5 Steps to Start Training for a Half Marathon

We’re less than 12 weeks away from the Cleveland Marathon and Half Marathon events, which means it’s time to get training! If you’re planning on doing a spring race but don’t know where to start, here are 5 steps to get started:

5 Steps to Start Training for a Half Marathon

Step 1- Find a training schedule. If you’re already able to run 2-3 miles, then you’re in luck – there’s plenty of time to train for a spring race. I’m a big fan of Hal Higdon’s training plans because they give you time to build up your mileage (their beginner half marathon plan is 12 weeks long), come in different levels and are somewhat flexible, which is key for any parent. For example, if you have a long run scheduled for a Saturday but find yourself tied up at 3-year-old birthday parties all day Saturday, you can switch things up and move it to another day in the week. 

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GIVEAWAY: Cleveland Marathon Entry Giveaway

TLDR: You can win entry to the Cleveland Marathon! Comment on this post or visit my Instagram (@koskim) for more chances to enter.

As you may have heard me share, I’m once again I’m returning as a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador!

That means that I get to promote one of my favorite race series – the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, happening the weekend of May 16-17, 2020. This year, the race weekend has plenty of options for runners of all levels, from the famous marathon, to the half marathon, 10K and 5K. Plus, there’s my favorite – the Challenge Series events, where if you run both Saturday and Sunday events, you get 3 medals AND a special gift (past gifts have included a foam roller, fleece blanket, hoodie, etc.). And, as an ambassador, I have a free race entry to give away!

Enter the Cleveland Marathon Race Entry Giveaway

How do you enter? This year’s giveaway is taking place on both my Instagram account AND blog. You can enter both ways, on my Insta (@koskim) OR by commenting on this post. So in short, comment below and/or visit @koskim on Instagram to enter.

Ready to run? Check out @koskim on Instagram to enter and/or comment below with the race you’d like to run to enter. The giveaway will run through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, 2/22.

Some questions for you:

  • What are you training for now?
  • What’s your favorite spring race?

And if you don’t win, you can still get 10% off! Use discount code RUNCLEMELISSA10 when you register.

Disclosure: As a race ambassador, I was given a free race entry into the Cleveland Marathon. I also get a free entry to give away. You can enter here! Or on Instagram. Or both places. Wherever you want.

Cleveland Marathon Kickoff Run Week

Happy January! I know last week was also January, but now it feels like we’re really into 2020. And that means, it’s time for spring marathon training!

I’m not training for a marathon at the moment (I’ll probably start training for my May half marathon in a month or so), but this week was the Cleveland Marathon Kickoff Run. They had a 5 mile run in Cleveland that started and ended at a brewery, meaning tasty local beers and brunch awaited us! (Plus free donuts and coffee)

Look at how many people were there! I also got to meet up with fellow Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors, which was great.

The run was definitely the highlight of my week, which included lots of treadmill running.  Here’s the look at the week:

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2019 Running: My Year In Review

Happy New Year (plus a few days)! I can’t believe we’re already at the end of the year and it’s already time to look back at 2019. In terms of running, it was a good year. Here are some highlights:

Returning as a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador

I once again was asked to return as an ambassador for one of my favorite local races – the Cleveland Marathon! I joined several new and returning ambassadors to help promote the race, which is held in May every year. As part of the ambassadorship, I was able to be featured on the running podcast, Rust Belt Running! You can listen to my episode here.

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Processing the Cleveland Marathon

I have had a hard time processing all the events from last week’s Cleveland Marathon. More than a week has gone by, and I’m still trying to put to words how I’m feeling.

The highs – the Ambassador race VIP dinner, working the Expo with fellow Ambassadors, and of course finishing the races under less-than-ideal conditions.

But the low – the passing of Taylor Ceepo – has been running through my mind all week.

I’ll start by saying I did not know Taylor. I had never met her. I do not know her family and cannot fathom what they are feeling. Unfortunately the only connection I have to her is running the same race – the Cleveland half marathon – and running by her after she collapsed.

So why do I feel so connected to her? Why on after the race did I have a hard time going to sleep, reliving the moment that I ran by her on the ground, her mom and boyfriend standing over her, each time I closed my eyes? Why did I find myself choked up on my first #RunForTaylor on Wednesday? Why did I find myself hugging my own daughter a little tighter as I thought about what Taylor’s mother must be feeling?

I can’t help but feeling like I don’t have a right to feel this way. I don’t have a right to write a post like this. Who am I to be talking about this at all? But after reading some thoughts from other local runners, I realize I am not alone. We are all grieving for this woman. Because we are all part of a community. One of my running friends and a fellow ambassador Andrew explained it this way:

We [runners] all have different routines, different speeds, and different backgrounds. But we all have two things in common; a goal to finish and a love for running. This is what brings us together.

We lost one of our own this day. And our hearts are broken. Our hearts are broken for the spectators who witnessed [it], the race staff, the runners who shared the course, the first-responders who were unable to revive her. Most importantly, our hearts are broken for the family and friends of this young woman.

So thank you, Taylor, for reminding us of the community that we are part of. For reminding us of how lucky we all are. I will keep on running for you and your family in the weeks ahead. #runfortaylor

Cleveland Marathon -8K and Half- Challenge Series: Race Recap

I can’t believe the weekend is over. I have been training since January for this past weekend’s races, and just like that, it’s over. I’m feeling a little let down – after all, what do I do now?

I don’t have a normal training week to share with you. Did I run last week? Yes – I got in a few taper runs and a stroller run Sunday through Wednesday and took Thursday off. The bulk of my running last week was done Saturday and Sunday for the Cleveland Marathon Challenge Series!

