Fall Running Schedule: 13.1, 26.2, and 200, Oh My!

Fall Running Schedule

Running is East Hampton, NY with Cinderella (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

This is it, folks. The moment I have have been waiting for: My fall running schedule 2015, aka the season when I finally run a sub-2 hour half marathon. There, I said it. I’m throwing down. I know, I know. I’ve said it so many times before. And so many times I have failed. But if at first you don’t succeed…

This is the one goal that has eluded me. My white whale. My holy grail. My impossible dream. A mere 30 seconds stand between my personal best and dream time. Those 30 seconds are coming off the clock.

It all starts August 31. Thanks to the Run S.M.A.R.T. Project, I’ve got a personalized (and complimentary) training plan to see me through.

But that’s not all. After that, I’ve got another goal I’m working toward: a winter 2016 marathon PR. I haven’t run a marathon since 2013. So the Run S.M.A.R.T. Project put together a seamless 24-week training plan for me that takes me all the way through four tune-up and two goal races in a running schedule that spans September to February.

Here’s the run down. And, of course, I’ll share more info about each race as it approaches!

Fall Running Schedule

Great Fjord Run (Photo: VisitNorway.com)

Great Fjord Run

Norway, September 5, 2016

What?! Norway? You bet! My husband, Phil, and I are headed on vacation to Sweden and Norway today. Naturally, I started poking around and found that the Great Fjord Run near Bergen just happens to be taking place while we’re there. So of course, we built our trip around it, as one of Norway’s premier running events with 6,000 participants from more than 30 countries. The event includes 5K, 10K, half-marathon, kids races and a walk. We’ll be running the half-marathon!

VisitNorway.com helped me put together an itinerary that includes touring Oslo and hiking the Fjords in Flam and Bergen. I’ll be posting to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter throughout the trip if you want to follow along.

Easy Run: Since it’s the beginning of my running schedule and the end of vacation, this will be a fun run for us with no delusions of running fast. Plus, we’ll want to take in the scenery as we cross three bridges where the waters of three fjords meet. So my training plan has me running this one at an easy pace.

Fall Running Schedule: Halves & Relays & Marathons, Oh My!

(Photo: Reach The Beach Relay)

New Balance Reach The Beach Relay

New Hampshire, September 18-19, 2015

The New Balance Reach The Beach Relay has been on my bucket list for a while. When New Balance invited me to be their guest as part of a media team, I jumped at the chance. Reach The Beach takes teams of 12 runners 200 miles across New Hampshire, from the White Mountains to Hampton Beach State Park on the Atlantic shore. Each team member runs three legs of the relay, totaling about 16.6 miles over the the course of 24 hours. We start Friday afternoon and finish Saturday evening, running around the clock in shifts through 36 transition areas. This will be my first relay and my first race in New Hampshire. Mountain vistas, serene lakes, and a covered bridge or two are on the menu. I can’t wait!

Tune-Up: My Run S.M.A.R.T Project training plan has me using this as a tune-up at half-marathon race pace. So it will be my first chance to test my fitness once my running schedule starts. I doubt I’ll be running all 16.6. miles at half-marathon race pace, but hopefully I’ll do a leg or two at a fast clip.

Fall Running Schedule: Halves & Relays & Marathons, Oh My!

Runner’s World Half & Festival (Photo: Ryan Hulvat)

Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival

Pennsylvania, October 16-18, 2015

I had a blast at the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival in 2014, despite it being my roughest half-marathon ever. So I’m excited to head to Bethlehem for the Runner’s World Half & Festival presented by Altra as a guest of Runner’s World. This time around, I’m out to enjoy the experience rather than aiming for a PR. And they’ve got a full weekend of running cooked up: as in 26.2 miles full.

I’ll start with the the Altra 3.8-Mile Trail Run Presented by REI on Friday, then the Hat Trick of races that includes the Runner’s World 5K and Runner’s World 10K on Saturday, followed by the Runner’s World Half Marathon on Sunday for a total of 26.2 miles.

