Main image for Christmas Half Marathon: 13.1 Miles of Holiday Cheer Time to Read: ~13 min

After taking a week off after my 13-week Memorial Day to Labor Day sprint, my body was calling for me to do something new. Without a race on the horizon due to the pandemic, I figured I'd jump into a plan and see what materialized. I've used the Run Less, Run Faster half marathon plans before, so when I calculated out where a 16-week plan would land, it put me squarely at the end of Christmas week. So, I plan to give myself an awesome gift at the end of the plan: a (hopefully) fast half marathon on a homemade course of my choosing!

I'm going to keep track of my workouts week-by-week below. There are three hard runs per week (that's the "run less" part of this plan). It'll be a fun way to look back and see how I was feeling during this tough, yet effective, plan. I'm not going to log my 4x weekly rowing sessions, or walks and hikes. I will log things that get my heart rate going or really put a stress on my muscles.

So far, I've run 290 miles over 33:47 (hh:mm) in pursuit of this goal.

Nov
24
Man in Tights

Repeats! Boy, it was cold. First run this season in thermal tights. 3x mile with 200 RI. Splits: 6:18, 5:55, 6:23.

6.03 mi
0:43
Nov
25
BodyPump Remix

Hard to believe that tomorrow is Thanksgiving! Work gave me part of the afternoon off, so it was nice to start this a little earlier and finish it with 15 minutes in the sauna while the rain fell softly outside.

0:42
Nov
26
T3: Taughannock Turkey Trot

This is the first week of my plan where Thursday didn’t call for a tempo run. 6 miles “easy” was the order of the day, so it was perfect that @FLRCIthaca held a virtual fund run edition for their 48th Annual Turkey Trot. It benefits Loaves & Fishes of Tompkins County. I’m looking forward to a fun run with friends next year, but this year’s waterfall was a splendid stand-in as the sun peeked through the clouds.

6.15 mi
0:54
Nov
27
BodyCombat 80

Punching, kicking, and capoeira. Pretty darn good way to pass an hour!

0:58
Nov
28
Be Chilled or Be Chafed

Rain? What rain? Started with clearing skies but my shirt was soaked by mist by mile 5. Fully soaked by 8 so the shirt came off. It was “be chilled or be chafed,” so I chose short-term discomfort!

10.04 mi
1:19
Week 12 Recap: What a gift today is. It's sunny, warm enough for a recovery hike, and tomorrow's back-to-work forecast is for rain. Perfect for indoor BodyPump, so today's planned lifting will be tomorrow's sweat-fest. What's next? Four weeks of planned runs, culminating in a fast half marathon. Let's do this!

Nov
16
Dusky Repeats

Headed out after work to avoid nasty weather tomorrow. Got to wear light-up gear! 1 mile warm up, 1,000-2,000-1,000-1,000 w/ 400 RI, 1 mi cool down.

6.02 mi
0:42
Nov
18
BodyPump 107 Express

Ended up doing this one alone, since Amy and I had schedules that didn't align. We both agreed that solo BodyPump seemed to go by more quickly and seemed easier, but we're not exactly sure why.

0:38
Nov
19
Tempo

Man, I just love running into a cold headwind! Oh wait, that's not true. Southbound was miserable!

7.04 mi
0:48
Nov
20
BodyCombat 82 Express

I literally finished this 2 minutes before my morning meeting. Punching, kicking, and conference calling. That's life in 2020!

0:42
Nov
21
Hard-Earned Miles

This was my longest run in a long tome, so I felt nervous. The first half felt good, while the second half was hard. I felt like I was working hard to earn each stride. Every one of those strides got me closer to my goal, though! 14 miles with a 7:10 average pace goal.

14.09 mi
1:39
Nov
22
BodyPump with Chantelle

A little virtual BodyPump with Chantelle in our living room. So delightful to get a good sweat on before hitting the barrel sauna for 15 minutes.

1:00
Week 11 Recap: Well, that was close to a 30 mile week, and not a bad one at that. Boy, do I need a break, though. These weekends aren't cutting it, so I'm looking forward to this being a 3-day work week coming up. I've decided to take Friday off so I get a nice 4-day weekend courtesy of Thanksgiving. Onward!

