The Plan for the TC 10 Mile

>> Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Apology in advance: this week will have some over-analytical posts about the upcoming 10 Mile. Sorry.

Jen put this in my schedule for this week: "Please put together your race plan for me to review. Please include: pacing for the race, fueling for the race, a timeline of the race and any 'what ifs'." First of all, before even getting her feedback, I KNEW this would be useful in helping to get my mind set and wrapped around this race. Secondly, I couldn't wait for Jen's 2 cents on my thoughts. Here's what I sent her. It's not super exciting, but it IS a glimpse into my head:

Hi Jen-

Here's what's been bumping around in my mind >>>>>>>

I'm not expecting you to read this, but should you want to, here's my RACE REPORT from last year at this same race.

Here are the miles splits I pulled from that race report:
First 5: 6:35, 6:26, 12:46 (6:23 pace), 6:20 = 32:09
Last 5: 6:23, 6:28, 6:00, 6:00, 5:40 = 30:34
Total: 1:02:43

Seeing that I ran the last 5 in 30:34 and the last 3 in 17:40 BACK THEN kinda makes me feel good about this year!! But doing that after running the first half MUCH HARDER still scares me....

SOOOO, based on my splits from last year, looking at my thoughts in my race report, and the elevation chart....

(Mile 3 is uphill, a short "gut-busting" hill just after mile 5, "false flats" uphill from 5.5 - 7 [not as bad as it looks on the elevation chart], then small rollers to the finish. DOWNHILL finish!)

... here's what I think I should shoot for this year:

6:00, 5:55, 6:10, 6:05, 6:05 = 30:15
6:10, 6:05, 5:55, 5:50, 5:40 = 29:40
Total: 59:55.

WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON THIS? Do-able? My goal is to just be sub-60. 59:59.9 would be cause for celebration! Is that possible? Like 90% possible or 15% possible? ;) I think I probably need a little more cushion going into that last mile - I can't be holding onto the fact that I need to close with a 5:40 mile. Sure, I did that last year, but I ran the first half a bit too easy last year.

I'll be wearing shorts, a compression-like top, a "throw away" shirt, and my compression calf sleeves. I'll do my normal 2 packets of oatmeal in the morning and a Roctane gel about 15 minutes pre-race. I'll also have a Power Bar and another regular GU on me in case I start getting hungry pre-race. (I usually get hungry enough to eat part or all of the bar, but I usually don't need the other GU.) I won't need any food on the course - a few water stops on the route will be fine.

I don't know what "what ifs" to throw in. I've been thinking that I want to keep myself in contention for a sub-60 finish. What I mean is that I DON'T want to see consistent 6:15s on my watch as I slowly see the goal slip away. I'd like to stick as close to the plan as possible. IF IF IF something happens and I hit a wall and cannot maintain that pace, then I'll at least know that I went for it. Sure, I could pull in a 1:01:05 PR, but that's not the real goal here - that would be OK, but no cause for celebration. So I'm already thinking in the dangerous "all or nothing" mindset of sub-60 or bust. Literally. I don't know if this is "gutsy" thinking or stupid thinking....

What do you think of all of this??

Thanks Jen!

Like I noted in her e-mail, I KNOW that I can't hope to close with a 5:40 mile. I know I need to be closer to my goal than that at mile 9.

Jen sent me a response with 5 things to be doing / thinking about this week. She asked me not to repeat them word-for-word here - coach/client secrets. ;) But here's the jist of them all:

1. Be focused on race day. No distractions.

2. Sleep and eat well this week.

3. Each day this week, write down one reason I will PR. Then review the entire list pre-race.

4. Warm up well for the race.

5. Race splits: I CAN count on a negative split, but I shouldn't let the hills dictate my pace as much as I showed in my first e-mail to Jen.

She had a lot more for me in each area, but this was the basic idea.

With regards to my splits, I think I can shoot for being at 30:10 - 30:15 at mile 5. I'll use the first few miles to get things figured out, but I'll hope to be within that 5 second window at mile 5. *gulp* THEN I'll try to keep the pace stronger. I WON'T let miles 6 and 7 slip away like I had first told Jen I would. I'll keep them stronger so I DON'T have to end with a 5:50 and 5:40 mile like I first told Jen I would do. Basically, I'll be checking my watch each mile to make sure I won't be far from 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, and 54 minutes. Then I'll HOPE to get under 60!!!

Here are Jen's most recent thoughts on the race plan, and they match up nicely with what I just mentioned above:

I think for the miles 5-8 you do need to run these at full max. So miles 1-4 you have 1 more gear, but you are STILL very very on the edge, then MAX IT OUT and run like you are being chased for miles 5-8 and hold on for 9,10, yes.

Sounds like a plan!

p.s. I like Jen's idea in #3. It sounds kinda cheesy, but writing those thoughts down and having them in my head to draw upon when the race gets tough might help. A lot. So here's yesterday's "reason I will PR:"

"All of the things that Jen Harrison has done to you." That sounds dirty. Whatever. Maybe it's supposed to. But she's REALLY mixed up your normal routine, and she's REALLY had you pack the miles on (considering you only run a few days a week due to injury issues). Last September, you ran 73.2 miles before the 10 Mile in early Oct. This year, by the end of the month, you'll have more than 109 miles on your legs. And you've been hitting her time goals for your runs ON THE HEAD. She has you ready for this. No doubt.