If you want to join me use code blogrunkarlarun to get discounts on all the races: $3.50 off the 5K; $4 off the 10K; $7.50 off the Five and Dime; $9.50 off the Half; and $17 off the Hat trick.

Tune-Up + Easy Run: Right now, my running schedule has me racing the trail run as a tune-up, then running all the other events easy. Trail running is not my forte, so I might pull an audible and use the 5K as a tune-up instead. We’ll see.

Race Report: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2014

GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon (RunKarlaRun.com)

GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon

Pennsylvania, November 22, 2015

I plotted, pondered, and puzzeled over which race I’d choose to complete my epic quest for sub-2. I looked at dozens of races. But Philly has been incredibly good to me. I ran my marathon PR at Philly in 2012. Last year, I ran my fastest half-marathon in two years even after missing 3 weeks of training thanks to a minor skin procedure. I love the course, the crowd support, and the late-fall cool weather. Basically, all the reasons I decided to run in 2014 are the same ones sending me back in 2015: the course, the location, the date, my familiarity with the race, and its fun factor. A bunch of my teammates are running too, so it has all the makings for a memorable weekend. This was a no-brainer to add to my running schedule.

Once again, I’m running with Team GORE-TEX.

Race: So this is it. I’m racing this one, baby. My time will start with a “1.”

Fall Running Schedule: Halves & Relays & Marathons, Oh My!

The Honolulu Marathon (Photo: Honolulu Marathon Association)

Honolulu Marathon

Hawaii, December 13, 2015

A-loooooo-ha! The Honolulu Marathon has been on my bucket list since I realized that marathons would be a permanent fixture in my life. I’m mildly obsessed with Hawaii (just ask my husband). I’d been a few times as a child, when I had two cousins living in the islands. But I was re-bitten by the Hawaii bug at the 2013 Kauai Half Marathon. I wrote about that race for Canadian Running and Kauai as a running destination for Women’s Running.

I’ve been to Honolulu just once, more than 20 years ago. It’s high time I returned, and what better reason than a marathon? Even better? I’m pacing my best friend of more than 30 years through her first 26.2. It’s a Hawaii girls’ trip!

The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau at GoHawaii.com is helping me plan a four island tour that includes Hawaii Island, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai so I can experience active Hawaii at its best. How excited am I for this trip? I bought a potted hibiscus and have managed to keep it alive for 12 weeks!

Easy Run: My BFF is a newbie runner and I’ll be pacing her, so this will be an “easy” run for me. Don’t worry, I know that there’s nothing easy about running a marathon, no matter what pace you run it at. My training plan has me prepping with a few back-to-back long runs that total 22 miles at their longest, followed by a full week off from my running schedule.

ASICS LA Marathon Hosts USATF Marathon Championships

Runners race past the Grauman’s Chinese Theater at LA Marathon (Photo: LA Marathon)

Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon

California, February 14, 2016

What could be a sweeter Valentine’s Day treat than a marathon personal best? The Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon has been another race burning a hole in my bucket list. With a start at Dodger Stadium and finish along the beach in Santa Monica, the LA Marathon has to have one of the most iconic courses in the U.S. And just yesterday, the race announced a new multi-year partnership with Skechers Performance as title sponsor.

But the race usually falls on the same day as the NYC Half, which I’ve worked since 2011—as a reporter, brand ambassador, broadcaster, and race announcer. However, in 2016 only, the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon moves from March to February to host the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, which will take place the day before the mass marathon. This is my big chance finally get LA on my running schedule and my chance to watch the likes of Meb and Shalane race the day before I run to my own PR victory. In!

Race: This is the big 24-week goal. A shiny new marathon PR. Am I a little worried about the time of year? Kinda. I’ve never raced a winter marathon. Sure I ran the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon in January, but that was a fun run with gratuitous stops and walk breaks. Am I little worried about potential hot weather? Definitely. But I’m going to hope for the best come race day. My training plan has me doing back-to-back long runs that top out at 24 miles combined. Winter training is going to get real.

