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I'm running a half in 6 days - questions about pace, cambelbaks, and spitting! (Read 621 times)

    This Sunday I'm running my first half marathon. I've only run one other race, a 5k last December. I started running last October, and lately I feel like I've been making really good progress in my conditioning. Given that my conditioning is a moving target, and moving in the right direction thankfully, the problemI'm having is I'm not sure what a reasonable pace is for me to strive for in the race (which is in 6 days). I ran the 5k at an 8:37 pace, but I've been training for 3 months since then and I'm in much better condition now. Today I ran 4 miles at an 8:14 pace - I felt great, and felt as if I could've kept if up for 13 miles (although I may be fooling myself there!). Anyway, I used a race predictor on the web which showed that, based on my having run 4 miles at an 8:14 pace, then I should be able to finish the half in about 1:55. But , since I could definitely have run those 4 miles faster, does this mean I should shoot for a pace even faster than a 1:55 half-marathon? Given all this info, any suggestions for a strategy? I think I'll try to run conservatively the first few miles at a 9:10 pace or so, which would be a 2 hr half, which was my original goal when I started training for this 3 months ago. Then if I feel good after 3 or 4 miles, I can speed up a bit - kind of like a tempo run. Does this sound reasonable? I definitely don't want to start too fast and then end up really dragging towards the end. Two other much shorter questions: I always train with a camelbak (0.8 liters) for my long runs. Should I run the race with it? Since this is my first race, I was thinking I would run with it, use it for water during the early and late parts of the race, but practice using the water stops during the middle of the race to get a feel for how that works. And then maybe next race I'll leave the camelbak at home. Or should I just leave it home this time too? Finally, here's a kind of odd question: what is race etiquette when it comes to spitting? Blush Recently, when running (maybe due to allergies?), I get a little phlegm that I need to get rid of to breath easier. Spitting doesn't sound like a wise or nice thing to do during a race - but what does one do? I must not be the only one with this issue - is there a solution?


    I've got a fever...

      I think you have a good strategy for pacing. It makes a lot more sense to start a long race slowly and speed up. And it's way more fun too -- it is absolutely no fun to go out too fast and blow up. You can kind of recover from that in a 5k, but you will suffer in a long race. As for spitting, I think anything goes as long as you don't hit anyone. I usually end up covered in my own spit during a race, so there's that option... I would say wear the camelbak. It's a long race, and it never seems like there are enough water stops. But if the race's stops have Gatorade, I'd be sure to take some. Cheers, Jeff

      On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.


      I fly.

        Good luck! I'd say do what you are used to from your training runs! If you wear the camelback, wear it. As a short person who has been spit on during more races than she cares to admit, I'd say try not to hit anyone, but spit away. Let us know how it goes!

        Bring it on.


        A Dance with Monkeys

          Spit all you want. Watch where you spit. Unless it is hot and humid or very very dry, you can run for 2 hours without any fluids. If there are fluids on the course you should be fine. Drinking too much fluid risks making you sick, upsetting your stomach or causing metabolic problems. Dehydration is far safer than overhydration, if you must chose between the two. But, like I said, fluids on the course every 2-4 miles and you should be more than fine. I ran a HM last weekend and probably took only a few small gulps over the entire course. Jeff, another RA poster, came in 8th overall (!!! Jeff) and he got no fluids on course. Short answer: no camelback.


          Needs more cowbell!

            I'd take the Camelbak (and did for my own first HM back in Oct.), but only because I personally feel better when I have something to drink during long races--better to have it and decide you don't really need it than to not have it and wish you had. I also have a pretty specific dilution of Gatorade that doesn't make me queasy (no stronger than half strength). Good luck on Sunday! I'll bet you have a great time! Smile k

            I shoot pretty things! ~

            '14 Goals:

            • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

            • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


            I've got a fever...

              better to have it and decide you don't really need it than to not have it and wish you had
              Even if you're not drinking a lot of fluid on the course. a swig here and there helps keep that spit from being so sticky Dead , but like Trent says, don't over-drink. Slight off-ramp here, but what does everyone feel about splashing water on your head during a race? I don't imagine that it really makes a difference physiologically, but psychologically it sure gives me a lift. Cheers, Jeff

              On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

                My .02? Run it by feel. Don't go with a pre-determined goal pace, just keep in mind you're runnig 13.1 miles and try to spread the effort out evenly so that you leave nothing in the tank. Go out conservatively, settle into a pace that feels sustainable and gradually start to turn the screws in the last 3 miles. Go berzerk in the last mile and see stars at the finish line. You don't have enough race experience to know what your goal pace should be right now and as you pointed out your fitness is a moving target. Just don't spit on anyone and you'll be fine. Everyone spits in races. For those who would race with a cammelback, don't you think that carrying the extra 2-3 lbs. hurts you more than any hydration benefit you could get? Since races of that distance generally have water every couple miles anyway and, as Trent points out, you probably don't need any to strongly finish a race of that distance? I can't see racing with a cammelback except in a trail ultra or something. I can't even see training with one, but I tend to be a minimalist....though I do now own a GPS Wink Jeff, I think on a hot day dumping water on your head can help as much or more than drinking it. On a cold day (like this past Sunday) it would be a really bad idea though!!

                Runners run.

                  Thanks everyone - you've put me at ease on the spitting and pacing issues! As far as the camelbak, your opinions definitely vary - some say yes, some say no. My thinking is in future races I probably won't use the camelbak, but since this is the first time and it's what I'm used to, I may stick with it this time and, as I said, get a feel for drinking from cups along the way. I assume I'll find that it is no big deal to drink from the water stations and then next time I'll be comfortable enough with that method to leave the camelbak behind. As for dumping water on your head, I was just reading Hal Higdon's book "Marathon" and he discussed this. He thinks t's a good idea to dump water on your head if for no other reason it helps psychologically. Scientifically he says it's doubtful it helps much. One thing he said, though, was that it takes 30 minutes or so after drinking water before it is in your system helping cool your body via sweating, so the only way to get an added benefit of cooling from water in the last 30 minutes of a race is to dump it on yourself. Of course, drinking during that time will help your recovery... Well, anyway, that's what I read in his book - personally, I have no idea, but what Hal said sounds good to me!!


                  I've got a fever...

                    Jeff, I think on a hot day dumping water on your head can help as much or more than drinking it. On a cold day (like this past Sunday) it would be a really bad idea though!!
                    Probably true, but my mug gets so damn hot Angry regardless of temperature or pace that it's almost never too cold for me to get my head wet! I think I need a dual-head, dual temperature shower -- one to spray warm water on me body to warm it up, and the other to spray cold water on me head! Cheers, Jeff

                    On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

                      Hey Joe, Are you running the ING Georgia Half Mara? Rei Manneck Cool

                      Smile when you're ready!!