Nov
10
Repeats

1 mi WU, 4x1200 w/ 2 min RI, 1 mi CD. I started the run pretty tired, and intervals 3 and 4 proved really difficult. Perseverance is the watchword of the day!

6.03 mi
0:42
Nov
11
BodyPump 112 Express

At-home BodyPump with Amy. These shorter sessions can sometimes be harder than the hour-long ones!

0:38
Nov
12
Tempo

6 miles at mid-tempo pace of 6:36. Started off rather cold but was really grateful for shorts and a tee a few miles in!

8.01 mi
0:54
Nov
13
BodyCombat 83

It's been a few weeks since I did a full-length class. This felt SO good! Wow. Morning is such a better time for my energy level for this class.

0:54
Nov
14
Saturday Sevens

7:00 goal pace for 10 miles. Overcast, cool, and delightful! Listened to Marc Cohn for the first time in a while, and then Hamilton. What’s your name, man?

10.06 mi
1:10
Nov
15
BodyPump with Chantelle

We enjoyed the replay of Chantelle's Saturday morning class. Sunday evening, while it was pouring outside!

0:56
Week 10 Recap: This week seemed to fly (or is it slip) by! It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away, and it *is* getting colder. That makes the tough runs far more bearable. I'm still feeling really good about this plan, and am really happy with how things are going!

Nov
3
Repeats for Breakfast

These were big repeats, too. 2x1600 and 2x800. Took 60s between each and a mile to warm up and cool down.

5.07 mi
0:33
Nov
4
BodyPump 111 Express

At-home BodyPump with Amy. Mission accomplished!

0:40
Nov
5
Tempolicious

Oh, how I missed the sunshine and warmer temperatures. Blissful for 5 miles of tempo effort.

7.17 mi
0:48
Nov
6
Ride, Interrupted

It was such a gorgeous day that we had to go out for a ride. Sadly, though, we had bail after Amy’s bike got a flat. I raced home to fetch our rescue vehicle!

9.55 mi
0:35
Nov
6
BodyCombat 83 Express

This was NOT very satisfying since I had to pause for 10 minutes and then resume, but it served as combat for the week, nonetheless.

0:37
Nov
7
Sunshine and Smiles

I was smiling for a lot of this run, but later miles were a tad uncomfortable. Beautiful temperatures for a November Saturday morning!

13.18 mi
1:32
Nov
8
Sheldrake Ride w/ Amy

A gorgeous Sheldrake ride with Amy. I can’t believe we have these temperatures in November!

28.28 mi
1:54
Week 9 Recap: What a roller coaster of a week! Coronavirus roars on, but the week's emotions about political uncertainty crescendoed to a delightful resolution on Saturday. The run workouts were tough this week but I got 'em all in, and it seems like it may be the last week of unseasonably warm temperatures.

Oct
27
Double Tempo

I got my wires crossed this week and was supposed to run intervals today. Instead, I ran the double tempo that was scheduled for Thursday. I guess I’ll be doing intervals on Thursday! Working goal pace was 6:36.

7.07 mi
0:48
Oct
28
BodyPump

Another great on-demand BodyPump with Amy. Express version 103, you know, from before the pandemic!

0:41
Oct
29
Swatter Weather

Christina said my Strava map looked like a fly swatter, and it’s getting cooler ... so, swatter weather! 2x(6x400) w/ 90s RI and 2:30 between the sets. Wet and wonderful!

7.01 mi
0:53
Oct
30
BodyCombat 82 Express

I felt off this whole workout. It must have been the obscene about of caramel cremes I've been eating lately!

0:41
Oct
31
Hot Miles

Started off a bit fast for my planned 7:00 miles, but the uphill segment made me temper it a bit. I was stressed for time and knew I had a latte waiting for me at the finish!

8.01 mi
0:53
Nov
1
BodyPump

This was a killer Halloween BodyPump mix with Chantelle. I felt like the first two tracks were interminable, but the entire release was a great workout. I like when things are mixed up enough that it all feels novel.

