazing. The Newport Half is in right in the heart of Newport, New Jersey, just across the Hudson, and is super flat and fast. It covers some miles on the town, an extra few miles on a park, and then the river front, with amazing views of the nyc skyline and Miss Liberty, there is a few turns, just the way I like it, BEST WAY TO PR! Also great, it’s just a few minutes away from NYC, via the path! Also, check out the finish line spread in the pictures… delish and impressive. If you sign up, tell them I sent you 😉

When: Sunday, September 17th, 2017. Racers take their mark at 8:30 a.m. 

Where: 100 Town Square Place,  Jersey City, NJ 07310. Click here for directions

Logistics: Bag check is offered (limited to one bag per runner). All runners will receive medals at the end of the race. Packet pickup will take place from 6:30 to 8:15 am in Newport Town Square, 100 Town Square Place, Jersey City.  Free parking is available in the North Garage at 561 Washington Blvd. (Enter on Washington Boulevard, see parking information in Directions). No Headphones.  No Baby Joggers. THERE IS RACE DAY REGISTRATION.


If you’re doing your FIRST HALF this Fall, make sure you get the basics covered:

– Consistent training, don’t skip workouts

– At least one speed workout a week. It could be 800s, mile repeats, or a good tempo run! FUN!

– Do at least a 5K or a 10K (better!) before the half so you practice racing (aka: pacing, hydration, pre-race fueling, race day gear, etc.) and know exactly where you are, fitness-wise. And, race rehearsal is super important!

– At least one long run every week. Doesn’t have to be long long but at least get up to anything from 7-8  miles to 15-16 a couple of times.

Now, if you’ve done a FEW HALFS and now you want to get faster… how do we do that??? that’s the tricky part…  besides all those points above:

– speed workouts twice a week if you can handle them. Maybe do intervals mid week (800s, mile repeats, hill sprints) and a tempo with a few more miles after (to simulate a longish/hard run) on the weekend.

– practice race pace but not more than 4-5 miles.

– practice pacing, maybe you can do your tempos as a ladder (where each mile is faster than the last one)

– practice patience, the half is such a waiting game. You can’t go all out from the start and you need to learn to hold your horses: do a few races to practice this.

– DRILLS, at least twice a week! Here’s a good guide to learn. It’ll improve your form and it’ll help you keep going on the later miles of the half.

And then, set an appropriate goal. Nothing too easy or you won’t be motivated, and nothing too hard that will crush you while trying. This is also really hard to do, as we have to learn to be realistic and humble. But that’s the good thing about running, right? It keep us honest (and fit!!).

So, I’ll be adjusting my training a bit because I am also doing a full marathon this year, just a few weeks after the half. 

CONSISTENCY + ENDURANCE + SPEED are the main ingredients to a bulletproof half marathon training program. You have to do enough miles to build a great endurance base (whatever that number is for you) and throw in as many speed workouts as your body can handle without falling apart. Periodization is Key. Sit dow and plan this out in 7 or 10 days periods to have a good idea of what’s ahead and where you’re resting. DO NOT SKIP RESTING.

These are the workouts I usually do, in a period of 7 to 10 days depending on the workout.

LONG RUNS: Anything from 10 to 16 miles. Pace can be easy, or progressive, or you can add a few race pace miles in the middle or end. For example, on the last 3-4 weeks before the race, you can add 3 to 6 miles at the end at the projected pace.

TEMPOS: As uncomfortable as they can be, tempos are the bread and butter of a half marathon training! A tempo can workout to be anything from 3 to 6 miles. Or less when you’re’ starting out, or more if you’re more advanced. Pace should be around your 10K to half marathon pace. you’ll have to adjust based on your level and where you are in the training program. After a few weeks, add a Progression tempo: start at race pace and drop 10 seconds per mile.


