Half Marathon Next Weekend

>> Saturday, January 23, 2016

Here's the short version: I think I'll be around 1:30:00 next weekend. Hopefully a bit under.

Next weekend is my longest race since the City of Lakes 25K in 2012. I haven't ran a half marathon since earlier in that year, about 3.5 years ago. And my running/training has been different recently, so I don't know what to expect.

Here are 4 thoughts on what could affect this race:

• I've only been training long and slow. After the TC 10 Mile in early October, I took 4 weeks off. Since then, I've mainly been running easy, with just a little effort thrown in here-and-there. I nailed my plan of running 3x/week increasing the runs each week by 5 minutes (until I noted that I had to cut back on doing that 3x a week because I was starting to run too much). I started at the beginning of November with 30 minute runs, and I just finished a week with an 85 minute run (and I plan to do 1 more tomorrow [I did a shorter run with some fartleks yesterday]). Then just a few easy miles on Wednesday, and then the race next Saturday. Normally I like to train with tempo runs and intervals, but that hasn't been the case this time because I've been trying to stay injury-free. BUT my mileage has been higher than normal so I'm curious how much that will offset the lack of speed work. My longest sustained effort in any run in the last 3 months was my "frozen face" 11.2 mile run where I ran the middle 5 miles at 6:43 pace.

• I've been shying away from hill training. Because of my heel issues, I've been avoiding hills as to not aggravate those problems. The race next weekend isn't super hilly, but there are definitely some noticeable climbs in it (along Shepard Road from Downtown St. Paul up to Hwy 5 and back). I'm a little concerned how I will feel running up to the turn-around, and then hitting another 2-block steep hill a mile or two later. There's also a nasty nasty 1-block hill with 1 mile left, but I'm less concerned about that one - I'll already feel like hell, and there's only 1 mile to go. But the middle of the race could get ugly.

• Extra clothing / hard breathing in cold, dry air. Right now, they're saying it's supposed to be a pretty nice day (high of 35 and low of 29) so hopefully I won't have extra clothing slowing me down. I might even be in shorts! And the air temp shouldn't be too hard on my lungs. Let's hope that's the case.

• Will it be icy / slick / snow-packed? Icy or snowpacked roads can really slow you down when you're trying to run fast. I'm hoping the roads are nice and clear, otherwise I'll be losing precious time 180 times each minute as I push off.

If my "long and slow" training doesn't let me down, and the hills don't feel too bad, and I don't have to wear a ton of clothes, and the footing is good, the best I think I could run is 1:28:xx. The slowest I would hope to run would be around 1:33. Speedy Nicole from the Y who I ran with in 2011 predicted I would run a 1:26:30, and I laughed in her face. Well, MAYBE I could break into the 1:27s if I'm lucky. The last time I did this race in 2012, I was about to have the best "distance running" year of my life, and I ran a 1:25:22. My goal for this race is the same as my goal from my recent indoor track meet: just don't run a personal worst. My first and worst half marathon was 1:29:48, so I'm hoping to keep this one under 1:30.

We'll see how much "mental" issues of not training HARD come into play. Will I go too easy near the middle of the race because I'm not sure if I can hold out to the end? I'm worried about my different physical training causing me some mental problems during the race.

Enough over-thinking. Let's just see what I can do next weekend. Keep an eye on my Twitter and my Instagram page for updates on Saturday.

p.s. Here's video from the 2nd-to-last time I did this race in 2011 when I raced with Nicole:

Direct Link: youtu.be/f7rbyenaZm0

That video ends with me passing my pregnant wife in the 10K.
It was at this race that we announced she was pregnant. :)


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