Five Five – You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

It’s Friday so I’m linking up with Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five linkup! Join in! Don’t forget to link back to your hostess and visit some other bloggers.

I have run 37 Half Marathons. You would think that I would know what I am doing, right?


That why this post is called:  “You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks”

Here are some things that I personally have learned:

1. Less is More.

I used to think that I needed to do 10, 11 and 12 mile training runs. I would be worried that I would not have the endurance to complete 13.1 miles.

Mind you, some runners do or at least they think that they do need ALL these double digit runs.

You have to know you own body, the date of your previous half and most importantly, your goal for the race.

If your goal is to finish, you can skip those long runs and run the race accordingly.

In other words, you may be surprised how FRESH legs vs TIRED legs can affect how you run. You can OVER TRAIN!!

I ran faster and felt better during the half with 3 miles on the weekends than the one when I completed ALL my double digit runs.

heading to the finish line with a smile – I trailed that guy the whole race

Do you feel that you need long runs before a half marathon? Ever run one without?

2. Stability Shoes are Essential.

When I started running, I think I wore stability shoes. Maybe not the right ones because they became uncomfortable.

I discovered Nike ZOOM Vomeros which were LIGHT and had a wider toe box.  I was happy.  I  ran faster too!! Win. Win.

Not really.

If I ran longer than 8 miles, I got blisters, my lower back started aching and the bottom of my left foot HURT!

None of the above was unbearable and stopped bothering me as soon as the race ended.

So I kept buying these shoes in many colors and endured the discomfort.

The turning point was my calf injury in February.

I don’t know if the shoe was the cause but it prompted me to switch to a more supportive shoe.

I bought Mizuno Wave Inspire 15s with some pricey Fleet Feet insoles.  The shoes were heavier and felt clunky when I ran.  I felt much slower.

No aching back! No blisters! No pain on the bottom of my foot!!!!!!!

pain-free tootsies!

I also tried Brook Ravennas – pain on the right side of my foot (bunion area).

Maybe I’ll never be fast again but I think I’d rather feel good during my races.

So I am sold on the Mizunos!   I think than I better buy another pair before they change them.

Do you wear Stability or Neutral shoes? Does it matter to you?

3. Negatives Splits Should be our GOAL

We all know that. But often you always feel good at the beginning of a race so you run fast.

Maybe you know you always slow down so you may as well take advantage on your speed in the early miles.

You get caught up in the excitement and then it’s too late.

It happens to me practically all the time.

Then my friend Stan ran the Hot Chocolate 15k along side me. His goal was to get me to slow down in the beginning miles. We chatted until mile 8 (and then he left me in the dust.)

I used this approach during my last half marathon.  Two of my friends sprinted ahead of me and I lost them until mile 10.  I still had spring in my step and passed them and many others. My last few miles were as speedy as the beginning ones.

sprinting to the finish on fresh legs

Do you try for negatives splits? Do you usually succeed?

4. Fuel More Often

I’m normally not a big drinker or eater during a long race. I don’t carry water and usually stop at each water stop. So I guess how much I drink depends on how often the water stops are.

I carry GUs and my plan is to eat one at mile 4 and one at mile 8 but usually I ignore the 12 mile one. Sometimes I only even eat one at mile 5-6.

During one recent half, I finished the race and felt very light-headed like I was going to pass out.  I took a GU and immediately felt better. Under Fueled! Duh.

So during my last half, I changed the plan. I ate a GU at mile 2, mile 6 and mile 10.  So much better!!

I didn’t wait until I was sooo hungry or energy deprived. I ate before I needed it.

Salted Caramel is my fave

How often do you fuel during your half marathons?

5. We need Friends at races.

At least one of my half marathons each year is during my winter vacation in Florida. I run it but I don’t know anyone. Of course, I enjoy the race but I so prefer having friends at the start and to chat with after my race. It makes a big difference.  Racing is not just about finish times.

I always wait for my friends to finish and cheer them on (if they are slower) and they do the same for me.  They will wait for me if I get an award and I would do the same for them.

post race eating and debriefing

So anyone running the new Zooma race in Bermuda this February ? I want company.

Feb 15-16, 2020

Do you often race solo? 

Happy Running! What have you learned lately?  Please share.


21 thoughts on “Five Five – You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

  1. Shoes are a totally personal thing. I run in neutral shoes. I don’t need stability shoes. I’ve only ever had that one blister (but that was a doozy!).

    Most of the other stuff — well, I feel as thought I may have mentioned a lot of that.

    I don’t have to have friends at races. Yes, it’s more fun that way, but I’ve also been quite lucky that I actually have met up with someone for almost all my halfs for quite a few years — sometimes planned, and sometimes it just happens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am a lot older than you and as you age, your feet get flatter and have less padding. You may need stability shoes someday.

      Of course if you travel to all your halfs, you won’t be running them with a group of friends. At least you always have Lloyd.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really do agree that less is more as well. I have made the mistake of over training a number of times and I just end up tired or achy on race day. I thought about Bermuda but no direct flights in Feb unfortunately. It’s a deal breaker for me as it’s only about an hour flight from DC

    Liked by 1 person

    • Until recently I just wanted to finish too. And the last few miles were always painful. If I start slower, the race is definitely easier and as a result more enjoyable.


  3. Great lessons! I really struggle with the negative splits too. I’m still trying to figure out how to avoid going too fast in the beginning. It worked for me at my December half last year but I was deliberately supposed to go an easy pace until mile 7 and wasn’t racing the half. It was more of a training run with specific paces set out for me. It’s much harder to avoid going fast when you’re actually racing. I’m a fan of the stability shoes too. They work well for me. And I definitely learned about less is more during my marathon training last year. I over trained the first time around and ended up injured.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooooh! Zooma Aruba sounds awesome! What a great time to go to the tropics!

    I am usually a fast starter, but I think you are right. Negative splits are the way to go.

    I wear neutral shoes. When I first began running I bought stability shoes when I didn’t need them and got plantar fasciitis. Never again!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I need stability shoes. Fortunately, I’ve always been in the correct shoe, though a guy (from a reputable bike/run store) put me in neutrals and that was a disaster. I’ve worn the Wave Inspires many times, but they seem to tweak them with every new model. It’s not a big deal for most people, but my high-maintenance feet can feel a difference. I have never trained further than 10 miles for a half…and I’ve done over 40 of them with no issues. That’s probably a personal thing, but I know my body does much better when I keep the mileage at the minimum.


    • I agree with you. I did try Mizunos way back but they changed them so I switched. I will stay with them (of course until they change them again.)
      And I think you can over train. You just have to know your own body and how much rest it needs. Adrenaline can get you through a race.


  6. The Mizuno Wave Inspire was my first shoe I loved them for a long time, but the more recent updates haven’t been doing it for me. I have actually switched to the Brooks Adrenaline AND Ravenna and right now those are working well for me. I wouldn’t mind going back to the Mizunos at some point.

    The new Zooma race sounds lovely. I wish my February wasn’t quite so packed so I could manage it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love this! I don’t that I’ve ever had negative splits in a race but sometimes I’ve been pretty even. I’m going to work on fueling when I start training for my November half. I will want to do a few 10-12 mile runs in my training.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.