Smaller By The Day
I forgot how it felt the first time. This will be my second HM, and just like last time I find myself filled with more questions than answers only 2 weeks out from the actual event.
I know I'm in better shape than my first HM. I'm 15 pounds lighter. I went into the first one with 400 miles of training. I'm going into this one with over 1,000 miles of training. My program for the first was about 4 months and started around 16 mpw and only hit 40 mpw twice. This time around every week has been between 34 miles and 50 miles.
So, where does that get me? Last time I went in around 237-240 pounds and aimed for a 9:32 pace, and ended up with a 9:27 average.
This time I'm coming in between 220 and 225 pounds. I'm shooting for an 8:45 pace.
When I look at it on paper it all makes sense, but when I'm actually running a tempo run or something I still think, "You're going to maintain what pace? For how long?". Then, I go back to my schedule for these last two weeks and I keep thinking, "Was that progression run that LTH suggested a week from the race or 10 days out? Then, I have to go check my notes. How much did I cut back for my taper? Is that enough? Is it too much? I have a Garmin now. What if it craps out during the race? Should I run some miles at HM pace to get the feel for it? Does anybody else go through this?
Weight 100 pounds lost
5K 31:02 Sept. 2012 / 23:36 Sept. 2013 (Same Course)
10K 48:59 April 2013
HM 2:03:56 Nov. 2012 / 1:46:50 March 2013
MARATHON 3:57:33 Nov. 2013
Calm down, you'll be fine. You seem to have done everything right, now just enjoy your taper. Don't you have a training plan? I usually just follow my plan and I try not to ask too many questions, or else, I get all confused with the contradictory answers I receive. Also, when you will have done more halfs, you will be able to take it more relax as race day approaches. I've done 10 marathons in 3 years and I now sleep like a baby the night before a race. Trust your training, trust yourself. You'll do great.
PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013
Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013
4 years racing, 14 marathons, 14 BQs
I do have a plan, and I am trying my best to leave it alone and just do what's on the plan. The last HM felt sooooo darn good though, that it's hard not to look back at what I did last time in those last two weeks.
I know you're right though. It's just a combo of nerves and excitement.
Good luck! PS, you'll be fine!
Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
Short term goal: 17:59 5K
Mid term goal: 2:54:59 marathon
Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life. (I started running at age 45).
Ball of Fury
That is amazing advice I will use for my goal HM! Good luck Awood runner...you will be awesome!
If it starts sucking before Mile 7, slow the hell down. If it doesn't start sucking by Mile 9, speed the hell up.
PRs: 5K 22:59, 10K 46:54,HM: 1:51:15
I think I will also follow this advice.
I can't wait to see the amazingness that you are going to bring to that HM!! You've been working so hard, you will be rewarded for that!
Do or do not, there is no try.
My first races EVER!
Saxonburg Distance Series 5KRaces:
#1: 7-14-2012 Cross Country Crusade 5K: 42:50
#2: 8-11-2012 Roebling's Run 5K: 38:54
#3: 9-8-2012 Festival of the Arts 5K: 36:37
Sounds about right to me lol.
Chief Unicorn Officer
Yes. Chill. You have put in the work and you now need to just trust in the system. And LTH's advice is good. My last HM, which was my PR, miles 11-13.1 went ON FOREVER. It was really hard to maintain the same pace, but at the same time, I wasn't falling apart. I just needed to really buckle down and stay focused on the prize. That's how it should feel. There actually wasn't one point in the whole race where I felt like I was coasting. You SHOULD feel like you're working, so asking yourself "you have to maintain what pace for how long?" is natural, and it's GOOD. Don't be afraid to be a little ambitious, but not stupid (which it doesn't appear that way).
Mile 5:49 - 5K 19:58 - 10K 43:06 - HM 1:36:54
I know how you feel, I keep running different scenarios through my head, just need to stick to the plan and we'll both be fine. You're gonna rock it, you've put in the training and come a long way. Looking forward to reading your RR!
I like LTH's advice too. That was basically my plan, run my goal pace until mile 7 and then assess where I'm at, maintain/pick up/slow down as needed, then reassess at mile 10 and repeat.
2014 Goals | sub-19 5k done! | sub-40 10k | sub-1:25 HM | BQ done! | sub-3 M
I CAN'T WAIT!!! I want a big ole PR, and then I want to head out for some deep dish pizza. Then, I'm going to start thinking about my 10K, and I'm going to take one week off before starting my 24 week marathon training plan. I love this stuff.
