How The Barre Code Helped Me Shave 8 Minutes Off My Half Marathon Time

Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon recap

Last Sunday I ran the Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon with my sisters and my dad. This was my 4th half marathon ever, but it had been about 5 years since I last ran!

So sorry if this blog post title sound gimmicky at all….I really truly mean every word that I’m going to say here! I believe that if The Barre Code hadn’t made an appearance in my life about a year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to drop this muc time off my half marathon as effortlessly.

Barre Code: I love y’all so much for all the positive changes I’ve experienced in my life as a result of coming to the studio!

So anyway, I dropped 8 minutes off my old time and got a new PR: 1:49.00. WAHOO!

This blog post will be in two parts:

1. How barre helped me shave time off my run without making any other major changes.

2. The race recap (in case you’re interested in running the OKC half marathon!)

Part One

Every barre studio is a little different. I love The Barre Code in Austin because they have lots of different styles of classes, including cardio (their HIIT and BRAWL and TBC classes all involve lots of moves that get my heart rate sky high.)

I’ve been doing barre for about a year, and I’ve been trying to take about 2-3 Barre classes and about 1 cardio class every week in there. (I’m not perfect, but 4 classes/week is the goal!) TBC is my favorite (and by favorite, I mean that I love/hate it because it’s so hard, haha! But it works..)

Those cardio classes have made ALL the difference in my running speed! When I was doing my training runs, I was able to go about 30 seconds per mile faster than I’ve ever run…but I didn’t feel like I was working harder.

My mile pace during the half marathon was 8:19 (versus my old record pace of 8:56.) But I didn’t really train harder or work on running faster… I just did those 50 minute cardio interval training classes at The Barre Code, and my pace dropped.

I’m not an sports scientist, so all of this is my speculation based on how my body felt when I used to run before I started barre, and how it feels now. Please don’t take this as a guide or prescription; it’s simply my own magical experience with barre and how I feel it has helped me!

Part Two

Here’s the race recap. My general feelings about the race are that it’s a fun, meaningful, relatively fast race (if you get lucky with the wind like we did) and I would definitely do it again. It started in 2000 as a way to honor the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing. It’s always nice to run for something bigger than myself, so I liked that.

Friday, 5 pm: I taught some violin lessons on Friday afternoon, so I left Austin around 5 pm on Friday. Storm hopped in my suitcase while I was packing and asked to come with me…

Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon recap

Friday, 9:30 pm: Traffic on I35 was ridiculous, so I got to Dallas pretty late and crashed at my sister’s apartment. I usually don’t sleep well the night before a race, so I’m thankful for 8 solid hours of sleep on Friday night, which was two nights before the race!

Saturday, 8 am: Kylee and I woke up at a normal-ish time and stopped by Houndstooth first thing. I need coffee within an hour of waking up….not saying that’s healthy. But that’s just how I am with caffeine at this point in my life.

Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon recap

We road tripped up to Denton and met my other sister, Cara. She hopped in the car with us and we drove the rest of the way up to OKC to Courtney’s house!

We always have a grand time on the road! I munched on Swedish Fish while I was driving. These are my favorite road trip food, and since they’re fat free and pretty much all carbs (sugar), I figured I could carbo-load on them before the race. I also ate these the day before my marathon a couple years ago and never hit a wall! Magic? We don’t know…

Saturday, 2 pm: So, Saturday ended up being a pretty active day! We stopped at Bricktown Brewery for lunch and a beer. I picked a session IPA so I could have something with low gravity.

Then went to the race expo to pick up our packets and walk around a bit. Most of the goodies were in a “digital race bag” so there wasn’t a lot to pick up. But we took a couple pics and absorbed the good race vibes!

Then we walked about a mile to Elemental coffee for some caffeine/convo. This is my sister’s favorite coffee roaster/coffee shop in the city, and I thought it was absolutely precious! We stayed and talked until they closed at 6:00 pm.

Saturday, 7 pm: Then we walked a mile back to the car, and drove to meet my parents for pasta and pizza! (They drove up from Dallas with two more younger siblings. If you’re not keeping track of the cars/family members/schedule, don’t worry. This is my ridiculously large family, and it’s always a bit chaotic.)

Saturday, 10 pm: I laid out all my race stuff for the next morning. I’ll give myself about a 6/10 for sleep that night. I don’t typically sleep well the night before the race, and this was no exception. I slept for a few hours, then tossed and turned, got up to get water, tried to sleep again, and eventually fell back asleep for some short spurts before my alarm went off.

Sunday, 5 am: Good morning! Light breakfast of toast w/ peanut butter and banana, a little bit of caffeine, and we’re ready to go.

Sunday, 6 am: My poor little sister, Kylee trained so hard for the race, but she got a stress fracture a few weeks before and couldn’t run. She was sweet to drop us off at the race starting line so we didn’t have to scramble for an Uber.

Sunday, 6:30 am: ON YOUR MARK, GET SET…..GO!

The race felt wonderful. The first 6 miles or so were cool and dark, and we happened to get one of the few days in OKC that wasn’t terribly windy. I saw my family at mile 6, and that always makes me smile and run faster.

I took a gel at mile 3 and mile 8, and I alternated water/Powerade at all of the rest stops.

Miles 8-10 were the most physically and emotionally exhausting. They was a steady, slight incline, the wind picked up, and the sun was out so I was starting to feel hot. This was also the “memorial mile” with names of all 168 victims who were killed in the 1995 bombing. Also, there weren’t many spectators on these miles, so I felt less energized; I’m always amazed at how much energy I draw from people cheering!

The final two miles hurt (especially in my feet), but I also thought I might be able to break 1:50 if I pushed it! I crossed the finish line at 1:49.00!

Sunday, 11 am: My whole family stayed and cheered each other on until we had all crossed the finish line. The fastest marathoners were starting to cross the finish line, too, just after the two hour mark. I love watching those fast elite runners cross the finish line. They’re going SO FAST. I mean….it kinda makes me feel inspired, and it kinda makes me hate my life because how are they even that fast?

Sunday, 12 pm: After photos with the fam, my 3 sisters and I went out to brunch at Picasso Cafe, per my sister Courtney’s recommendation. If you’re ever in Oklahoma City and you need massive servings for brunch, this is your place! Seriously….we had all just finished running a half marathon, and I’m pretty sure no one finished more that 1/4 of her plate.

After a quick nap, we all hit the road. I drove all the way back to Austin on Sunday. It was a long day and bed felt SO good that night!

I told myself that I’d be done running after this race. The training process just wasn’t fun enough to make up for amount of time it takes. But after being at the race and remembering how invigorating it is to be surrounded by that many athletes, I kinda think I might sign up for another one. We’ll see…



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terra @
6 years ago

I definitely noticed improved speed on running when I started working on both strengthening my body and doing non-running cardio exercises. Stronger muscles means more power and more power means more speed, at least in my little running word.

Congrats on a great run!

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