And here's today's "reason I will PR:"

"Last year, you ran the last 3 miles of the TC 10 Mile in 6:00, 6:00, and 5:40. This year, you're in WAY better shape." Sure, I ran the first 5 miles too easy last year, but still, having that speed at the end of the race is a positive sign going into this year's race.


Beth 7:26 AM, September 28, 2010  

Sooo excited for you Steve!! I think you are really going to nail this one. Just as based on the workouts you've done alone!! Have a blast and best of luck! :)

Christi 7:49 AM, September 28, 2010  

Steve you are going to kill your goal! Remain positive and know that we are all cheering for you!

Anonymous,  7:55 AM, September 28, 2010  

I'm really excited to be following your race! I know you're going to ace it. What if it's raining? (Cause I just finished a run in the rain yesterday so it's been on my mind that my shoes are still wet...)
Just so you know, I love analytical posts that break down exactly what people are doing and thinking for their training and races. I'm just getting into tris and it's interesting to see what others are doing to get so successful! Good luck!

Steve Stenzel 8:06 AM, September 28, 2010  

Lisa, I've thought about rain. I like running in the rain, but the POURING rain slows everyone down. The good news is that is forecasting a 0% chance of rain all weekend! The temps are also PERFECT for a solid race! Here's to hoping...

xt4 8:10 AM, September 28, 2010  

Awesome stuff dude - your coach has you well prepared, and this is a great exercise for anybody during race week. I really have confidence in you going into this race. I'll be behind you a ways on the marathon route, but I'll be cheering you on!

RobbyB 9:00 AM, September 28, 2010  

I got some goosebumps just anticipating your race!

Sounds like you've got the correct attitude. In just a few weeks, you've gone (publicly at least) to "I don't know." to "I'm going to go after it and be happy with nothing but my goal."

Betsy 9:50 AM, September 28, 2010  

I just predicted my IMWI finish time within 41 I consider myself the master of race result predictions and I'm gonna say that you are going to go 59:03.

You've totally got this and have no reason to think otherwise!!!

teacherwoman 11:21 AM, September 28, 2010  

You're going to rock it! Good luck!

SteveQ 12:06 PM, September 28, 2010  

You're probably overthinking it (don't spend all your energy worrying before the race). Even splits is the easiest and most natural plan; it's 200 feet of climb over 5 miles, which isn't much, so you can run even splits but know that it'll be a little harder from mile 2 to mile 7, then it should get easier. "Should" being the operative word - if you misjudged what shape you're in and went out too hard, it'll be hard running Summit Ave.

Go into the race relaxed and confident. You've got this (barring a headwind the whole way).

Brian O,  5:49 PM, September 28, 2010  

Hi Steve --

Long-time lurker here -- love your blog. Like you, I'm running the 10 Mile on Sunday and like you, I'm shooting for a "milestone" time and have been mulling my past 10 Milers and potential splits for this year. (Unlike you, however, my goal is sub-70 -- I'm older and slower than you are!)

The race plan I'm thinking about is very similar to what you initially proposed: be within 20-30 seconds of goal pace when you hit the top of the Summit "hill" at mile 7 and then let it rip for the last 3 miles.

For miles 1-7, I think it's reasonable to average goal pace for the 4 "flat" miles and run the 3 uphill miles at the same effort as goal pace on the flats -- that's where the 20-30 second deficit at mile 7 would come from. You know from your tough speed and tempo workouts you can handle a 6-minute-mile pace for 7 miles.

Then at mile 7, if you find yourself down that 20-30 seconds, I really think you'll have sub-60 in the bag. That's where that mental toughness you've been developing will come in to play to help you reach down deep and pound it in to the finish. I think you're right about mile 10 at 5:40 -- given that that's the homestretch and the nice long downhill, you can totally burn that last mile.

OK, that is probably too long and discombobulated, but it helps me in planning my own race, too. Good luck on Sunday -- looks like the weather will be 100% cooperative!

Katie 10:07 PM, September 28, 2010  

You can do it, Steve! Every time you want to ease up, just remember that if you don't give it your all, you'll have to answer to all of us who read your blog. :-) (but I mean, don't injure yourself or anything) I haven't decided where I'm spectating yet, but hopefully I'll see you out there! Good luck -- you've got this!

GoBigGreen 11:05 AM, September 29, 2010  

another idea that helped me go sub 70 last year was to latch on to a runner ahead of me, someone i may know and DO. NOT. LET. THEM. GET. OUT. OF. REACH.
You may not have that option bc you are so fast, but for me, chasing helps.
Dont micromanage. As Jen said, go race your heart out and you know you can do this. Stay calm if you get a mile that is slower for whatever reason and if you get near a chatter. ignore them and move! Also try to take the shortest line you can. I know that means rubbing shoulders but every side step is a pain and a waste of energy.

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