0:58
Week 8 Recap: Really, November already? I can't believe it. These training weeks are rolling by quickly, and though this week's long run really wasn't that long, it wasn't really a fallback week, either. Total mileage is right in line with prior weeks. Next week I'll run a 13 again on on the weekend. 8 weeks to my goal race!

Oct
20
Midday Misty Intervals

Got to a logical stopping point at work and laced up for 6x800 w/ 90s RI. Tough, short, and delightful.

5.73 mi
0:43
Oct
22
Midweek Tempo

5 miles of work at 6:36 target pace. Got out the door in time to get this solid run in before my meetings, AND the rain!

7.04 mi
0:48
Oct
22
BodyPump

An on-demand BodyPump session before dinner. We felt like passing on our scheduled BodyPump session yesterday, so fit it in today (despite running earlier) so we'd have 2x for the week.

0:48
Oct
23
BodyCombat 83 Express

Punching, kicking, and capoeira on the front patio. It was HOT today, but the setting sun made this patio workout downright delightful.

0:41
Oct
24
From Clouds to Mist to Sun

I waited for the rain to stop before starting this long run. It was cloudy, then it misted for a while, then the sun came out for the last few miles. All kinds of luscious weather out there this morning! Goal pace 7:10, so mission accomplished!

12.03 mi
1:24
Oct
25
BodyPump

Another great BodyPump with Chantelle on our living room television. This felt particularly good because we were able to hit the sauna after we were done.

0:55
Week 7 Recap: The weeks are flying by! I enjoyed two hikes this week, along with my standard set of four 10-minute rowing sessions. Feeling really great, and took in a massage this afternoon to loosen up my tight leg muscles.

Oct
12
J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge

Tomorrow's forecasted rain had me wanting to do my track repeat workout today. I also coincidentally signed up for the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge, a 3.5 mile effort. So, I combined the concepts today! The challenge has its own app to use, and I covered 3.5 miles in 22:17, with splits of 6:17, 6:23, 6:32, and 6:10. Pretty happy with that!

5.17 mi
0:37
Oct
14
BodyPump 105

We liked the the LesMills On Demand BodyPump 105 Express release so much last week that we repeated it this week. Smooth, efficient, powerful.

0:43
Oct
15
Double Tempo

This was a fun one. A tempo with a mile break in the action. I headed out at 7 a.m. and enjoyed seeing the brilliant sunrise as I ran the warmup mile. The work was tough, but I hit the goals and made it back to my house in time to get cleaned up for work!

7.01 mi
0:50
Oct
16
BodyCombat 71

Well, they don’t offer an express version of this release, but given the time constraints, I made my own. Just skipped a few tracks ...

0:43
Oct
17
Rambling in the Sun

Oof, that was hard. I am used to running in the morning, before I eat anything, so this post-lunch run felt kind of tough. It is beautifully sunny, though.

10.21 mi
1:10
Oct
18
BodyPump with Lynn

A delightful virtual class with Lynn. There's something wonderful about working out in your living room when it's *not* your dinner night.

0:54
Week 6 Recap: I can't believe it's already mid-October. Where is the time going? My wife and I agree: time seems like it's moving both slowly and quickly, inexplicably at the same time. Regardless, that's another week of successful fitness, and I'm looking forward to the week ahead!

Oct
5
BodyPump 105

Post-work BodyPump, express edition. The short class is tough, but getting started so close to dinner had us not feeling up to the full hour. Good enough!

0:43
Oct
6
Mile Repeats

3x1600 w/ 60s RI. Goal pace of 5:48, so I wasn’t far off with a 5:51, 5:53, and 5:59. My intervals always seem to be marginally slower than the plan calls for, but the tempo and long runs are right on the money.

5.04 mi
0:34
Oct
7
BodyCombat 72

Strava says this workout was 90 minutes, but only because I had to pause my watch to take a call. Funny to mess up the time so much just for the sake of my abs.

0:55
Oct
8
Tempo

6 miles at long tempo pace, target 6:51. What a delightful temperature for this hard effort!

8.06 mi
0:55
Oct
10
#LGR Long Run

Red tree, shirt, Altra shoes, and Cornell scarf (Lynah, how I miss you). Took today’s long run and made it 100% Big Red for Cornell Homecoming.

