Jerusalem Half Marathon Training Or Lack Thereof

half marathon training

Jerusalem Half Marathoners run through the old city. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90-Israel Tourism/Flickr)

I’ll come straight out with it: the wheels have fallen off my Jerusalem Half Marathon training.

In just three weeks I’ll be at the starting line of the race as part of a press trip sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism in cooperation with El Al Airlines.

I’ve already told you why the race is especially meaningful to me and laid out my Jerusalem Half Marathon training plan.

But I had yet to decide if I would use the race as a sub-2 hour half-marathon personal record attempt or a training run for a PR attempt later in the spring.

Newport Liberty Half Marathon

This is how I felt after the Newport Liberty Half Marathon. (Photo:

Well, I’ve decided.

While the runs I’ve been doing indicate that I am in or near PR shape, I haven’t put in the mileage I’d like to. Rather than have another crash and burn attempt, like my run at the DirectEdge Newport Liberty Half Marathon in the fall, I’d rather keep training, get my mileage up and use the race as a hilly, long run. Then I’ll target another race in April or early May as my big PR attempt.

This is all mainly coming out of my recent trip to Switzerland and Austria. (Posts to come!)

1) It took me longer to get over jet lag than I would have liked. It was a 6-hour time difference and took me four full days to adjust to the point where I didn’t want to take a nap every moment of every day. Jerusalem is a 7-hour time difference and I’ll have been there for three days before I toe the line. I don’t want to get my heart set on a PR when my body will likely be dazed and confused. Unfortunately, I’m just one of those people who needs lots of sleep.

half marathon training

This trail through the Apls proved slippery for running without traction. (Photo: RunKarlaRun)

2) I meant to run every day on my trip. I really did. But I forgot to pack my Yaktrax. Crucial mistake. In the Austrian ski town of Sankt Anton am Arlberg, where I spent most of the trip, the roads weren’t even remotely safe for running—no shoulder, no sidewalk, steep inclines covered in ice, blind turns, and ski buses speeding by.

Trails abounded, but they were covered in packed snow and ice. I went for one run on a gorgeous trail intended precisely for walking and running, but it was so icy it took me 80 minutes to cover 4.5 miles. After nearly wiping out three times, I realized baby steps were the only way I’d get through the run.

But I cross-trained galore throwing in curling, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, downhill skiing and swimming at my hotel pool.

3) I came home from the trip with a mystery pain under the ball of my left foot. I don’t notice it at all while walking. But it was bad enough that I curtailed my first run at home after just a mile and hopped on the bike instead. I did three more runs of increasing mileage, but still felt the pain lurking, especially on the road more so than the treadmill. I’m guessing I bruised a bone or something. I’ve been babying it in case it’s something more serious.

So my longest run of all my training so far has been 6.77 miles. It’s not exactly long enough to go gung-ho for a half-marathon PR attempt in three weeks. You can see from my weekly tallies below that I’ve been running far below the 25-30 weekly mileage marks I was hitting during my running streak.

I’m going to run later today and hope the pain is gone once and for all. If all systems are go, I’m going to dive back into half marathon training. I’ve got three weekends left before the race. So I could run 8, 10, and 12 miles with no taper into race day on Friday, March 21. Or I could run 9 and 11 miles, then taper into the race. I’m feeling very easy breezy about it all. Que sera, sera.

half marathon training

A trail run selfie in Austria. (Photo:

Jerusalem Half Marathon Training

Week 1

Saturday, January 25: 4.35 miles Easy treadmill run

Monday, January 27: 3.25 miles It was a rare 43-degree day in what we can all agree has been the worst winter ever. So I took advantage of an eye doctor appointment and ran there and back. It felt glorious. I actually got hot.

Thursday, January 30: 3.61 miles Another easy treadmill run

Friday, January 31: 5.79 miles 4 x 1 mile tempo run with quarter mile easy in between

Week 1 Total: 17 miles

Week 2

Saturday, February 1: 4.8 miles I ran to meet some friends for coffee and then ran home.

Tuesday, February 4: 4.06 miles This was a swift tempo run on the treadmill that felt great.

Thursday, February 6: 4.6 miles I threw in 10 strides into the workout and discovered that I don’t like doing strides on a treadmill. I kept thinking I was going to fall off!

Week 2 Total: 13.46

half marathon training

A friend and I tried Alpine Curling in a snowstorm. (Photo:

Week 3

Saturday February 8: 6.04 miles Steady state run on the treadmill

Sunday, February 9: 4.25 miles Progression run with the last two miles at and below half-marathon race pace

Tuesday, February 11: To Switzerland!

