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7668 Views 14 Replies Latest reply: May 8, 2012 1:01 PM by Dobrobuck RSS
everjewel Amateur 37 posts since
Sep 19, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Apr 28, 2012 9:48 AM

Strategy for my first half... try for time or just finish?

My first half is a week from today, and I'm super-psyched and feeling confident. All through my training, my goal has been to finish the distance. My longest training run ended up to be 13.25 mi. at a 12 min. pace. My last long run was 9 miles. I ran the first 4 mi. in 46 min, the second 4 mi. in 44 min. and I did the 9th mile in 10 min. because I was actually having fun and feeling great. So now I'm thinking about race day. My plan had been to take it easy, a 12 min pace the first ten miles, then see what happens the last 3. But now I'm wondering if I'm being TOO conservative. What if I have it in me to run it in under 2:30? If I start out way slow and hold back too much, I might have plenty of gas left at the end, but not enough distance to make up the earlier conservative time. I was thinking about using my last long run as a guide, run 46 min (11:30 pace) the first 4 miles, 44:20 min (11:05 pace) the next 4 miles, and 45 min (11:15 pace) the next 4 miles, allowing for a 12 min. last mile, faster if I'm still feeling strong. Since I've never run a half (other than training), I'm not sure how much I can rely on race day excitement to help me out, and I'm not sure how much over my training times I'll be capable of. I've always surprised myself with better than expected times in 5Ks, but this is an entirely different animal. So I guess my question is this: Do I play it safe, or do I challenge myself? Or am I completely over-thinking this?!

  • Jasko123 Legend 461 posts since
    Apr 18, 2011

    Hi everjewel,

    I think it is fine to evaluate potential plans for the half.  Of course, just keep in mind that others will get you off your pace and then there is the race environment, course, level of competition and all those other elements.  In general, I would agree that it is a safe focus to avoid starting out too quickly.  It sounds like you have a good training schedule to guide you and it would also appear that you have great control in regulating your pace and so on. 

     

    Are you going straight from 5k races to the half or do you have many races at the 8k, 10k or 15k levels?  I am asking because 5k to half is seldom recommended, regardless of the level of personal fitness or training.  There just is no substitute for the actual race experience through the distance ranks.  However, consistent LR schedules make a big difference over time. 

     

    The truth is you may not know the nature of the challenges until you are actually right in the middle of the race, but reducing the risk of injury is a primary consideration, so monitor your level of comfort through the event and make necessary adjustments.  I would say the cautious approach is best for your first half. 

     

    Congratulations and best wishes

  • crl8686 Legend 1,302 posts since
    Nov 11, 2007

    You have successfully done just over the full distance in training (13.25 mi at 12 min pace). How did that training run feel? Would you be able to cut 30 sec/mi from that pace for the half and still finish strong? At 11.5 min pace for the race, you would finish in just over 2:30 (2:30:40 to be exact).

    Also what kind of training plan have you been following? Most beginner plans are designed to get you to the finish line intact, but not to push the pace for time. Intermediate plans are geared towards racing for time.

    I would also agree with Jasko that a lot depends on your previous race experience. If you have had experience with some middle distance races (particularly 10K and/or 15K), racing the half for time is a reasonable goal. However, if you have never run a race longer than 5K, then running to finish (at a reasonable pace) would be more appropriate.





    2014 highlights...

    @ 5K: Ontario Mills Run, Ontario, CA, 25:19

    Angels Baseball Foundation 5K, Anaheim, CA, 24:15

    Friends of the Villa Park Library 5K, Villa Park, CA, 24:10

    @ 10K: LA Chinatown Firecracker Run, Los Angeles, CA, 51:44

    Great Race of Agoura - Old Agoura 10K, Agoura Hills, CA, 50:31

    Fiesta Days Run, La Canada, CA, 50:29


  • alohadreamer Amateur 35 posts since
    Jan 1, 2006

    Hi! I am far from someone that should be giving advice , but i trained about your pace and I haven't run a race of any kind in YEARS!! I had lots of setbacks and anxiety(almost dropped out!) but I did it anyway with only one 11 miler undre my belt. I feltmuch better than expected. Have you thought about a pace group if they have them in your race? I went out a little in front of the 2 30 and finshed  2 27. So just do what people say-start slow and gradually build if you feel good. You may be suprised! Good luck and update us!

  • linuscatch Pro 143 posts since
    Sep 18, 2011

    I just ran my first HM two weeks ago so I am going to share with you what NOT TO DO. Don't worry about time, don't worry about finishing, don't worry about all the people around you that are running at a pace that you think you should be running at.  I did all the above, and was so jacked up at the starting line thinking about how I might finish.  My HR instantly went through the roof in first two miles, so i slowed down by walking through the water stations.  I finally got back in a rhythm about mile 4 and felt really good so started picking it up thinking that I was finally running MY race.