11.1 mi
1:17
Oct
11
Brisk Yet Beautiful

It was a beautifully sunny day. As I got going on my ride, I regretted not having at least some lightweight gloves. That only motivated me to keep focusing on turnover on this ride's ups and downs.

17.54 mi
1:06
Oct
11
BodyPump with Chantelle

Watched the replay of Chantelle's Saturday morning FLX Fitclub BodyPump class. I love doing this class in my living room ... but I do miss our Friday Happy Hour Pump in the studio, too.

0:55
Week 5 Recap: The vibrant leaf coloring from last week is replaced by a pretty consistent browning and shriveling. We've been without much water these last few months, so that's affecting my leaf peeping! It was a good, solid week of fitness, and I particularly enjoyed my Thursday tempo and my solo hike on Friday.

Sep
28
Track Repeats

Man, this felt really hard on tired legs from yesterday’s ride! 5x1000 on the high school track. Delightful to get this done as the sun rose!

7.38 mi
0:54
Sep
29
BodyPump 113

Les Mills On Demand always churns out a good workout. We opted for a full-length edition to nail our biceps and triceps.

0:50
Sep
30
Tempo

3 miles of work at short tempo pace (6:21) so ... mission accomplished. Cool, but humid. Kind of hard to shake off the disgust from last night's presidential debate. I think I'd need all day to do that.

5.27 mi
0:37
Oct
1
BodyCombat 73

This was a pretty good release. Planned to do it on the deck, but with slippery boards I opted for inside.

0:55
Oct
2
BodyPump 97

97 is hands-down my favorite on-demand track. It's like putting on a nice, comfortable pair of shoes. And then sweating a lot.

1:01
Oct
3
Delightful and Short

My post-run latte has never tasted so good. Crisp air and sunny skies made this run really fun, and it ended before I got tired of it. I like this distance!

9.03 mi
1:01
Oct
4
Indoor Cat

Felt like a little indoor steady state riding today. I'm grateful we have a Keiser bike! Sweated quite a bit AND got to watch a movie!

1:00
Week 4 Recap: Wow, what a dreary day! It's okay, because we need dreary days to remind us how wonderful sunny days are. This week has been taxing physically and emotionally, but with good nutrition and rest, I'm ready for plenty of fun next week. Bring it.

Sep
22
Track Repeats

6x800 with 90s RI. The fairgrounds track is a half-mile, so this was perfect on this chilly morning!

6 mi
0:45
Sep
23
BodyCombat 74

Planning on Friday night BodyPump at the FLX Annex, so traded BodyCombat into this Wednesday slot. There's nothing nicer than Combat on the deck!

0:50
Sep
24
Taughannock Tempo

There are always some GPS anomalies in the park, but the weather was too good to pass up some speed on the base trail. Tempo miles called for 6:21, and I hit 6:41, 6:20, and 6:26. Considering the variable terrain and the marina stairs, I'm pretty happy with this!

6.08 mi
0:45
Sep
25
FLX Fitclub BodyPump with Chantelle

Friday night BodyPump was one of our pre-pandemic staples. When Chantelle offered an outdoor edition in that time slot, we jumped right on it. Front row, all smiles, sun at our backs ... it was a great workout!

0:59
Sep
26
Long Run (Leaf Peeping)

A run with no pace goal means leaf peeping! Beautiful trees and a pause to say hello to The Bialke family’s horses.

10.02 mi
1:20
Sep
27
Sheldrake Ride with Art and Herman

Art invited me out for a long ride on one of the last warm days we may have. Temperatures turn cooler early this week, so it was nice to get out for this ride and meet Herman, too!

34.11 mi
2:18
Week 3 Recap: I really felt tired after today's ride. So much so that I took a nap! I know I didn't hydrate enough on the ride, and didn't take any nutrition during, either. So, not smart. The running this week has me ready for more, though, so am looking forward to an early start tomorrow. Will do my repeats on Monday due to Tuesday's forecasted rain!

