Race Goals and Strategy

Less than one week to race day. I took some time to review past races and past training and came up with the following goals.

  • Sub 1:50 – Should be achievable. My second half marathon, way back in September 2013, was  1:48 with ~600 miles of training…spread over the course of the entire year. After that race, I ran a 1:49 in April 2014 off a rather dismal winter training season. I’ve run pretty consistently since this race, about 3500 miles. I should have a strong base to fall back on.
  • Stretch Goal – As close to 1:45 as I can manage

But even more important than the time on the clock is executing a smart race. I think my biggest mistake would be starting too fast and crashing/fading in the last 5k. Like I did at Mighty Niagara. Or Charlevoix. Or CC River Run. Obviously this is something I need to work on. Especially with a marathon on the horizon where early mile pacing will be crucial.

 1:47:52: A disappointing finish time in 2015; a goal for Sunday’s race.

Ideally I would like to take the first three miles slightly slower than 1:50 pace, probably around 8:45 or so. Once warmed up I would pick the pace up to 1:50 pace (8:23) for about 5 miles. The final 5 miles I would continue picking up the pace based on how I am feeling. Or I’ll just hold steady if that seems like a better choice. I’m deliberately keeping the plan flexible because I don’t want to finish the race feeling disappointed. I want to finish feeling strong, confident, and ready to kick off my summer training.

Weather is not looking ideal: cold, wind, rain. The course is a loop, so it looks like I’ll get a headwind for the beginning and end of the race and a tailwind for the middle miles. I’m trying not to worry about it because I can’t change it. Also I don’t think I can complain because it will definitely not be as bad as Shamrock was!



13 thoughts on “Race Goals and Strategy

  1. Fingers crossed for an excellent race day! I will live vicariously through you since my goal for PR at Glass City is down the drain at this point. I think I’ll just refocus on hitting sub 2hrs and take whatever I’m dealt that day. I’m a little bummed I’m not just running only the relay now because I think my team will be having fun scrambling around the course handing off the bib, and I’ll miss that!
    I hope you have a great race!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good luck with your race and I agree, Shamrock looked terrible from the recaps I saw! I hope you’ll do well and meet or exceed your goals. Personally for half marathons, I usually start out at about my goal pace rather than try to negative split, but I don’t set super aggressive goals either. It also varies with the course and the elevation!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think a lot of it just has to do with how you run and race- and you have to know yourself. I have run half marathons almost like a metronome- even in races where I started out a bit… aggressively. But in a 5K, I *always* go out too quickly. I do agree though- when in doubt, take the first few miles of the half marathon a little easier than you think you should.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Good luck and may the weather odds be in your favor!

    It’s really hard not to start too fast – I think everyone struggles with that. We tend to have this perception that a half marathon is not that long once we’ve completed one, and it’s hard to shake. I’m similar to Amy, I’d rather just start out around my goal pace and try to stay there. It’s mentally easier for me because I don’t have to do so much calculating and adjusting. Every neg split I’ve run was unintentional, which makes sense, it seems to happen naturally when you’re well trained for the distance (assuming an absence of heat, and assuming that the 2nd half isn’t harder terrain-wise than the first ala Pittsburgh Marathon style).

    Anyway, I think it’s great that your main goal is to just run well. I have my best races when I prioritize running strong over running fast.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t want to jinx it but the forecast has shifted a bit in my favor! Fingers crossed it stays this way.

      Fortunately with the race if I start slow and don’t manage to make up the time, I’m okay with it. Also I figure I’ll still probably start too fast so at least this way I might have a shot at running at goal pace at the start.


  4. Keep thinking those positive thoughts! Rain and wind is not ideal, but it’s way better than sunny and blazing hot! I’ll be over here cheering for you, anxiously waiting for the race recap 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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