  • Long Intervals: 2×2 miles at goal pace, with 4 minutes recovery jog in the middle. After a few weeks, updgrade to 2×3 at goal pace miles and then to 3×3 miles at goal pace, both with 3 minutes recovery jog in the middle.
  • Mile Repeats: Start with 3 x 1 mile at 10K pace with 90 seconds rest. After a few weeks, you can upgrade to 4 or 5 x 1 mile at 10 seconds pace with 60 seconds rest. Eventually, you can do up to 6 x 1 mile, 2 weeks before the race.
  • Hill Repeats! Hill intervals are speedwork in disguise, right? Go do them. Find a hill you can climb, time yourself, and do it a few times.  Jog down as a recovery. The slower your recovery, the faster you’ll go up in your next climb.
  • Yasso 800s. Basically: you run the 800 meters as fast as possible and then jog for recovery in the same amount of time it took to run the 800 meters Maybe start with 4 to 6 reps and build up to 10.

Of course make sure you warm up thoroughly before, do some drills and loosen up. And REST. you need time to recover so I usually like to have an easy week (where it’s just half the mileage and no hard workouts) every 4 weeks.

I am excited!! What’s your next goal race???

AND… who is doing the Newport Liberty Half Marathon with me?

AllState13.1New York Bday Race Report! + the most RIDIC tutu pics EVER

Saturday was my birthday. I am not sure there’s anyone who didn’t know!

For the first time since I am a runner, my birthday was on a Saturday (read: a race day).  I looked, and this hasn’t happened before; in 2007 my birthday was on a Friday, in 2008, it was on a Sunday, we skipped Saturday! and I wasn’t a runner a few years before that!

I was turning 38. Yes, freaking 38. Seriously… FML

Friday at around 3 pm, I decided I’d race a half on Saturday… who needs to decide earlier? O maybe before gulping some McDonalds for lunch?

Why couldn’t I make a decision earlier..? well, there was a LOT on my schedule for that weekend… I didn’t think I’d want to wake up early ON MY BDAY (that sounds awful, right?) on top of it all, some plans changed so I figured I could… there was a half in Queens: the All State 13.1 series, on my exact birth date… sorry, I couldn’t get over that fact!!!

Well, ALSO, I was having a tiny bday celebration Friday night, AFTER a really busy week, which was also the first week at my new job at Austim Speaks, and ALSO this was SIX days after the NYC HALF massive PR situ. Oh, and seriously, I ate CRAP all week. Stuff you don’t even want to know about.

Running a race at the end of that two-week period was possibly the worst thing I could have planned to do such a great way to celebrate my birthday, riiight?

Well, I was a zombie bit tired Saturday at 6:30 am when I woke up.

My friend John was driving and picking me up, so I came downstairs with my tutu on.

Sidebar: when I decided the day before that I’d race a half on my bday (and with zero probability to PR after such a week) I decided I’d take it super easy: tutu-birthday-fun! I hadn’t worn it since the 2011 Mini 10 (where I did do PR, tutu and all, but I also chafed like hell!) so I had to turn my apartment inside out to find it… tutu was a little disastrous mess hum unironed…

Well, so everybody kept honking at me, at 7:30 am not much is funny for me. Got there superfast, got registered in 5 seconds, got the t-shirt (ha, my bday date is ON IT!), packed it all into baggage and soon we were freezing at the start, just for 5 minutes. Seriously though, it’s late March, it is freaking ridiculously cold! It was around 30 but felt like 20 with the crazy winds. I froze. Also, I was underdressed as usual, just as I like it!

We go!

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That was at miles 1 or 2 when I still had some speed! The first mile was a bit crowded, which is common in any race around here, but it cleared up right after… then John had to retie a shoe, so we took a few seconds there… I was all up for taking it easy and he was too!

We both felt tired right away, and I was STARVING and dreaming of sushi at mile 2. Like: I would have stopped it I had seen food (where are the Dunkin Donuts in Queens?!?!).

I hadn’t had any breakfast (smart!!!) and I brought just one gel, that I made last until mile 4. I licked every single drop of  the Vanilla gel. I was almost tempted to chew the packet too, just in case it helped.