Sep
15
Track Repeats

400, 600, 800, 1200, 800, 600, 400. I guess it's not hard to have the track to yourself when you get there early and the morning temperatures are hovering around 40°. This was really challenging (oof, that 1200), yet fun! Managed to keep within the goal of each segment by under 10 seconds, so #winning in my book.

7.55 mi
0:55
Sep
16
BodyPump 104 Express

This was hands-down the shittiest day of work I've had in a while. Not a lot to show for my efforts, and evening motivation was waning. But ... Amy and I spurred each other on to at least do a half-hour edition of our fav BodyPump release.

0:25
Sep
17
Tempo Run

5 miles of tempo with target pace of 6:36. Hit 6:30, 6:30, 6:30, 6:26, 6:27. Yesterday's stresses evaporated after this, and I enjoyed listening to the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman.

7.04 mi
0:48
Sep
18
BodyCombat 77

This was a really great session that dovetailed nicely into my early afternoon. I made a list of the Combat classes I've taken so far on Les Mills on Demand so I won't repeat myself.5 more uniques to go!

0:46
Sep
19
Long Run

Crisp. Sunny. Beautiful. And no GPS data because (of course) my Apple Watch got messed up after Apple's latest update. I fixed it later in the day by re-pairing it with my phone, but missed out on capturing my route nonetheless. All 9 miles sub-7, per plan, out-and-back on Congress and then out-and-back on Rabbit.

9.05 mi
1:01
Sep
20
Sunday Ride with Art

Enjoyed this ride with Art! Man, Perry City is a sweet westbound stretch. Had a great workout with great conversation!

24.51 mi
1:26
Sep
20
BodyPump 109 Express

After this morning's ride and this afternoon's yard work, I was not feeling up to this. It's just 45 minutes, though ... how bad can it be? Well, the Express releases pack a punch, so I got punched. Happy tomorrow's a rest day!

0:46
Week 2 Recap: I thought the repeats were the least enjoyable workout of the week. I phrase it that way because I actually enjoyed all of the running workouts. Perhaps that's a side benefit of a plan that has fewer weekly miles? I also appreciate all the cross training I am getting in. Now that the week is closing down, I do feel that my body is calling for a rest day. Oh, look, that's on the plan for tomorrow!

Sep
7
Group Ride to Sheldrake

Labor Day. Amy and I joined a group ride from the Farmer’s Market, heading to Sheldrake and back on country roads. We were rushed getting there after a failed attempt to lunch at Viva (they were closed), so I wolfed a slice of pizza as we rode to meet the group.

32.31 mi
2:22
Sep
8
Track Repeats

12 x 400 w/ 90s RI. First day of the 16-week plan. Happily headed to the HS track, but stymied by the group of girls walking around it. Obviously, some kind of team practice was messing with my plan. Still, heading to the streets for these repeats got the job done. This felt really tough, but doable.

6.62 mi
0:53
Sep
9
BodyPump 113 Express

Tough release with impossible choreography for the lunge track.

0:41
Sep
10
Tempo Run

2 mi easy, 3 mi @ ST (6:21 goal), 1 mi easy. Hit 6:18, 6:28 and 6:11 for the fast miles. Yeah!

6.04 mi
0:43
Sep
11
BodyCombat

Release #76 has some really great combinations in it! I listed the releases I’ve done before so I won’t be repeating anytime soon. There’s a ton of ‘em on demand.

0:52
Sep
12
Long Run

Long run day called for 7-minute miles. It was nice and cool out in the morning, so I hit the pace a little hard in the beginning and just held on! Ended up with a 6:45 overall with pretty even splits.

8.04 mi
0:54
Sep
13
Choose Your Own Adventure

Calves felt really tight after this week's runs, so I really looked forward to getting this bike ride done for therapeutic reasons. It was a nice stretch of the legs and nice cool temperatures for a ride.

15.35 mi
0:57
Sep
13
BodyPump with Chantelle

I love the mixes that Chantelle puts together. Virtual with a live instructor is bested only by the energy of a live class!

0:55
Week 1 Recap: It was a delightful week of fitness, but carried with it the stresses and preparation for back-to-school. Soon we'll be into our new-new-normal as our routines adjust, yet again. I'm feeling good physically, though, so bring on Week 2.