Philly Half Marathon Race Recap

Philly Half Marathon Race Recap

My 5th half marathon went as smoothly as possible – and yours can too with my race recap!

The half marathon was on Saturday and with perfect racing conditions, I was primed and ready to go! I didn’t have the best build-up to the race – my mileage was low, my calf was in quite some pain throughout the training cycle, and I hadn’t run longer than 9 miles in over a year. Despite all of those potential setbacks, I had what was arguably my best racing performance since I ran a 4:34 mile nearly 3 years ago.

There was a lot of positives that I took out of this weekend. For starters, we were blessed with GREAT weather on race day.

Secondly, there was a decent amount of fanfare on the course. Between bands, singers, and cheerleaders, a lot of the course was manned by groups of people who were cheering for us runners.

2018 Philly Half Marathon Race Recap
Marc’s Philly Half Marathon Race Recap

Third, the course lent to fast running. Sure, there were some hills over the last 3-4 miles, but they weren’t long, steep, or anything daunting. The new course and its layout was a welcome addition to the weekend.

And now, on to my recap of the race:

Training Leading up to Philly

The week of the half marathon was pretty standard. I ran on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of race week and took off Tuesday and Thursday. It set me up well for enough running to feel good, but not enough to have my legs tired. In those 3 days, I ran a total of 8.5 miles (again, that’s way too low for a normal half marathon training plan).

I eliminated striders and workouts over the last 2 weeks because I knew my calf wouldn’t be able to withstand the pace – normally, workouts and striders would be a staple in my plan.

Packing for the Race

I made sure I brought everything I needed and in fact, I over-packed like normal. I had more than enough and even had clothes to throw away/donate.

Expo Day

I love and hate the idea of expos. I, of course, LOVED that we got to meet Des Linden. The highlight of the expo no doubt about it. But I don’t love that I’m “forced” to come into the city the day before I have to come into the city to race. Sure, I could have paid for bib mailing, yadda yadda. That’s not the point. I like seeing what vendors have to offer, I’m just not a fan of trekking into the city twice.

Day-of-Race Traveling

I took a last minute switch up and drove to the race. I almost had a major nervous breakdown when I moved from one parking spot to another to try and be closer. Dumb move, but I lucked out and found another spot.

Things to remember: pay for parking in a city. Otherwise, they slap you with a ticket. Duly noted, Philly.

On-Course Nutrition

I stuffed two gu’s into my pants pockets and used them during the race. I took my 1st one at mile 6.5 and then the last one at 10. I felt like I could have done with only one, but since I had it, I might as well have used it. I didn’t take any water or Gatorade – I didn’t feel I needed it and I didn’t want to have my belly sloshing around because I took liquid I wasn’t prepared to take.

Philadelphia Half Marathon Race Recap
Philadelphia Half Marathon Race Recap

Race Plan

Last week, I said I’d be happy with sub-7:25s (A Goal) and that I’d be happy if I finished (B Goal). So I hit both of those goals out of the park. I finished healthy and I averaged 7:00 pace for 13.1 miles!

My first mile was very conservative – 7:45 – as our starting corral got a 20-second delay on the corral to the right. It was unfortunate, but nothing that bothered me at all. I had more people to catch and that was fine with me.

Before & After 6 miles for Marc
Marc’s race stats before and after 6 miles

After a slowish first mile, I turned up the pace every mile after that. Each mile got a little bit faster and a little bit more comfortable before I hit the hillier section of the race at mile 9 or 10. To be on the safe side, I took my time going up the hills before powering down the other side. Sure, a few runners passed me going up, but I flew right back by them on the way down, never to see them again.

At mile ~11.5, I caught up to a former Villanova teammate and we exchanged quick encouraging words. I still felt really good – lungs and legs were both in check – and so I pushed on without her. The last full mile was a fast one heading back towards the start line. I covered it in a speedy 6:27 before kicking for the finish line.

I really can’t say enough about the course and how it lent to a fast and powerful finish. I had never been to that part of the course close to Penn University, so that was new and interesting. And luckily, without knowing it, I had walked part of the course down by the waterfront only a few short weeks ago.

Philly Half Race Recap
My recap of the Philly Half Marathon


I was definitely very sore right after the race and all the way through Monday night. I did some light stretching, foam rolled, used a massage stick and to be honest, I’ve enjoyed my break from running already!

Of course, I want to run. I’m a runner. But the mental break of knowing I don’t have to run for 2 weeks is AMAZING. If you haven’t tried taking a legit 2 weeks away from running after a peak race, you’re missing out big time!

And now…


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Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach
Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach

I am a USATF Track and Field & Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT O2 certified running coach. I have more than 19 years of experience running and more than 10 years of experience coaching runners. Click for more information!


5 thoughts on “Philly Half Marathon Race Recap

  1. sounds like fun. I really want to do the Rock’n’Roll in Philly but not sure it will ever come to be (I live in the Netherlands). I love the city though so maybe I can swing it one day. I actually love going to expos. But I go to a race in another city and stay the weekend so I try to stay near to where I need to be. When I ran Amsterdam I did actually go to the expo on Friday AND Saturday and I live more than an hour away so I get the not wanting to trek in twice (in my case 3 times, because race day was Sunday), but yeah, generally we just make it part of the weekend. How cool you met Des too!! Congrats on your race!


  2. Thanks so much. When we traveled to New Orleans for the Rock N Roll half a few years back, I definitely enjoyed the expo because it was part of the experience. With Philly being in my backyard basically, I wasn’t all that pumped up, ya know? Anyway, it’s cool that you want to come run Philly. I had a great experience with the race.


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