Let’s just say that the weather was NOT in my favor for the weekend’s events. I was weather stalking for quite a few days, and each day, the forecast got hotter and hotter. I hadn’t trained in anything really warmer than 50 degrees, so I was obviously a little nervous as I saw it creep from 60s to 70s and the to .. gasp …  80s?! At that point, I knew the only thing I could do would be hydrate and hope for the best. Not a PR, but not my worst race.

Starting the Weekend with the 8K

I had signed up for the 8K/Half Marathon Challenge Series, which meant my race weekend started on Saturday with an 8K in Downtown Cleveland.

The weather, while NOT super hot, ended up not being the best either. This was the radar as we started to drive into the city.

The temps ended up being fine, but it drizzled as we approached the starting line, and started really raining while we ran. Still, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “At least it’s not too warm!” Yes, I prefer 50s and rainy to 80s, at least at this point in my training.

At the start, I ran into a few fellow Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors, and it was just enough time to snap a pic before the race began.

I tried to keep it a little easy on the run, knowing I had the 13.1 miles less than 24 hours later. So, I kept my heart rate mostly in the green range and according to my Garmin, around a 9:08 min/mile pace. I clocked in at over 5 miles, so who knows if all the zigging and zagging gave me an extra quarter mile or if the course was a little long.

I felt myself smiling nearly the whole race. I was that person thanking the cops for being there and keeping the roads closed, high fiving some of the people spectating (including FW!) and really just enjoying being out there. Despite the rain, I was feeling good and hoping that I’d feel the same on Sunday.

The Half Marathon

Sunday started EARLY. And warm. I had set my alarm for 4 a.m. just to get ready, feed LM (I’m still breastfeeding and wanted to get in a quick feed before the race) and get downtown with enough time to meet up with my ambassadors at the starting line by 6:30. We had the whole morning planned. Leave the house by 5:45 a.m., get breakfast from Cleveland Bagel at 6 a.m., park in my office parking garage at 6:15 a.m. and be at the starting line for a picture with the ambassadors.

That was the plan, at least. What actually happened? We didn’t make it out of the house until 5:55, so we skipped bagels, and then the road we were going to take to get to the garage was closed, so we ended up parking almost 2 miles from the start, so I made a mad dash (a literal sprint) to the starting line to just make the starting line photo. But I made it! Sweaty since it was already getting warm – it was already in the 70s before 5 a.m.!

The race started and I wish I could say the first few miles felt good. But they didn’t. I was somehow a little sore/tight/tired (perhaps from the previous day’s race? Or perhaps from my sprint to the start? And I was hot.

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At mile 2, I took a spill, falling completely down on the ground and bloodying up my knees, shin, right ankle, hand and also rolling my left ankle.

I saw B at mile 5 or so (which was the third time I saw him and the kids – they were great at finding me and cheering me on!) and told him I wasn’t going to make it. I was too hot, my ankle was sore and my feet were starting to hurt. And my fingers were swelling. But all of a sudden  – I don’t know why or how – I realized that I was running this for fun. So I may as well try and have fun. So that’s what I decided to do! Every sign I saw that said “touch here to power up” I touched. Every person giving out high fives, I high fives. I ran through sprinklers. Ran under hoses. Walked through water stops and drank 1-2 cups each time. And before I knew it, I was finishing the race – not a PR at all – and crossing the finish line to meet my family, see some friends (including fellow ambassadors Andrew and Melissa!) and have a post-race beer.

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It was a hot one, especially for Cleveland this time of year where it’s usually in the 60s, 70s. Most of my fellow ambassadors found themselves running 10, 20, and even 30 minutes+ slower than usual. I saw several ambulances on the course, people getting sick and being taken off the course. Especially after the tragedy of the weekend (which I ran past and happened to see at the end of the race … ), I’m feeling especially grateful to have finished the race and had fun, despite the heat and less-than-stellar temps.

And in the end, I ended up with THREE medals for my 8K and 13.1:

Some questions for you:

  • Did you run CLE? What did you think of the course?
  • What’s the hottest race you’ve run? This was 81 when I finished. It was one of the hottest for sure!

I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down.

Valentine’s Week Runs and Sick Again

Happy Valentine’s Week! It was a nice week here, minus a few of us (me and LM) being sick. I just had a cold, but LM had a double ear infection. She’s on meds now and hopefully gets better soon.

The week included some fun, including a visit to FW’s classroom.

I helped him do a craft.

While this one stayed home sick. She was sent home from daycare with a fever and after taking her to the dr we found out about her ears.

We also had a very thematic dinner.

I preferred the dinner B made me, though. White wine, grilled veggies and tuna are a few of my favorite things.

We had some more good eats this week, including Aladdin’s takeout. FW loves their pita quesadillas and I love their hummus so it’s a win win.

I also got in my first outdoor run in what feels like forever! I did take a spill at mile 2 – I was running up a small hill and I saw what looked like a water mane break in the road and it had splashed on the sidewalk. Just as I had stopped to run on the grass and avoid the large puddle/ice, I of course landed on a sheet of black ice and went DOWN. My leg got wet – and by the end of my run, it had turned into ice crystals on my pants!

Speaking of running, here’s how the week looked. Monday is when I started feeling sick again and Tuesday and Wednesdays runs were pretty slow and involved some walking as well. Thursday I was up earlllly with a sick baby (see above) and didn’t get in a chance to run. Weeks like these make me glad that I’m not yet training for the Cleveland half marathon – I was able to just take it easy and run or walk or do whatever I wanted, without feeling guilty for messing up my training.

Despite the spill, I was so happy to be outside for Saturday’s 5 miler. I’m grateful for the treadmill but also getting tired of having to stay indoors!

And that’s a wrap. Some questions for you:

  • Have you been sick this winter? This is my second time in a month!
  • Are you training for anything right now?

I’m linking up with the weekly wrap.