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After mile 4 I was starting to warm up but starting to get really tired. My legs were DEAD. LEAD DEAD. I am sure I had done this racing-halfs-two-weekends-in-a-row before but I probably ate better/rested more the week in between. This was a disaster pace.

I knew I wasn’t going to PR so I focused on relaxing as much as I could to be able to chill, enjoy the race and celebrate the day! that means: slow the eff down!!! Also, the tutu was bunching up a bit, as every once in a while I had to pull it out of my shorts or from in between my legs, but it really wasn’t any big problem as you would imagine…

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I kept picking people to run with/pace off but very soon I found out the awful truth: NO ONE WANTS TO RUN WITH A GIRL IN A TUTU.

I get it, you’re a serious runner, you’re trying to go super fast, you trained for this, all of thaaaaat.

But that doesn’t mean that I can’t hold the pace, or that I won’t help get more people cheering our way, or that I am taking this as a joke, or that you will trip on my tutu… seriously people, I look ridiculous but I am also a person, and a runner, and I AM going at your pace!!! Please love me and run with me!!!!

Anyway, you know the more it bothers you, the faster you’re gonna take off, and the sooooooner you’re gonna crash and come back to me. Don’t fight the tutu.

If you pulled away and were able to sustain it: Good for you, and: Glad I could help!!! 😉

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This last picture is my favorite. Do you like it? Help me pick which ones to buy!! I never buy pictures anymore but these are just too amazing…

The spread at the finish was INSANE. Lots of pretzels, fruit, muffins (I had 3 instantly!), and OREOS. I sat and stuffed myself like a maniac.

Anyway, I finished in 1:45, a loooong way back from the 1:37 I did 6 days before, in a much flatter and easier course, but I was still very happy.


I had a moment at the finish. I stood right there so I could spot John right away,  I also played Bart (Yasso!) and hugged/high-fived and all that. Then it hit me like one of those waved in the sea when you turn around:

This is my life now.

All of a sudden I remembered it was my birthday, and how I was doing a race on my birthday, and how, running has sipped into every single day and event in my life and how far I’ve come. I felt really humbled that, at 38, I felt this strong and healthy and happy. Yes, I can run (an easy 1:45!??!!?!!?) on any given day, in a tutu, feel amazing about it, and this is my new normal now. I felt thankful and extremely happy about all the places my running had taken me, including those seconds; this is my life now and, as hard as it is to get older (and stop PRing!), I was completely overwhelmed that that person was me, doing that, on that day, and feeling like this. Sorry for the sappiness but I don’t think I had every had such a birthday run…!

My (Running) “Karmic” System

  • Eat a little better (Just trying kind of counts). 10 points
  • Cook your own meals. No processed stuff. 5 points.
  • Sleep more. Stress less. Run happy. 25 points.
  • Stop running when you feel like it. 5 points.
  • Go as green as possible -Make your own cereal bars. Bring your water bottle to refill. Reuse. Share. Race and shop local. Donate your used shoes and gear. Run to/from work- 25 points.
  • If you can’t waive, look at runner in the eye(s), even during short intervals. 10 points.
  • Wear your salt stains or black toenails with pride. 5 points.
  • Tell a runner she/he’s got runner’s legs/a great pace/fabulous feet. We all need it! 15 points.
  • Talk about running mostly to your running buddies and (please!!)  and spare the rest that isn’t up for it. 10 points.
  • Spread the joy. Take a scared/lazy/cautious “it’s bad for your knees” person for a run.  30 points.
  • Keep said run short and slow (don’t scare them!). 10 points.
  • Volunteer. 15 points
  • Recruit a new runner-to-be for our cult. At least one unsuspecting victim a month. 35 points.
  • Get them to sign up for a race. 10 points
  • Help them find a training program. 5 points
  • Make a list with their names. Check on them once in a while. Help them stay motivated. Take them out for a run. 15 points.
  • Find them someone to run with: Run-matchmaking! 20 points
  • Take a picture a fellow runner will love, post it somewhere ;-). 10 points.
  • Take a picture that will inspire a non-runner, post it somewhere ;-). 10 points.
  • Share all your stories, pour your heart out, be embarrassed, be held accountable for your laziness, whine, scream, share your happiness/stooopidity, and be sincere about who you are: the good and the bad. 10 points.

