>> Wednesday, May 16, 2012
I've been thinking about HOW I was able to have such a surprisingly good performance at last weekend's half marathon. Actually, I was even starting to theorize DURING the last few miles of the race. Here are my 3 thoughts:
• 10% chance it's due to PureFit Bars.
Before most half marathons, my routine is something like this: PowerBar 2 hours pre-race, Sharkies after that (just enough to not get hungry), Roctane Gel 20 minutes pre-race, and another Rotane or Gu during the race (around mile 7-8). I did exactly that at the New Prague Half Marathon on Saturday, but instead of a PowerBar I had a PureFit bar. I REALLY don't think that made THAT large of a difference at the race, but being it was a new factor, it DID enter my mind.
(Full disclosure: I was sent some PureFit Bars about a year ago to try. I never raced with them until this last weekend. They state they are "the all-natural, gluten-free and wheat-free, dairy-free, vegan, kosher, high in protein, diabetic-friendly, that tastes great nutrition bar." It was pretty good!)
• 20% chance it's due to more rest.
I was nervous going into this race because my last long run was 3 weeks prior. I usually like to have my last long run about 10 days prior to race-day. But 2 weeks before the race was the Get in Gear 10K, and 1 week before the race was the Cinco "Du" Mayo Duathlon. All of my weekday runs between all of those races were pretty much easy recovery runs or easy pre-race runs. So yes, I DID race 3 weeks in a row (which can lead to tired legs), but those were shorter races - I even noted right after the duathlon (2m, 10m, 2m) that my legs still felt fresh.
But here's the biggest reason I think I had such a great race on Saturday...
• 70% chance it's due to Henry (my 11 month old son).
In the past few years, you've seen me post about track workout after track workout. I used to do nearly EVERY workout at 100%, or "all out" (including long runs). Some people (especially her and her) finally convinced me that easy running can be the key to faster racing. Really.
And Henry's been doing his part to make me listen to those 2 ladies. Being he loves "stroller runs," I do a lot of running with him. I've been doing easier and longer runs than I have in the past. Henry and I have already logged over 194 miles together in 2012!!
Let's quick look at my training leading up to my old half marathon PR in 2010 compared with my training leading up to this race last weekend:
4 weeks of long runs pre-race in 2010: 10, 6, 10, and 6 for a total of 71 miles over those 4 weeks. All long runs were at a pretty fast pace.
4 weeks of long runs pre-race leading up to this past race: 13, 6.5, 13.5, and 13.5 for a total of 101 miles of those 4 weeks. These long runs were all done mainly at an easier pace with just a few faster miles in the middle.
This is a big change from "the norm." I'm usually faster at shorter races because I USED TO do so much speed work and not do as much longer-distance training. Now that I'm doing less speed work and more longer runs, I've become a bit a of a more "well rounded" runner, but I'm sure I've lost some short-distance speed. I guess we'll find out in 2 weeks at my next 5K!
Easy recovery run with Henry yesterday morning along the Mississippi River.
This was just MOMENTS after a coyote sprinted across the trail in front of us!
And if you don't know what I'm talking about regarding this amazing race I had last weekend, click here (or scroll down 2 posts) to read about my new 1:20:54 half marathon PR.