Training to Rock n Roll for 13.1 Miles in San Diego


My journey to a 2:30:00 half marathon at the 2016 Suja Rock n Roll San Diego started this week. As I begin this journey, I wanted to share a little bit about the plan to get there.


Last year, I finished this race in 2:4855. It was my 2nd fastest half marathon to date. I learned a lot in the process. This course is not exactly flat. It’s got rolling hills throughout the race. I wasn’t prepared for that last year. By looking at the course elevation, I assumed that, once I got past the half way point, the race would gradually go downhill and my climbing would be over. I know better as I prepare this year. So, how am I preparing? What’s the plan?

Time Improvement Schedule 1

I went to the training plans Jeff Galloway has posted on the runDisney web site and used the “Experienced Runners –  Time Improvement” plan for the Star Wars – Dark Side Half Marathon and changed the dates to fit the race I’m training for. So, as you look at the calendar above, week 1 is what I’m doing this week instead of December 15, 17, and 19 of 2015.  The only alteration (other than the dates listed) is that I’m going to be running the Knott’s Coaster Run 10K race at the end of week 5. So, it will be 6.20 miles instead of 7. Although, my GPS is usually off from the races. So, I could get pretty close to 7 miles at the race.

You will notice that in week 4 and week 6, the “long run” is 4 and 6 x 800. So, what is that? For this training cycle I’m going to be incorporating the Yasso 800’s into the plan. The video above features Bart Yasso talking about how to use the Yasso 800’s as a marathon predictor. In week 4, I will explain more about how the Yasso 800’s work. In week 5, I’ll discuss how my first Yasso 800’s went and lessons learned.

Time Improvement Schedule 2

Here is weeks 7 – 14. Here’s where the plan gets crazy. The training plans I’ve followed previously for a half marathon took me up to 14 miles on the long run. Week 13 takes me to 15 miles and I will still have about a month to go before the big race. Additionally, if you watched the video, you’ll remember that Bart Yasso talked about working your way up to 10 x 800. Week 14 has me running 14 x 800. So, Jeff Galloway’s plan is going to take me beyond the usual Yasso 800’s. One other small change will be in week 10. I’ll be running the Angels Baseball Foundation 5K race that Saturday. So, I’ll move the 10 x 800 to Sunday that week.

Time Improvement Schedule 3

The home stretch of my training cycle will take me to 17 miles as the longest “long run” of the cycle. I have run longer long runs in marathon training cycles. So, hopefully, 17 miles won’t freak me out. Now, if you’re wondering why I’d have to run 17 miles while training for a race that is 13.1 miles. Jeff Galloway has said that those who take their training up to 15 miles or more for a half marathon tend to run their races faster than those that run less. The miles over 13 help in preparing me for the mental challenge of taking on 13.1 miles. You’ll also note that the final Yasso 800’s will be the same as the one before it…14 x 800. Also, I’ll be heading out to Boulder, Colorado for the Boulder Bolder 10K race to end week 17. It’s going to be a crazy way to have a taper week. Running a 10K at altitude will be interesting. I’m not planning on doing that race at top speed because I need to save something for race day less than a week later. The Boulder Bolder is actually on Monday, May 30th…less than a week before the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon.


In addition to running, it’s going to be key for me to hit the gym each and every Sunday. Without any back to back challenge races between now and the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon, I need to find my gym groove again.


At the gym, I am planning on practicing for those Yasso 800’s on the treadmill. I started this past weekend by running 4 x 400 on the treadmill. I need to get up to doing 800’s at at the speed I’ll need to be running them on the track.


I’ll also be going assisted chin ups and dips. I really need the consistency on the machines because I really want to see improvements. When you’re not doing these exercises week to week, it’s hard to find the confidence to change the weights and see improvement. My upper body strength is not yet good enough to do these chin ups and dips without help. So, whether or not I get there by June, I really want to get to the place where I can do these unassisted.


I’ll also be doing leg presses on this bad boy. Again, I really want to see improvement.


The ab crunch machine is the final machine in my workout cycle. Anything that helps me work the core will be a good thing as I seek to knock time off my half marathon PR.


I’ll close out my workouts with 27 minutes on the elliptical machine. 15 minutes going forward, 10 minutes going backward, 2 minutes to cool down. Lately, I’ve gone back to level 1 resistance. I really want to get back up to a level 4 and beyond. Consistency will be the key to making that happen.


In addition to all of this, I’m going to make sure to incorporate lots of hills. San Diego will have plenty of them. So, the more I run them, the better prepared I will be on race day.


Now, it’s time to go out and do the work necessary to crush my goal of a 2 hour, 30 minute half marathon. June 5th seems like a long ways away right now. But, each and every run and each and every gym workout has a purpose. Each training session is so vitally important. Even though it’s the beginning of February, I need to be consistent or there is no way I’ll hit that goal.


June 5th is going to be Epic….as long as I do the work. Now, it’s time to…..


Have a great weekend everyone!

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