Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon Training Begins

Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon Training Begins

Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon start (Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series)

After a fantastic winter of fun running and base-building at events like the Bermuda Triangle Challenge and Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, I’m ready to start testing my speed once again. Half marathon training season officially started Sunday for my first goal race of the year: the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon on Sunday, May 31!

I’m really excited for this one. I’ve never run a Rock ‘n’ Roll event, and I’ll be attending the race as a guest of Competitor Group. For my first Rock ‘n’ Roll experience, I wanted to run one of their marquee events, and it doesn’t get bigger than Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & 1/2. The 2014 event had nearly 23,000 finishers between the marathon and half-marathon. Plus, I’ve only visited San Diego once, more than 10 years ago, so I’m definitely due for a return trip.

Half Marathon Training

Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series)

A tempo run PR in Central Park (Photo:

My 12-week half marathon training program started Sunday!

I kicked it off with a stellar tempo run in Central Park—my fastest ever. I ran 4.35 miles in 39:03 at an 8:58 pace. Um, folks, that’s a 4-mile personal best for me! My current 4-mile PR is 36:00 at a 9-minute pace. Of course, I won’t count my Central Park tempo as an official PR since the course was not accurately measured, but just knowing that a late winter workout where I was working hard but not all out was in PR territory makes me deliriously happy.

I attribute it to the winter training I did to prep for pacing my sister to her first 13.1-miler at the Disney Princess Half and finishing the Glass Slipper Challenge myself. I put in 220 miles total in the 13 weeks of December, January, and February. Considering I took a total of 3 weeks off in that period between a terrible cold and down cycling after hard efforts, I’m really happy that I averaged 17 miles per week total, and 22 miles per week that I actually ran. I’ve got a fantastic base going into spring.

All these months I’ve been using the training plans and workouts in “You (Only Faster)” by Greg McMillan. Since it’s been serving me so well, I’m going to stick with it for my half marathon training and aim to run four days a week. I’ll sprinkle in some tune-up runs beforehand as well. I already have my eye on my first trail race in early May.

I don’t have a goal time in mind just yet—training will determine that. But regardless of whether or not this is a PR push to finally—finally—crush my 2:00:30 PR, I do want this one to be a race pace effort and not a fun run.

Looking Toward San Diego

Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series)

Course elevation

OK, visiting San Diego for one of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s marquee races isn’t the only reason I picked this one as my spring goal race.

Honestly? The course is a net downhill. No, it’s not downhill all the way. In fact, the first 11 miles are either flat or filled with gentle rollers. But the last two miles are a blissful plummet.

In 2013, the course and Kenyan Bernard Koech turned out the fastest half-marathon time ever clocked on U.S. soil at 58:41. I like those odds.
Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon Training Begins

Meb lead the 1:30 pace team (Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series)

Another bonus: Meb Keflezighi often runs this as his hometown race since he hails from San Diego. Last year, he even lead the 1:30 pace group at the half-marathon, which I’m using to lure my husband to the race. His PR is in 1:25 territory. He’d happily run 1:30 if it meant running with Meb.

Will Meb be back to pace again? I don’t know. But we’ve got our fingers crossed.

One potential pitfall: weather. I don’t run well in heat and humidity, as evidenced by my epic meltdown at the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half last June.

Being the running nerd that I am, I looked up the historical average temperature for San Diego on May 31: average high of 69 and average low of 61 with average humidity of 69 percent. The humidity is a touch higher than I’d like, but I love those temps.

Of course, who knows what race day will bring. I could be staring down a record high or low. But I want to train to give this one my all no matter what the mercury reads. Is it wrong that I’m hoping for a hot, humid spring so I can acclimate myself? Sorry, New York! Half marathon training has begun!

I’m attending the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & Half Marathon as a media guest of Competitor Group. As always, all posts and opinions are purely my own. I’m always honest about my experiences. Seriously. For more information, read my Disclosure policy.

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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.


03 2015

18 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    I’m tempted with these San Diego races. I don’t know if I’d do the RnR, but the city’s got some good races that are on my radar.
    Lesley recently posted..Like A Woman PlaylistMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      I’ve heard great things about the San Diego Half that just happened in March. I have some friends who have done that one. A great running town, for sure!

  2. 3

    Congrats on the 4 mile PR. If you are already running that fast at the start of your training, I bet you will crush your half marathon PR. I’ve always wanted to run the San Diego RnR, looking forward to hear how it goes for you!
    Beth @ Miles and Trials recently posted..3 Year MS AnniversaryMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks, Beth! I’ll cherish your confidence come race day!

  3. 5

    Sounds like a great race to get that sub 2 hour. If only we could control the weather!

    Congrats on that fast 4 miler!
    Kristi@Blog for an Average Runner recently posted..Today I Was One of THOSE PeopleMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thank you! Don’t we all wish. Hoping you get good weather in Prague!

  4. 7

    Remember you’ll also have an ocean breeze to help cool you down. How exciting that you’re doing this race. Looking forward to reading your thoughts about training.

    I’m so happy that warmer weather is here.
    Elle recently posted..Prospecting for Time at the PPTC Cherry Tree 10-MilerMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Ooh, an ocean breeze sounds nice!

  5. 9

    I have a good feeling about a sub 2 half!!!! Good luck on your training and I”m looking forward to following :)
    Helly on the Run recently posted..Mid-Week Musings IIMy Profile

  6. 11

    Nice speed, and best of luck with the training!

  7. Pam #

    I was wishing the weather had been reversed for the Enchanted 10k and Princess half this year. Those cool temps on Saturday would have been perfect for the half. Rock n Roll races are really fun and Christine ran Rock n Roll DC today in rain with hills….not ideal for breaking records like your San Diego course. Congrats on that speedy 4 miler and good luck with training. You are clearly off to a great start!
    Pam recently posted..Advice from Adam: Supporting your Runner on Race DayMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks, Pam! Hope Christine had fun! Completely agree on the Enchanted 10K and Princess Half weather. I was saying the same thing myself that week!

  8. 15

    That’s an exciting goal race. We loved San Diego when we visited in 2011 – especially ‘Old Town’ and all that Mexican food :)
    You should do well – sub-2 hours for sure by keeping that momentum going. A 4-mile PR in a training run is a great indicator. Keep building!
    Ewen recently posted..Cross country and track racingMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks, Ewen! My big goal this training season is to stay healthy and keep building. Fingers crossed!

  9. 17

    I think Competitor puts on great races. I’ve done three so far. I’ve been to San Diego, but not to run. It was a great town though.
    Judith recently posted..Quick check inMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Great to hear! I’m really looking forward both to San Diego and the race!


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