>Running 101>How much is it realistic to improve?
Right. This is the training plan that I'm attempting to follow. http://running.about.com/od/halfmarathonprograms/a/interhalf.htm I was quite far ahead of schedule, doing every week a few times, but then injured my knee and have backtracked to where I should be chronologically speaking. So, I'm on week 7 now, but because I couldn't find a 10km race last weekend, I've swapped it for this weekend. As I said a few posts back, I'm really just doing it to get some confidence racing, and to try out racing at a faster pace than I train. I haven't actually registered yet, and it has occurred to me to skip it and just do a normal long training run. My long run last week was 13.5km, but I was going to take the advice of someone here and try to add in a few "cool down" miles Sunday afternoon to make up the mileage.
My tempo/10km pace is theoretically 6:42 min/km. I do "half marathon race pace" runs at about 7 min/km, and easy/long runs anywhere between 7:15 or so to up above 8 min/km. I converted 7 min/km for a half marathon to a 10km race pace to get the magic number of 6:42, so I'm kind of using Sunday as a test of whether attempting to run the half at 7 min/km is crazy or not. Does that sound like a sensible idea?
That plan my be a bit aggressive for you. Intermediate plans are for folks who have done the distance before and are looking to improve on that performance. Just forget all the other terminology in that plan and just run the distance or time prescribed. If you can run that mileage and run 5 days a week you'll do fine. Use the 10K race to just get used to running at race pace, and also estimate your Half Marathon pace.
Running and training for up-to a half marathon is really as simple as going out and running 30-40 minutes most days, a 60 min mid week run, a 90-120 min long run on the weekends at least in the beginning.
Thanks Happyfeet. I chose that plan, as I did a half back in April, and wanted to be faster this time. I realise I still qualify as a beginner, but I've had fun playing around with the different workouts. It keeps things more interesting than just running. :-) I might try to pull back a bit now that the race is close, and just focus on staying healthy and keeping the mileage up. I'll let you all know how the 10km goes. :-)
Okay....one last (maybe ) question. I've just been looking at the course for the 10km, and if the elevation data on mapometer is correct, there's a short, very steep climb of 60m across about a 250m distance. The course goes straight up the side of a small volcano before winding back down. I've been looking back through old training runs, and the only hill I train on that's similar is a 40m climb over 450m. I do that one slowly, with very short steps. Do you think I should just go slow and shorten my stride as much as I need to so that I don't overdo it on effort, or is it more efficient on hills that steep to stop and walk up it? I guess it will be short enough that it will be over quickly, so it might be best just to wing it and see what happens. It just seems crazy steep!!
Thanks to all of those who have answered questions and offered support. I did the 10k this morning, and I'm going to have a stab at writing my very first race report. :-)
This was only the third race I've ever done, and my first ever 10k. So, it was a guaranteed personal best!! Surprisingly, I got a good night's sleep, and woke up around 6am feeling rested and ready to go. The race didn't start until 9:30, so I had plenty of time to kill. I did a few things around the house and had my usual pre-run breakfast - two slices of toast. By 7, I was ready to go, so I got packed up and headed off to the race venue. There weren't many people there when I arrived, but the crowd started to build up quickly. The first race to set off was a 15km walk, which started at 8:30. While I was watching the walkers leave, I had a snack pack of pringles. I wasn't really sure about this, but it was getting to be a long time since breakfast. I remember reading not to try anything new on race day, and the only time I remember doing a late morning long run and needing to eat more before running, I had a small tube of pringles. Not exactly great race day nutrition, but I figured it was best to go with tried and true!
It was cold and windy at the venue, so around 9am, I finally decided to surrender my warm jumper to the gear tent, brave the portaloos (I hate portaloos!), and make my way to the stage. The 10km walkers set off at 9, and the 15km runners set off at 9:15. Right after they left, there was a group warmup. I was cold, so enjoyed that, but I kept thinking about those words of wisdom not to do anything new on race day. I don't usually prance around to "I'm sexy and I know it" before I go for a run, but it didn't seem to do any harm. ;-)
After the warm-up, we made our way to the start. They said faster runners should go to the front and slower runners at the back. I went to the back, and was standing just in front of a couple of girls who thought they were going to run it in 1.5 hours. Then, a whole bunch more people started accumulating behind us, and I started to worry that I was about to get trampled!! There wasn't time to sort it out though, and before I knew it they counted down and blew the horn.
I did get passed by quite a few people in the beginning, but it wasn't the trampling that I expected! The first 500m or so were on fairly uneven grass, which I didn't enjoy much. I was relieved to get onto the concrete. My idealistic "goal pace" that I was planning to aim for if things went well was 6:42 min/km. I started off slower than that, but made up time when I got onto the concrete and did the first km in 6:41. After that, I noticed the garmin was telling me 6:10, so I slowed down, and quite a few people passed. I was actually having trouble running slow enough for a short while, but then, at the end of the 2nd km, we started heading up to North Head, the small volcano I wrote about earlier.