Will I see you at any of these races on my running schedule?

That’s all folks! I’m sure I’ll throw in a few other tune-ups and training races onto the schedule, but that’s the plan for now. I just need to stay healthy and strong for the next 25 weeks! No biggie.

Let me know if I’ll see you at any of these races!

As mentioned, VisitNorway.com, New Balance, Runner’s World, GORE-TEX, and GoHawaii.com are sponsoring at least part of my trips to these races. In some cases, I’ve paid my own registration fees (Great Fjord Run and Honolulu Marathon). In other cases, my race entry is complimentary (New Balance, Runner’s World, and GORE-TEX). But as always, all opinions are purely my own. Seriously. For more information, read my disclosure policy.

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.


08 2015

12 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    What an awesome race schedule! I have no doubt you’ll be able to get your sub two PR! It’s too bad you can’t run the NYC Half. That’s where I first got my sub 2. It’s an awesome, fast, course!

    I’m thinking about the LA Marathon!! I’m doing the NYC Marathon (my first) this year so I’ll see how I feel after :)

    • Karla Bruning

      Thank you and good luck with your NYC Marathon training! I ran NYC Half in 2012, but had a terrible cold so didn’t do my best. It is a great race. I’m hoping Philly is kind to me!

  2. 3

    great list! and I just know you will get the sub-2!

    I am also all in for the LAM. The course is pretty tough (I have run it the past 2 years in the crazy heat and have crashed and burned so miserably) and I am looking for redemption! and even better, my boyfriend has agreed to run it with me as our valentine’s day/4 year anniversary present! He such is in for a shock with marathon training.

    • Karla Bruning

      Yay for LAM! SO fun you’ll be running it together! If it’s his first marathon, he IS in for a shock. I hope he enjoys it! I’ve heard the course is tough and I’m definitely worried about the weather, but am excited to run it no matter what! Good luck with your training!

  3. 5

    What an incredible set of adventures in running you’ll be having the next 24 weeks!!!! I’m so envious. I can’t wait to read all about running in Norway. I’ve never been.

    You have a bunch of amazing races lined up. Best of luck to you for all of them.
    Elle recently posted..A Tell-Tale Story of Edgar & BanditMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Norway was incredible. Just lovely in every way. I’ll have lots of photos to share!

  4. 7

    That schedule looks amazing. I spent some time in Bergen over 20 years ago and still remember the incredible scenery as we traveled by train to it from Oslo.
    I seriously considered Philly for my third marathon attempt but largely due to $$ decided to do one closer to home with no currency exchange :)
    Have fun training!
    Kristi@Blog for an Average Runner recently posted..“After the Boys of Summer are Gone”My Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      I LOVED Bergen! And I think you picked a great race for your third marathon. Totally feel you on races close to home. Philly being so close to NYC is one of the reasons I keep going back. It’s a great race, a great city, and only 2 hours from me. What’s not to love?

  5. 9

    Oh man, I have serious envy over your race schedule! And I’ll be excited to read how your training goes. Will you have a coach to go along with the customized plan?
    Judith recently posted..You know you’re old enough when the trends come back around My Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      No, I didn’t opt for a coach, but that is an option with the plan. I’ve toyed with the idea of going the coached route. I think that’s the next step for me if I’m unsuccessful this fall.

  6. 11

    Looks an exciting plan for the 1:5X:XX marathon, which I’m sure you’re capable of running Karla. Recover well from the racing and travelling – the SMART schedule would account for that. Good luck and have fun!
    Ewen recently posted..Professional running is not all beer and skittlesMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thank you, Ewen! I’m putting a premium on sleep, especially with all the travel. Really excited about this season!


  1. Marathon Training For Your Brain, Funny Bone + More | Run, Karla, Run! 01 10 15