    Turns out it was too hard too soon and it caught up to me about mile 10.  Note that I had run a 10 mile prep race at a very good pace for me, and did a 13.1 mile LR the week before the race.  I admitted my mistake and took some walking breaks but by mile 11.5 I actually had to stop to stretch.  Shortly after that the adrenalin of finishing kicked in and I finished the last 1.5 miles pretty strong.  When I crossed the finish line I was ecstatic to have finished but not thrilled with my time of just under 2:11 because I knew I could have done much better.

    So my advice to you is to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.  It is an awesome experience and accomplishment when you cross the finish line no matter the time.  So go out SLOW, hold that for a couple of miles while the crowd thins out, and then decide if you want to pick it up.  13.1 miles is a long way so would suggest not turning it all the way up until mile 10 when all you have left is a 5k.

    best of luck to you...can't wait to see your post next weekend after you complete a great accomplishment for yourself!

  • Dobrobuck Pro 151 posts since
    Apr 17, 2011

    Hey everjewel, Thought I would reply for the simple fact I completed my first 1/2 yesterday. I highly reccomend using a pacer if possible. You didn't say where you were racing but larger races usually supply them. They will keep you under control throughout your race and their knowlege with encouragement is extremely helpfull. A lot of us especially us newbies tend to start way to fast and bonk before the end. It sounds like you have some good miles in and have done the actual 13m. I did the same needing the confidence of that distance under my belt. After reading your posts a few times I would stick to your original goal to finish, and you can finish in style by not coming across the line in a ragged state like I saw a number of people do yesterday. Not a thing wrong with 12-13 min miles and a strong finish!! Trust your training and dont overthink your first race!!! Since you seem to have some way to determine your miles per minute maybe split and go with a 12:30 mm or run the first 7-8 miles at 13:00 and see how you feel then pick it up just a little if your feeling really good. I ran my entire race at 10:00mm and picked it up to 9:00mm for the last 1&1/2m with a fellow runner who I got to know while we ran. I had run this pace before with good fellings when done so I felt it was the right pace for me. The last two lines of your last post makes the most sense and I think you will know what to do. I wish you luck and will look for your post after you finish your first 1/2 to congratulate you!!!!





    4/30/11 IL Marathon 10K 57:43

    5/14/11 Kirby Derby 10K 57:49 3rd place in div

    7/4/11 Freedom 5K 28:59

    Lost 80lbs since 6/17/10 starting wt 280lbs

    Joined Second Wind Running Club 9/2011

    8/27/11 13.38mi 2:32

    9/17/11 13.45mi 2:27

    Habitat for Humanity 5K 12/31/11 26:42 PR

    4/28/12 IL Marathon 1st 1/2 2:10:38

    Cycled 1600 mi summer of 2012

    Cycled Hilly Hundred 10/25/12

    Upcoming races

    April 2013 1st full marathon..

  • artiefxst Rookie 5 posts since
    Mar 15, 2012

    Hey everjewel good luck on your first half.I am also doing my first half on sun. May 6th. We have to keep in mind any time we get is our pr for a half.

    I'm planning on running at a comfortable pace for the first 6 or 7 mi and then very slowly bring it up and i hope for the last 3.1 i can run almost like a 5k

    I don't care what any other runner is doing i have to run my race,and we have both run the distance so there is no need to stress,just run and enjoy the

    day.good luck Peace.

  • NHLA Legend 354 posts since
    Feb 23, 2012

    LOL Linuscatch. A pacer is nice if they have them. Don't start too fast; Walk for one minuite after the first mile to let your heart rate slow down. Relax and run your own race.

  • Lochbain Amateur 36 posts since
    Apr 23, 2011

    If you haven't ran a half before then just focus on finishing. There will be others to run so you can post a time. If it's your first just go and have fun and enjoy it. You'll hate yourself if you push yourself to hard and either implode or get injured. Good luck.

  • NHLA Legend 354 posts since
    Feb 23, 2012

    Congrats on your 1st 1/2. Way to go.Glad you didn't start too fast.

  • Dobrobuck Pro 151 posts since
    Apr 17, 2011

    everjewel: Congrats on your first 1/2!!!! You toughed it out and learned along the way. Thats great and you should be proud!!! Hopefully there will be more for you and they will become more fun as your experience and knowledge increases. The heat deffinately takes it's toll on all of us so use that to help with future training. Build on what you learned and you will become a better runner, thats right you are a RUNNER!!!! Good luck with your future challenges and goals!!!





    4/30/11 IL Marathon 10K 57:43

    5/14/11 Kirby Derby 10K 57:49 3rd place in div

    7/4/11 Freedom 5K 28:59

    Lost 80lbs since 6/17/10 starting wt 280lbs

    Joined Second Wind Running Club 9/2011

    8/27/11 13.38mi 2:32

    9/17/11 13.45mi 2:27

    Habitat for Humanity 5K 12/31/11 26:42 PR

    4/28/12 IL Marathon 1st 1/2 2:10:38

    Cycled 1600 mi summer of 2012

    Cycled Hilly Hundred 10/25/12

    Upcoming races

    April 2013 1st full marathon..

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