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Running Newbie worried about making my half marathon goal. (Read 1730 times)

    Okay, my big litmus test is coming up this weekend when I'll be running a local 15K run.  I ran a 14K in early Feburary and met my goal at the time, but conditions were so terrible there really wasn't a chance to really make a plan, I just ran as hard and steady as I could and ended up with a 9:11 pace overall.

    I've continued my training and have almost 300 miles under my belt since then and am averaging just over 35 mpw for the last 6 weeks.  I've got some long easy runs in there building my base.  I've been working in Tempo runs or Intervals once a week and my last Tempo run was 7.93 miles at a 9:00 pace on the dot.

    With all that said, my "racing" experience is VERY limited.  I'm wanting to go all out on this 15K to really try to see where I'm at and am trying to work up a pre-race strategy.

    I'm leaning toward trying to start out at around a 9:10 pace for the first few miles, but I lose about 60 feet in elevation over the first 2 miles, so I probably should use that to my advantage and just start out right at a 9:00 pace.

    I tend to get into a dolldrum in the middle of my runs and drag the pace by 10 seconds or so, so I'm going to try to really focus on keeping it right on a 9:00 pace there in the middle of the race.

    It's an out and back so the last 2 miles are going to be back uphill that 60 feet of elevation so I'm thinking that if I'm struggling I'll just try to keep the pace at 9:00, but if I'm feeling good I'll wait until around the 2 miles to go mark to try to really push it in.

    A 8:30 pace is really pushing it for me so I'm thinking just moving up to around a 8:45 pace with 2 miles to go and try to sustain that to the finish and if I'm still feeling good with a mile to go then I'll try to push it up to an 8:30 pace to hump it in.

    I'll be practicing my water stations for my half marathon on this run and working on running through them and not walking through them.

    I'm pretty pumped to find out whether my last 3 months of training is going to pay off or not and really wanting to see where I'm at on my sub 2 hour half marathon goal.

    I'm not really tapering for this 15K as it isn't my goal race, but I'm still hoping for a good time and going to push for it.  It will be my peak run before tapering for my half marathon coming up two weeks later.

    Looking for any additional input or advice that anyone might have.

    Thanks, Nathan

    Age: 45 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

    Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27


    day after day sameness

      I'd suggest rethinking your plan of "banking" time in the first section -- you almost always will pay for doing that by fading in the later parts and will loose more time in the long fade than you made up in the short banking during your opening section.

       

      A 15K lends itself nicely to being handled as 3 x 5KM sections....and were I in your shoes, the approach I'd use is to run the first 5KM with a goal pace of 9:00 to 9:10, then up the effort in the second 5KM to match the feel of your tempo runs, and then the third segment is where you either hold on, or fade a bit if you're struggling, or hammer the last 1KM if you can.  The third segment is race-time adjusted to get the best result you can that day.

       

      Having offered that advice...let me say that everyone has a different style and this is all very individual...you have learn, so pick an approach you like and try it out. The experience will guide your approach for the next event.

       

      As to water stops....slow up, crimp the cup and you'll loose very little time if you walk and actually drink the drink rather than gagging on it, or pouring it down your front. Don't force yourself to power on through, the little break may actually help your pace overall.

      I've done my best to live the right way; I get up every morning and go to work each day...


      Fat butt on couch

        Your plan sounds fine....agree with MT on not trying to bank time.

         

        Regarding your workouts, if you are doing 7mi at 9min/mile pace you are either a) running your tempo runs too fast, or b) capable of faster than that in a HM.  That's awfully long to hold HM pace in a "workout".

        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

         

           Thanks for the input.  I'll try to stick with the 9:00 pace right from the start and see where that gets me. 

           

          On my 14K that I ran the wind was blowing hard going out and my pace was up in the 9:45 range for the first few miles but then I got the wind at my back and I ran the last 3 miles under a 8:45 pace to come out just a second over my goal pace of 9:10 for that race.

           

          Your plan sounds fine....agree with MT on not trying to bank time.

           

          Regarding your workouts, if you are doing 7mi at 9min/mile pace you are either a) running your tempo runs too fast, or b) capable of faster than that in a HM.  That's awfully long to hold HM pace in a "workout".

           

          I'm probably running my tempo run too fast.  My last one was actually 7.93 miles at 9:00 pace.

           

          I just felt like if I was going to run 9:09 for 13.1 miles I should be able to run 7 or 8 miles at 9:00 so that's what I was working toward.

           

          I don't feel like I'm really racing on those runs, my avg heart rate ends up being at about 85% of maximum when it is all said and done, and I generally feel like I have something left in the tank at the end, but doing more and more reading it seems like I'm probably overdoing it on those runs. 

