I can’t believe I am racing a half marathon on Sunday. I feel woefully unprepared, but if I look at my training log that really is not the case. I’m nearing 1,000 miles run in 2017. I’ve been logging a 13+ mile long run nearly every week since the beginning of July. I haven’t done a ton of speed work, but I’ve managed a few good workouts: 12×400, 6×800, 25k trail race, 2×5 miles at “marathon pace” (aka BQ pace), and 4 tempo miles sprinkled into a long run.
This is significantly better training than I had leading up to Rock CF Half in March. About 300 miles of training following a month long running hiatus. No long runs beyond 12 miles. No speed work. And that race was great!! 1:46 surpassed my goal of 1:50 and for a few miles I was seriously chasing 1:45 [before I found the hills and headwind in mile 10]. The race execution closely followed my PR of 1:42 in 2015. In both of these races I started slow and eased into the pace after 4-5 miles.
Between these two well-executed half marathons, was a poorly executed half marathon in 2016. If I look at my mile splits it is clear that I started too aggressively and started to fade half way through the race, completely falling apart in the last two miles. I’ve marked my slowest mile splits for all three races on the chart below.
Since it has worked in the past, my strategy for the race is to take the first 5 miles a touch slow. If I am still feeling strong at that point, I will start to ratchet up the pace. If not, I will hold steady. Since my goal is sub 1:40 [deep breath. I can do this.], I would like to start with 5 miles in the 7:40s. At least 10 seconds/mile slower than last years attempt.
Worth noting: this was my exact strategy last year…I just didn’t stick to it on race day. I lined up near the 1:40 pacers and when they started too fast, I chased them. I was afraid to let them out of my sights. This year I am going to line up near the 1:45 pacers, and when they start too fast, I will be right on track. Hopefully I’ll leave them behind when they settle into the correct pace and I’ll be able to focus on running my own race.