Half Marathon

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Benchmark Goals

It's that time of year again! That's right, time to start thinking about running goals for 2012.

I had a conversation today that prompted this post. I had been thinking a week or 2 from now would be a better time for a post about goals. However, coming off a target race that did not go how I wanted I was feeling a little like I was stuck in no-man's-land with regards to my own goals.

The Perils of December Racing

The Rock Canyon Half Marathon is 2 days away. As I write this snow has dusted the ground outside and flurries are blowing around in the air. It is 33 degrees.

Fortunately the race is 2 days away and in Pueblo, a town known to be a good 8-10 degrees warmer than it is here most days. Unfortunately the forecast for Saturday morning in Pueblo is mostly cloudy with a 50% chance of snow and highs in the mid to upper 20s with winds 10-20 miles per hour gusting up to 35 mph.

Not exactly ideal racing conditions.

Six Days Out

The hay is in the barn.

The work has been done.

All I can do now is mess things up.

This past Saturday I did my last long run in preparation for my upcoming half marathon. I ran 10 miles at a very easy pace, and used the run primarily to practice my breakfast and refueling strategy for the race.

Peaking

This past Saturday I met several of my high school runners for a leisurely 11 mile run. With the exception of an identical run tentatively planned for next Saturday, it marked the last big mileage day of my half marathon training.

From here on out I have two goals: feel fresh and feel fast on race day.

How to accomplish those two things now becomes the trick.

Half Marathon Goals

Eighty eight minutes.

The Rock Canyon Half Marathon is 23 days away. Somehow this race has become what I have been pointing towards for seemingly an entire year.

I started running every day in January and the streak is still alive today. Compare that to last year when I spent 5 weeks "training" for the race, and it is reasonable to have higher expectations this go around.

Half Marathon Training

This past Saturday the best high school runners in Colorado met to compete in the State Championships. It was on that day a year ago that I was convinced to run my first half marathon a mere 5 weeks later. At this time last year my running was virtually non-existent. I ran 4 days a week for the 5 weeks leading to the race, maxing out at 28 miles a week.

This year I plan to run the same half marathon. However, I am coming from a very different place.

Training With Ease

Last December I ran my first half marathon. Although I only had 5 weeks to prepare for it, and the race itself was one of the hardest things I have ever done, I really enjoyed it and am planning to do it again.

A little over a week ago it occurred to me that the first Saturday in December, and race day, is now less than 2 months away. Which means I should get going on my preparation.

The results have really helped me see what affect having a target race that you are committed to running and running well can have on your training.

Half Marathon Lessons Learned

Looking back on the half marathon I ran nearly 2 weeks ago, I feel there are some important things I learned (or re-learned) about racing and training.

The ironic thing is I certainly "knew" most of these things going into the race. However, I have come to realize that knowing something in theory and doing it in practice are two different things. The way to connect theory with practice is experience. I have not raced frequently enough, or trained with enough focus for quite some time to put the theory into practice.

Half Marathon Recap

After completing my first half marathon this past weekend, I have a new found respect for people who race distances over 10k. It is one thing to run 13.1 miles. It is another altogether to race that distance.

Going into the race I had set realistic goals of finishing between 93 and 95 minutes and being among the top 10% of all finishers. At the end, I felt very pleased to have accomplished both my place and time goals.

I also wanted to run such a race that I would be spent at mile 11 rather than have a lot left at the end. That goal was certainly accomplished as well.

The Plan

Well, the day we have all been waiting for is nearly here! In 2 days I am embarking on my first half marathon.

On the one hand I am excited to get out there and race and see what I can do. On the other hand I feel like my 5 week crash course in half marathon training has been adequate to get me to finish the race, but I doubt whether it has been adequate to enable me to run it as well as I would like.

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