Based on the course map, I was expecting to circle around the base of the volcano, and then run (or more likely walk) straight up the side, and then wind back down. We actually did more or a spiral around to get up, so it wasn't quite as steep as I was expecting, except in a few spots. I ran everywhere except for a few places that had steps, which we ended up walking single file up for the most part. I totally lost track of my pace while running this part, and just tried to get through it, while saving some energy for the rest of the race!!
I was relieved when we finally started heading back down, and especially when we got back onto the road. I much prefer running on level pavement to the combination of dirt, gravel, and grass that was on North Head!! I was also very tired at this point, more so than I would usually be at this point in a run, so I was starting to get a bit worried.
From 4.5ish to 7ish km, the course was nice and flat. There was a drink station at about 5km, but it was blocked by a bunch of people stopped in front of it, so I didn't bother with it. We turned around at about 6ish km and went back past the same drink station. I managed to grab a cup of water that time and take a couple of sips. I didn't want to stop running though, and it spilled all over me, so I threw it away without drinking much. I was feeling tired, but okay for this part. I wasn't making my ideal pace, but was still comfortably under 7min/km, so I was pretty happy.
At about 7km, we joined up with the 15km and 5km courses. That made things challenging. The roads were open, so we were running on footpaths. There were a lot of 10 and 15km walkers to try to get around still (they'd started before us, so we had been passing walkers the whole way). We were also passing the slower 5km runners at this point (I'm not sure what time they started), but also trying to stay out of the way of the faster 15km runners who were wanting to pass. There was a lot of confusion and trying to weave in and out of groups of people.
Shortly after joining up with the other groups, we veered off the road onto a path through a reserve. This involved quite a steep climb up a hill, but halfway up there was an abrupt turn, and we went off the path, running straight down the side of the hill. In my case it was more of a shuffle, and I could really feel it in my hamstrings. I was a bit worried, but it was short and steep, and we were back running on the road in no time.
Through the reserve there had been another drink station. I really wanted some water at this point, but they were only giving out Vita Sport. I took a cup, had a sip, and threw away what was left (that didn't get spilled on me!). There was a relatively mild uphill after we left the reserve, but I was getting tired at this point, and my stomach was letting me know that drinking the sports drink was a bad idea. I was starting to feel pretty miserable, but passing the 9km sign cheered me up. The problem with that was that my garmin said 8.3km at that point, so I didn't know which one to trust. There were km signs every two kilometers, and they got out of sync with my garmin during the volcano climbing. At this point, I was really hoping that we were really only 1km from the finish, but didn't want to trust it in case the sign was wrong. I had planned to try and push the pace a bit in the last km if I was feeling okay. I wasn't really feeling good though, and I wasn't sure if I was really in the last km or not, so I stayed with a manageable pace. I got excited when we got back to where we could hear the music at the race venue, but I also knew that we had to run around the back of the venue to come back in, and I wasn't sure exactly how far that was. I was really starting to feel miserable at this point. I'm not sure if it was the effort and nerves of the race or the sports drink that I shouldn't have had, but for a short while I was really feeling like I wanted to vomit. I thought I might need to stop to walk, but I managed to keep talking myself into going "a little bit further" until before I knew it, we turned a corner and the finish line was in sight. That gave me a huge burst of energy, and I enthusiastically sprinted the last 100m or so. In the end my garmin said the distance was 9.66km and my time was 1:08:10. The race results aren't up yet, so I'm still waiting to confirm the official time.
Overall, I'm reasonably happy with that. I didn't stick with the pace I had idealistically hoped for, but I still came in under 70 minutes, which was a smaller, more realistic goal. It was good experience. I ran the fastest 10km I ever have, which included some crazy hills. Between the hills and the discrepancy on distance, I'm not sure how to use the time when it comes to predicting a half marathon race pace. I think the experience of racing was more valuable than the result though, and hopefully I'll go into the next one with more confidence. :-)
Hi again everyone,
My half marathon was yesterday morning. The answer to how much it was realistic for me to improve is 21 minutes. :-) I came in just under 2.5 hours (2:29:35), and I was very happy with that! It was a great race. The last 5km or so were torture and I spent the time vowing to myself never to do this again, but by the time I actually crossed the finish line, I was ready to sign up for the next race!
Thanks so much to all of you that gave me advice and support along the way. You are all amazing!
Congratulations on finishing the Half.
My wife and I ran the same race yesterday and we both found the last 5 kms very tough as well. Torture is a good way to put it
Runners are strange people - we put ourselves through torture and as soon as we finish we want to sign up for the next race.
Good on ya!
Thanks Geoff. Well done to you and your wife too!!
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