           

          For sure as I start to taper after this 15K I'm going to skip the 8 mile pace run I had scheduled for next week and work it as a interval or increasing pace run or something like that instead.

          Age: 45 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

          Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27

            Okay, I went back and looked around and found some stuff on 8 mile tempo runs.


            Here's the article on "Race Pace Workouts".

            http://www.runnersworld.com/article/1,7120,s6-238-244--12512-0,00.html

            Half-marathon pace (about 15 to 25 seconds per mile faster than marathon pace) is the speed most closely correlated with traditional tempo runs. Therefore, your weekly tempo runs are your race-pace workouts. Start with three miles and increase by a half-mile every week until you are comfortably running at half-marathon race pace for eight miles. Give yourself at least one easy recovery day before and after these workouts. Cap your tempo sessions at eight miles (plus warmup and cooldown); otherwise, the workout too closely mimics an actual race, which requires extended recovery.

            I'm pushing the pace by about 10 seconds, but I'm also trying to get my HM pace ahead by 10 seconds to give me a little buffer on my sub 2 hour goal, I would hate to have to make a pit stop or something and miss my time and that 10 seconds would give me about a 2 minute buffer.

            So is an 8 mile Tempo run bad?  Do I need to change my schedule?  I have one scheduled for the middle of next week as my last hard workout before the real taper for my HM.

            Thanks, Nathan


            Age: 45 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

            Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27

              Hi Nathan!

              Just wanted to say I think things are going to be fine on the day- don't worry too much or try to analyze all the tiny details.

              If you don't make your goal, though I think you will, then you are fitter for elk hunting and you will nail the 2 hrs. next time.

              It's all good, as the kids say....

              PBs since age 60:  5k- 24:36, 10k - 47:17. Half Marathon- 1:42:41.

                                                  10 miles (unofficial) 1:16:44.

               

                I started a reply earlier but had to walk away.

                 

                SimonR nailed it...

                 

                I think you're over thinking the whole thing. An 8 mile tempo run isn't going to have that much physical impact on your race day performance.

                www.hplg.net  The Human Powered League - Solo Cup Series - Trail Building


                Fat butt on couch

                  Okay, I went back and looked around and found some stuff on 8 mile tempo runs.


                  Here's the article on "Race Pace Workouts".

                  http://www.runnersworld.com/article/1,7120,s6-238-244--12512-0,00.html

                  Half-marathon pace (about 15 to 25 seconds per mile faster than marathon pace) is the speed most closely correlated with traditional tempo runs. Therefore, your weekly tempo runs are your race-pace workouts. Start with three miles and increase by a half-mile every week until you are comfortably running at half-marathon race pace for eight miles. Give yourself at least one easy recovery day before and after these workouts. Cap your tempo sessions at eight miles (plus warmup and cooldown); otherwise, the workout too closely mimics an actual race, which requires extended recovery.

                  I'm pushing the pace by about 10 seconds, but I'm also trying to get my HM pace ahead by 10 seconds to give me a little buffer on my sub 2 hour goal, I would hate to have to make a pit stop or something and miss my time and that 10 seconds would give me about a 2 minute buffer.

                  So is an 8 mile Tempo run bad?  Do I need to change my schedule?  I have one scheduled for the middle of next week as my last hard workout before the real taper for my HM.

                  Thanks, Nathan


                   

                  Did you just post that profile pic?  I didn't see it before...so awesome.

                   

                  1)  Going up to 8 miles for a tempo run is very general advice.  That means something very different to a 20-40 mpw runner than a 60-80mpw runner.  That's a darn long workout at your mileage.  IMHO it's pushing it to run that far at HM pace.  I'd recommend 4-6 mile tempo at that pace...slowing down a bit as you get to 8 miles.  Tempo running is an effort-based run....therefore, the longer the tempo, the slower it will be.

                   

                  2)  Don't pick workout paces based on your goal race time.  That's backwards.  Base them on your current ability and, as you gain fitness, the workouts will improve until they (hopefully) correlate with your goal time.  If you are not in shape to run your goal today, why expect to be able to run workouts correlated with that goal time today?

                   

                  3)  Typically you are running under training load for workouts.  On rest day you will have some degree of recovery....assuming you don't COMPLETELY train through the race.  So you're capable of a better pace there than in training simply because of that.  So if you can handle 9:00 pace for 13.1 miles on race day....in a workout setting, you probably will not be able to do more than ~10 miles at that pace, even if you race the workout.  You're doing 8 miles.  Not a ton of difference.  This is why, while I can't say it is wrong for you given what little info I have, it does make me nervous.  People tend to run workouts too hard.  Workouts, even hard ones, are not supposed to be race effort.  I fell into that trap once, needed a final confidence booster so I ran a 15-miler at 5:25 pace to convince myself I could run a marathon at that pace.  It ended up being too much and started me on a downward spiral.  Now I'm smarter (I hope).