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Look at all your points. WOW. Impressive —-That’s what she said!!!

Happy Sunday y’all!!!

Social Media: how it can break your heart

You might know I have been blogging at Runners World for over 4 years… I have more than tons of love for all that has brought me and nothing else but love. When I announced, two days ago, that I was moving my blog here, I had to hear it all, from do NOT, to cursing, and people sad and offended and it all, all loving though (I hope!??!).

And really. I had no idea SO many people would care so much. Really. (It’s ok: I’ve been called clueless before).

Well, then, one of my all time favorites EVER, posted this:

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Well, so, it turns out, what you do online MATTERS. 

I knew it because there are so many people online I follow, but I tend to forget how many people are out there who “follow me?”, so I want to make sure I make you all aware of it.

– It matters

and, my favorite:

-There is always someone watching

This is for you all: whether you have a blog, whether you tweet, or post on facebook about your runs. People want to know about what you’re doing, even if they’re not saying anything to you, or commenting on your posts. They learn from your posts, opinions, and experiences (the good and bad ones), you’re provoking something, creating something.

I follow/stalk a lot of people (Google Reader PLEASE stay active!). Senior Runner, the poster above, is one of those people whose blog I’d NEVER miss. I don’t always comment, but I have him on my rss reader, and have never missed one of his posts. They are funny, smart (too smart!), educating, and I really enjoy his wit. I just hope one day I can be a runner like him. And I learn a lot from all he writes. He inspires me to infinity. I really can say I love him, from the my bottom of my heart, as if he was a close relative.

It is crazy how you feel so close to people you have never met. And they might not even know you exist.

So I realized that not only what I wrote helped/mattered but also that people liked me, yes, it’s weird to even say it. But the truth is, I get it: there’s a lot of blogs, and tweet feeds, or even tumblrs that I am more addicted to than Gossip Girl.

So, besides feeling all this immense love in the last few days, I want to tell you all to remember that you are always inspiring someone. It doesn’t matter if people don’t say a word, or comment, or click,  or whatever. I’ve posted things no one commented in but as soon as I walked in (to the party, work, park, etc.) everyone would know/ask.

Don’t be scared: share your love for the run. Again: there is ALWAYS someone watching. Now, let’s  get the word out and get more people into our CULT.

(and I love you all!)

Hotel For Runners

I just came across a picture of a hotel in Vegas with all those fake buildings and weird stuff and had a great idea. I think someone with a ton of money should sponsor me and I’ll trademark it and you’ll all love it!

We’ll build a Hotel for Runners! And, how come no one thought of this? They have hotels for all kinds of types, but MY hotel is going to have:

  • A great location: close to a big forest with trails and a also a waterfront for pavement running with nice views (all with measured routes, mile markers, and Gatorade fountains)
  • A track around it to do your laps
  • A gym and a swimming pool for the cross training (with coaches for advice and yoga teachers for stretching)
  • An ICE dispenser in the tub
  • Ironman beds
  • Marathon stick, foam rollers and a mat for when you want to do the stretching in your room while you watch TV in you pajamas
  • Amenities in the bathroom: Vaseline (to avoid chafing!!), SPF and blisters protection, headbands, etc.
  • Mini fridge would have Gatorade, Muscle Milk and Sport Beans, plus all the other yummy stuff
  • A Spa with massage therapists, physical therapists, orthopedists, etc.
  • Races, every day, all the distances
  • Tons of pasta options in the menu. Plus, tons of protein too. So, basically EVERYTHING but really healthy.
  • movie theater, cause we’ll be too tired to do anything else.

I keep thinking and I keep coming up with more stuff!!! I think it’s a great idea, who’s in?