Anticipating an “A” Race

Earlier this year I set out some pretty big goals for myself. I wanted (and still want) PRs in every regular race distance. Out of the five that I listed in that post, only 2 remain, the half and the full. Let’s face it. These two have always been the primary goal.

For each of those I set the goal line significantly farther than a simple PR. That makes it a bit scary even with the massive PRs I’ve achieved recently. I also don’t have “back up” races planned for these. (I maybe able to squeeze in one more half marathon attempt but definitely not another marathon.)

Now, my first big goal race is upon me, less than 48 hours away. Even though it’s been in the back of my mind pretty much constantly this year so far, I haven’t made a race plan. Until now that is.

Come Sunday morning I’ll be lining up in corral 2 in Golden Gate Park ready to tack this course and really race for the first time. (My first two times running the San Francisco half marathons were primarily just to finish.)

According to a pace calculator, I need to maintain a 7:35 average to finish sub 1:40. (For some reason, I had a 7:40 pace in my mind. Five seconds may not seem like much but it threw me for a little loop when I looked it up a few minutes ago.) 7:35 is my pace goal. I know I’ll need to be a little flexible with that on the most significant uphill around miles 3 and 4 but I’m planning to stick as close to that pace on the uphills as I can. If I find myself working too hard, I’ll back off just a tad.

If by the time I get to the final 5k, I still feel good, I’ll work on gradually increasing my speed to as close to 7 as I can get.

For hydration, I’m using my amphipod handheld. A full bottle should be enough, especially since I won’t have to battle South Carolina humidity.

Nutrition is another story. I haven’t had many runs long enough to necessitate it. Plus, only recently did I acquire a pair of shorts with a packet to carry it in. (Stuffing it down my bra worked but that’s not my preferred position.) I’m taking one bag of Gatorade chews and one vanilla bean Gu gel. I guess that will end up being a race day decision.

Now for the most important part, mental preparation. I will not be self-deprecating. My plan is to fill my head with “you can do this” rather than “how on earth will I maintain this pace for 12 more miles?” Trust me. It makes a huge difference.

Here’s to Sunday July 27th and a sub 1:40 half marathon!


1 Comment

Filed under half marathon

One response to “Anticipating an “A” Race

  1. David Mercier

    The first mile. Be careful. The adrenaline and excitement could push you too hard too soon. It is hard to avoid. The rush of the crowd. Can you do closer to a 8:00 pace at first? But yes the last 5k you can just go for fast pace and go under 7:00 pace at end.

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