                   

                  YMMV, if your HM pace is at a significantly lower perceived effort than the athletes I am most comfortable working with it is just fine.  85% maxHR doesn't sound awful....just be cautious.  Wink   I do tempo runs for HM training that are up to 10 miles long.  When I was specifically training for the event and pacing them at 5:20-5:25, my 4 mile tempo runs were 5:18-5:22 and by 8 miles I was up to ~5:30, and by to miles ~5:35-5:40 (closer to MP).

                  "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                   

                    I predict a 1:50 - 1:52 HM for Nathan.  He is in better shape than gives himself credit for.  I'd shoot for a 1:20 15K, about 8:30 pace (8:45 if not tapered). Don't wear a watch for that 15 K race and see where you come in, you might surprise yourself.

                      Thanks a lot for the input guys. I'm for sure overanalyzing this to death.  When it all comes down to it, how much difference does it make in the grand scheme of things if I run a 2:03 or a 1:59?  The entire thing started on a poll that I did on a hunting forum on what folks consider to be "in shape" for elk hunting.   I put one of the options as running a half marathon in 2 hours, I didn't really even think it through, it was just a nice even number and somehow that has stuck in my head ever since and I'm working my tail off to get there. 

                       

                      I shot the elk in my avatar in 2010 when I wasn't in very good shape and while I'm proud of him, and he's the biggest elk I may ever shoot in my life, I had drawn a tag in an awesome hunt area and had seen a much bigger elk two days earlier but just didn't have the gumption to get back to where he was hanging out.  I pulled the trigger on him in the morning on day 3 of the hunt and was completely exhausted.  I could barely walk the next day.

                       

                      This season I got to my goal of 6 miles in an hour before the season and hunted hard for the entire 5 days of the short season and ended up with 50+ miles and 12,000+ feet of elevation gain on my boots before getting my elk on the last day.  Being in shape made a HUGE difference!

                       

                      My ultimate goal is to someday draw a mountain goat tag and actually be in good enough shape to hunt it effectively.  I still need to add some heavy packs and steep hill work to my routines, but I live in a pretty flat area and the only way to really stay in shape is going to be running.  I'm 43 now and I may be 53 before I draw a goat tag (no guarantee I'll draw it by then) so I'm looking at doing this to stay in shape long term. 

                       

                      I predict a 1:50 - 1:52 HM for Nathan.  He is in better shape than gives himself credit for.  I'd shoot for a 1:20 15K, about 8:30 pace (8:45 if not tapered). Don't wear a watch for that 15 K race and see where you come in, you might surprise yourself.

                       

                      I don't predict that fast on the HM because there is no way I'm going to start out fast enough to hit that number! 

                       

                      Also I'm a slow mover and I have some miles logged, but I just ran 2 miles this morning at an 8:38 pace and I was feeling it, so I slowed down for the 2 miles coming back to the house.  Kind of a half assed interval workout.  My splits on my 4 miler this morning were 8:46, 8:31, 10:09 and 9:16.  That 9:16 on the last mile felt really good.  My heart rate was hanging pretty steady at 86% of Max.  It's crazy that a 9:15 pace seems fairly steady and sustainable, but an 8:45 feels like I'm really working hard.  My heart rate was up to 93% and steadily climbing at the end of that second mile at the 8:31 pace.  I'm shocked at how just a few seconds on your pace can make such a huge difference in effort.  What I'm hoping is that with all the work I've done at a 9:00 pace, that my 9:09 pace required for my HM will be doable.

                       

                      That's an interesting thought to ditch the watch (my phone) on the 15K and just see what happens.  I ran without my headphones this morning and it was nice to hear my feet hitting and the rthym of my breathing.  I for sure won't ditch the phone or heart rate monitor completly, but I could disable my audio cues and see how things ended up.  Right now I'm a technology junky though so I don't know if I can give it up on an important race to my final goal.

                      Age: 45 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

                      Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27


                      Fat butt on couch

                        I would agree that based on your tempo runs you are faster than you think, but I also agree with ditching the watch and running it by feel...and ending up pleasantly surprised, hopefully...rather than setting an arbitrary pace goal and perhaps ending up crashing.

                         

                        When you are really in shape, you won't need a rifle.  You'll just run the elk down on their own turf.  Here is my first one, you could call this point blank range:

                        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                         


                        Black-Toe-Nailed

                          I would agree that based on your tempo runs you are faster than you think, but I also agree with ditching the watch and running it by feel...and ending up pleasantly surprised, hopefully...rather than setting an arbitrary pace goal and perhaps ending up crashing.

