Week 1: Los Angeles Half Marathon Training

You guys are going to think I’m crazy.

I know I said I’m planning to race a 5K (and I still am…eventually).

But after getting a million promotional emails, I started to consider running the Rock ‘N’ Roll Los Angeles Half on October 30th. I enjoyed it last year, so when I received an email with an “alumni” coupon code that was practically cheaper than most 5Ks around here, I couldn’t resist registering. So I’m registered for a half after saying I was training for a 5K and sticking with said 5K instead of being a flake all the time, and here I am, being a flake and changing my mind yet again.

tom hanks you've got mail gif

I got hooked after reading blogs and posts from everyone training for fall marathons. Ali and her posts about NYC Marathon training have been especially influential in re-igniting the long-running flame in me.

I was avoiding longer runs because it doesn’t feel the same in LA. I miss the New York City running community and haven’t found that here yet.

When you have friends to long-run with…

I miss running in Central Park. I miss racing in Central Park. I miss iced coffees and egg and cheeses with friends post long run. The (cliche) “NYC energy” that makes you want to run to feel the satisfaction of working hard collectively, alongside everyone else, knowing you won’t be the only one with a runner’s high (or the only one struggling). Knowing you’ll be surrounded by a concentration of beauty and people and the excitement of working toward a goal.

Bethesda Terrace NYC


Williamsburg Bridge Running NYC

Nothing like running into another borough to make you feel accomplished.

Not that California doesn’t have that, but it’s different. My motivation to run long suffered. BUT…reading Ali’s posts has reminded me what it’s like to have enthusiasm for running again and I’ve been waking up excited to run each day.

So, here we go with my next half marathon training cycle – 12 weeks total.

This time around I created my own training plan. It’s a mix of a couple plans, loosely based around the Run Less, Run Faster training plan. Basically, I have a tempo day, a speedwork/track day, a long run day, and the other days are strength/cross training or rest options, depending on how I feel. Over time I’ve learned what helps and what hurts me when it comes to training so I tweaked that plan in hopes of staying healthy.

Trusting my own plan is nerve-wracking (do I even know what I’m doing? Jury’s still out) but come on, it’s not the end of the world if I run slow – as long as I focus on staying healthy, I know I’ll get to the finish line. I’m okay with that this time around. OR MAYBE I’ll become a race planner extraordinaire and will travel the world writing up training plans for Olympic athletes who are like, OMG Kara how did you run that half marathon at a 9-minute pace, please teach me your ways.

sub 2 half marathon training


With that being said, my first week went GREAT! I was focused and motivated and felt like I did a great job taking care of my body – AKA each day I made time to stretch for 10+ minutes before heading out the door to run, foam rolled, did “prehab” like bridges and clamshells, and incorporated cross training. I’m also making sure I have protein immediately after exercising – I know I need to do a better job of respecting the process of recovery. AND I wore my very attractive compression shorts to sleep when I felt sore.


Want the details? Lucky for you, I have them:

Weekly Mileage: 13.25 miles

Weekly Cross Training: 3.1 hours

Monday: I went to a treadmill speedwork + band/stretching class at Poise…I had scheduled it before I made my training plan and decided to stick with it even though it’s not usually enough mileage. We did 4x150m and 6x300m with a jog recovery. I usually try to get there early enough to do a mile warm up but got there right on time this day. I ran a little longer at the end but it ended up just being 2.75 miles total.

Tuesday: 1 hour of strength training intervals/HIIT. It was hard and my soreness kind of messed with my other workouts all week. We did 100 squats, 100 pushups, 100 sit ups, then a bunch of high-intensity strength circuits that included sprinting, then another 100 squats, 100 pushups and 100 situps. WTF.

Wednesday: 40 minutes trying to set up my bike trainer because I forgot how to do it, and then 40 easy minutes on the bike trainer while watching Gossip Girl. We might also want to call this one a rest day. Or my favorite, “active recovery”. #solidworkout

Thursday: Ugh. Thursday. My disaster of a “track workout”. I was so excited to do it. All morning I couldn’t wait to get to the track (I work at 6AM and getting there before work just wasn’t happening) so instead of waiting until the sun set and it cooled down, I went around 2:30PM. I know better than to start at 2:30 in the afternoon but alas I ignored better judgement as a I normally do. I ran a 1.5 mile warmup and 2 mile repeats with a 400m jog recovery. It was hot and sunny and I failed miserably. Mile #1 was 7:43 and #2 was 8:34. I crashed and burned but my spirits were lifted when NFL football came back and I got to watch the Jets preseason game (on Red Zone because NO NETWORK SHOWS THE JETS FOR US HERE). I know, I know, preseason sucks but it’s the fact that football is back, people. It’s the little things.