Wednesday, February 12: To Austria!

Thursday, February 13: Curling!

Friday, February 14: 4.3 miles Snowshoeing! This was a fun way to get into the mountains and get some cross training in.

Week 3 Total: 14.59

half marathon training

Goofing around as my ski instructor looks on. (Photo:

Week 4

Saturday, February 15: 5.95 miles Cross-country skiing! I took a lesson in the classic Nordic style and worked up an amazing sweat.

Sunday, February 16: 20-minute swim at the hotel pool

Monday, February 17: 4.53 miles The aforementioned trail run. It was gorgeous but slippery. Then I journeyed back to Switzerland and home.

Wednesday, February 19: 1.05 mile run, 6.83 mile ride I first noticed my mystery foot pain under the ball of my left food on this treadmill run, which I quickly abandoned in favor of the bike. It really hurt!

Thursday, February 20: 3.22 I hit the treadmill again for an easy run to see if the pain was a fluke or real. It was still there but manageable.

Friday, February 21: 30 minutes yoga

half marathon training

We won a trophy! Not really. It’s just a prop. (Photo:

Week 4 Total: 14.75 run/ski, 6.83 bike

Week 5

Saturday, February 22: 5.75 miles I attempted to go for a 9-miler in Central Park. My foot wasn’t having it. Again, the pain wasn’t terrible, but it was still there, like a little niggle. So I cut it short.

Sunday, February 23: 6.77 miles I had planned to rest, but my cable box broke and I really wanted to watch the Nancy & Tonya special on NBC’s Olympic coverage. Yes, like most teenagers in 1994, I was riveted by the scandal. So I hit the treadmill for the occasion. Much to my delight, the foot pain was almost negligible and the documentary well worth it. I ran easy, 45 seconds per mile slower than half-marathon race pace and it felt great. Having something good to watch on TV makes such a difference on the treadmill.

Tuesday, February 25: 15 mile ride I did a 45-minute spin class and am guessing at my mileage. But I think it’s close.

Wednesday, February 26: 3.14 miles Easy miles to the doctor and back

Thursday, February 27… yet to come

Photos of the Jerusalem Marathon are © Flash 90 from IsraelTourism on Flickr and used under a Creative Commons license: Top Photo.

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.


02 2014

12 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    Sounds like you are doing the right/safe thing, Karla. Go for your PR when your training elements fall more into place. And I hope your foot gets better soon.
    Arun recently posted..Race Report: Cold Feat 10KMy Profile

  2. 3

    What lovely photos of your Swiss & Austrian vacation. I’m envious that you got to truly enjoy the snow. I love skiing, but I haven’t been able to go in a couple of years.

  3. 5

    This way you’ll be able to soak in all the sights. Good choice!
    Sadye recently posted..You’re invited to a running partyMy Profile

  4. 7

    Your trip looks amazing and soooo much fun! Can’t wait to hear more about it! And I definitely feel you on the PR attempts. I was hoping for a PR next month, but I’ve been running way less than I should/wanted to, so I’ll try and PR at Brooklyn (Doug is a speedster anyway, so he’ll probably help lol). Anyway, good call on listening to your body. Besides, the scenery is sure to be so amazing your probably better off taking it “easy” so you can take it all it :)

  5. 9

    Sounds like you had an amazing time in Europe!! All that ‘cross-training’ sounds like fun :0)

    I think it is really cool you can run to and from your appointments in New York. I could not do that in Houston… nothing is that close to me, plus the drivers are insane!

    • Karla Bruning

      NY drivers are crazy too! But thankfully, the city is built for pedestrians and Manhattan is tiny, so I can run just about anywhere. It’s just 2.3 miles wide at its widest and 13.4 miles long. I run to places in Queens and Brooklyn too! The bridges have pedestrian paths.
      Karla Bruning recently posted..Jerusalem Half Marathon Training Or Lack ThereofMy Profile

  6. 11

    Ohh I can’t wait to see more pictures from your trip. It looks like you were in a gorgeous winter wonderland. Then again being a Florida girl every time I see even a tiny mound of snow I excitedly think it looks like a winter wonderland :)

    Since you wrote this post a couple days ago I hope your foot is feeling even better now and you’re able to fun pain-free!
    Kristina @ Blog About Running recently posted..There’s Nothing Like a Night Run at the BeachMy Profile