                           

                          Agree with Spaniel. I was trying to reply yesterday but I had to leave (for a run).

                           

                          During the run I realised one thing: You do speak about an 85% HR but you do not say if you have measured your max and min or are just using one of these formulas you can find online such as the Karvonen.

                           

                          From the context I would say that that's what you are doing in which case you don't really know if you are really at your 85% or not. You may have a wider heart rate reserve so that what your HR meter shows as 85% is indeed only a 70-75% which is the HR you should be aiming at for a HM.

                           

                          If this happens you may be thinking that you are exercising harder than what you really are. I would say that until you can calculate your real minimal and maximum HR you should run on feel.

                           

                          An added advantage of that is that you don't have to run with all these straps and gadgets during the race (if you want).

                          --

                          "If one can stick to the training throughout the many long years,
                          then will power is no longer a problem. It's raining? That doesn't matter.
                          I am tired? That's besides the point. It's simply that I just have to."

                          Emil Zatopek

                            Thanks for the reply.  I've done several different workouts to get my max heart rate and I've gotten 187 or 188 in all of them.  I'm using 188 as my max right now.  That was during the winter though so not sure if the warmer temps could change my max heart rate any, but they sure change my heart rate on my workouts.

                             

                            Per regular formulas on age and all that I should have a max of 177.

                             

                            I've done my resting rate a few times in the morning before I get out of bed and it was always right around 60, probably is a little lower now, but not by more than a couple beats or so.

                             

                            Believe it or not, I have a spot in my excel spreadsheet that I can calculate my % of maxHR.

                             

                            I sure hope 70-75% isn't what I should be expecting on my HM because that's what I'm training at as an easy run.  That's what McMillan shows anyway.  150 is right at 70% for me and that's where I try to be on all my long runs and adjust my pace accordingly. 

                             

                            My audio cues are set for every 1/2 mile, and I can't see my phone when I'm running so it's not like I'm constantly diddling with my pace though.  If I'm low I try to very slightly pick up the pace, if I'm high I try to very slightly drop the pace.

                             

                            On those 9:00 per mile long Tempo or Pace runs my average heart rate is averaging around 85% of max, but it is generally close to or even over 90% by the end of them.  Plenty of perceived effort that's for sure.  Not fall on the ground gasping for air at the end of them, but for sure feeling spent.  I generally do a 1/4 mile cool down afterward and it's not like I'm worn out the rest of the day, but I can tell the difference between them and an easy run day that's for sure.   

                             

                            My unscientific gut feel when I'm running them is that if I can keep my heart rate steady at 85% I can run that for quite a while, if it is going over that I need to start thinking about slowing the pace because I can't sustain more than 85% forever.  If I keep it between 85% and 90% I can keep that up for 3 or 4 miles.  If I cross the 90% threshold (175 for me) I've probably only got less than a mile or I'm going to poop out.  Right now that 85% is coming right around a 9:00 to 9:05 pace.  If I drop to a 9:10 I can keep it under 85%, if I increase to a 9:00 I'm going to be slowly climbing on my heart rate.  Anything under 9:00 is going to be a quicker climb and 8:30 is going to be a mile or less right now.

                             

                            Thinking it all through I am probably running those Tempo runs too long and too fast though, my avg heart rate on some of them has actually been higher than on my 14K race that I did, although the warmer temperatures for sure seem to cause some of that.  (It was 20 degrees the day of the 14K race).

                             

                            I'm thinking my race pace isn't going to be that much better than those Tempo or Pace run days, but we'll see.  The biggest difference will be that I'll really try to push it in and give everything that last mile or so instead of just keeping my pace through to the end. Heck I may be needing to do that just to get back to a 9:00 pace though.

                            Age: 45 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

                            Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27

                              I went back and looked at my last race (The 14k) and my heart rate was over 85% (169) at mile 2.09 and never got back under that.

                               

                              It hung out between 85% and 87% for quite a while (low 170's) and then it crossed 90% (175) at mile 7.32 and slowly climbed to 96% (183) by the finish 8.67 miles.

                               

                              At the time I felt like I hadn't really gone "all out" on that race based on my finish notes.  My wife actually ran that race too and I went back and jogged in with her the last 1/2 mile or so.

                               

                              Splits on that run are worthless because of the wind being such a factor (20-25mph).

                              Age: 45 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

                              Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27


                              day after day sameness

                                You're ready.

                                Stop analyzing. Just go run it.

                                Run it hard.

                                Adjust as you go to be sure you can make it to the 13.1 miles + 10 feet.

                                 

                                (insert supportive, smack-on-butt emoticon thing here)

                                I've done my best to live the right way; I get up every morning and go to work each day...

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