Awood, you will be fine.. You will do great and rock that.. 8:45 seem just right..
2XU HM - 02 Mar (1:44:55)
BeHero 10K (Hong Kong) - 23 Mar (46:13)
JP Morgan 5.6K - 24 Apr (25:54)
Run350 10K - 27 Apr (56:04)
Sundown 10K - 31 May (59:00)
Sundown HM - 31 May (2:50:00)
Pocari Sweat 10K - 08 Jun (50:03)
Army HM - 31 Aug (2:30:00)
Yellow Ribbon 10K - 14 Sep (52:21)
Newton 32K - 26 Oct
Stand Chart FM - 07 Dec
There is a larger theme here and that involves running based on how you feel. That is such a critical racing skill. I have no idea how many race reports I have read that said something like, "I was doing great at my goal pace until ...." The "until" is typically around Mile 11 in a half marathon or Mile 20 in a marathon. In a marathon it's usually attributable to a host of reasons but mostly it comes down to a lack of proper training. In a half marathon, it's frequently less attributable to a lack of training than in trying to hang onto a goal pace when your body just doesn't have it in it on that particular day. Of course, there is the converse of crossing the finish line thinking you left a ton of time in the bank because you were afraid to run faster than your goal pace. Here is my thought process when running a half marathon and I used the exact same process in my last two. Interestingly enough, my HM in April, 2012 was one of my worst races and my HM in November, 2012 was one of my best. Doesn't matter. Same process in both.
Warm up sufficiently. It's not a sprint like a 5K but a HM is way, way too short to be 30 seconds off goal pace in the first two miles. I'll never make it up. I need to be running hard from the start. I am never relaxed in a HM. Try to settle into something that feels just shy of tempo effort in the first few miles. Try to settle into something I think is probably sustainable for 10 miles but not 13.
Now just try to relax as much as possible. Hit every Gatorade stop. Don't worry about anyone else but me. Focus, focus, focus. Relax, relax, relax. Relax and focus. Relax and focus. Let that young guy go. If he's that much better than me, I'll never keep up. If not, I'll see him again.
Somewhere between Miles 6 & 7, I should start feeling the first twinges of discomfort. That's as as should be. In races of nearly every distance, the first twinges of discomfort should hit just around the halfway point.
By Mile 8, I am really feeling the effort and the doubt begins to creep in. Can I keep this up? Probably not as there are still 5 miserable miles left and I don't see how I can maintain this pace another 5 miles. Now, it's no longer about maintaining effort because the discomfort will grow worse and worse and the effort harder and harder just to maintain the same pace. Miles 8-11 are "no man's land." I'm already hurting and I'm so far from the finish that I don't see how I can possibly make it. So, I don't try. I start doing stuff like running to the next block. I'll tell myself to catch that next guy and then I can relax. I'll start doing just a bit of fartleks. I'll slow down a notch for a block and then pick it up again until I just can't stand it any longer. Then, I'll relax for another block. Then back on it.
Mile 11 to the finish is all about how badly I want it. MJ is dead on. Those miles go on FOREVER.
Time in April - 1:29:36 (6:51 pace) and I don't even know what my splits were. I was so disgusted I deleted the race from my watch. However, a bit of reflection afterward convinced me that I still ran a decent race even if my body was "off" that day. If I had stupidly tried to hold onto my goal that day - which was 1:27 - I would have crashed and burned and wouldn't even have broken 1:30. As it was, I adjusted for how I felt and got what I could out of a bad day.
Time in November - 1:25:58 (6:34 pace). I went into this race with zero expectations as I had spent the fall prepping for my birthday 50 miler and that was only a month before this race. If I had stupidly gotten scared when I saw my splits, and they did scare the shit out of me a couple of times, I wouldn't have gotten a shiny new PR. Splits:
1 mile - 6:38 2 miles - 6:37 3 miles - 6:31 4 miles - 6:22 5 miles - 6:26 6 miles - 6:37 7 miles - 6:31 8 miles - 6:38 9 miles - 6:34 10 miles - 6:33 11 miles - 6:32 12 miles - 6:37 13.1 miles - 7:15 (6:32)
There is, unfortunately, no way to know going into a race whether you are going to have a good day, a great day, a bad day, or something in between. Our bodies are fickle like that. What you can do is take what the day gives you and make the most out of it whatever "it" happens to be.