Do not be fooled, this picture was taken years ago, but I’m feeling nostalgic. I may jump on the LA Rams bandwagon a time or two, just to warn you, but the Jets will always be #1.

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: 6.5 miles easy. My “long run”. I was on a runner’s high with this one. I ran on the beach path and went so slow because I know the importance of actual easy runs. ALSO TO NOTE: I wore a hat and it saved the day. TRY IT. (Or am I super late to the hat game?) I always figured a hat would make me hotter and uncomfortable and I’d hate it (even though I never tried it, smart thinking) but I’m sick of squinting and sweat and sunscreen burning my eyes so I wore a random running hat that’s been in my drawer for years and now I’m a hat convert for life.

dockweiler beach running

The beach path. Very Snap-worthy.

Sunday: Woke up early to watch the Olympic marathon (5:30AM in California, BLAH) then went to power yoga for 90 minutes. That’s a long freaking time for yoga. I haven’t been to yoga in weeks and I felt like I hadn’t been to yoga in weeks. The stretching part I loved but I did approximately 2 chaturangas and skipped them the rest of the class. My wrists and shoulders were killing me. We did get in some great hip-openers, which I always need. PLUS this studio overlooks the ocean so I just stared at the waves and breathed in the ocean air. Glorious.

All in all, I’m so happy my enthusiasm has returned and am thrilled to have my next race officially scheduled.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Meb in an article from Outside Online:

People say, “Go the extra mile.” But that’s not always a good idea. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to go one mile less. [What’s important is] staying healthy and being consistent. I still get my share of injuries, but, as I write in my book, Meb for Mortals, it’s about “prehab instead of rehab.”

That pretty much summarizes my approach to training right now.

Running in hats: yes or no? Do you have a good running community where you live? DO YOU LIVE HERE AND WANT TO RUN WITH ME?!

I’m a writer currently living in New Jersey and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!


  1. August 16, 2016 / 4:34 pm

    KARAAAAA! I do remember you and love stalking you via your blog and all the social media I can. I miss you! This sounds like a kickass start to 1/2 training, my friend! You are capable of SO much more than you give yourself credit for! Can’t wait to see you do big things. Stay smart! Xo

    • August 17, 2016 / 4:20 pm

      Oh thank goodness! I miss you too! Snapchat makes me happy because I get to see your beautiful smiling face each day :) I don’t know how I’ll ever run a half without you – I think you should just book your trip to LA now. (And thanks for the stay smart comment, totally needed that, haha.)

  2. August 16, 2016 / 6:16 pm

    OH!! I might steal your plan! I wanted to run it too, using the Hanson method but that is an 18 week plan!! I am new to LA too and it is SO hard to run long here! Good luck with your training <3

    • August 16, 2016 / 7:14 pm

      I’m happy to share! Let’s run together?!

      • August 16, 2016 / 8:00 pm

        Yes! Couple of things: I’m currently out of town, but will be back in September. I’m in Santa Monica–where are you??
        I was only kinda kidding about stealing your plan 😛 But it did motivate me to build one with my friend’s help!

        • August 16, 2016 / 8:09 pm

          And just to clarify: I LIVE in Santa Monica but am not there right now; I will be in September 😀

        • August 17, 2016 / 4:18 pm

          Woohoo! I’ll shoot you an email :)

          • August 18, 2016 / 12:22 am

            Great! Looking forward to it!

  3. August 16, 2016 / 10:19 pm

    I love the pic of you and my running buddies. Good luck on training!
    I’m training too, doing prehab and PT because the darn hip is acting up. I am not cancelling this marathon. (NYC and I got in through the lottery. whoot).
    but I’m afraid I can no longer follow you. The JETS?? sigh. (My husband loves them right after Pittsburgh, game was on here the other night as well).

    • August 17, 2016 / 4:12 pm

      Thanks Janine! Ugh, hip issues. Sending you lots of strength and healthy thoughts! Keep up with the prehab and PT and you’ll get to that finish line :)

      Awww come on! Don’t ditch me because of the Jets! They’ve already caused me a lot of heartache, haha.

  4. August 16, 2016 / 11:02 pm

    Love following your journey!

    • August 17, 2016 / 4:09 pm

      Thanks lady! Same to you :)

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