Monday, October 10, 2011

Goals, Goals, Goals

So... with my half-marathon just 6 days away, running is on the brain. All the time. Except when I'm trying to impart mathematical wisdom to teenagers. And even then, I try to work running in. (Example daily warm-up question: If Jenny averages 7:36 miles for 26.2 miles, what would her finish time be?)

The thing about half-marathons and marathons is that you usually only get one chance. If you mess it up, that's it. You might be able to come back in a few weeks and try again, but probably not. You train for weeks and weeks and you have one race.

At my favorite race ever - Washington University STL under the lights. This was the first time I broke 20 in a 5km. One of my favorite running memories ever.
This is very different from 1500m/5km training (like I did in college), where if you have a bad race, you can usually bounce back the next week. You're racing every weekend or at least every other weekend.

Okay, so what are my goals for this half-marathon? Let's look at a few things first. 

My training cycle has gone well; I've seen decent times in the 5km and a 10km PR (40:53). I've finally overcome my fear of tempo runs and have completed three in the 5-mile range and two in the 6-mile range. (It used to be a 'good day' if I hit 4 miles at tempo pace.)

My PR in the half-marathon is 1:35:55, which I ran last November at the Indianapolis Monumental Half-Marathon. I trained for that race in just 6 weeks; it was kind of a last minute thing. I definitely surprised myself that day with my 7:19 pace because I didn't do any speed work whatsoever. 

According to my v-dot of 50 (good ole Jack Daniels' running formula), I should be able to run a 1:31:35. A 6:59 pace. That is freakin' fast!

And according to my account, which takes into consideration my current workouts, mileage, etc..., I should be able to run a 1:29:07. A 6:48 pace. Even faster, yikes.

And then, if I use the RunnersWorld training calculator, it puts me at a 1:30:12. So 6:53 pace. 

The only time I was ever winning a race. No worries, it was the slow heat. And I was passed in the last 200 meters, haha. It sure felt good while it lasted though! ;-)

So I'm distraught. I would be absolutely ecstatic to run any of those times! But they scare me. If I go out at a 7:00 pace, will I crash and burn once I hit mile 8? Who knows?

So here's my plan... start out about a 7:10 pace. See how I feel. Hopefully I feel good, and I can negative split. Even if I just maintain 7:10's the whole race, I'll still finish around 1:34, a 2 minute PR.

[But can I tell you a secret? I really want to run sub-7:00 miles.]

So here's my goal line-up. Because in college, we always made multiple goals. So we could still be happy with how we finished, even if we only earned our C goal.

A goal - 1:31:35, sub-7:00 pace.

B goal - 1:34:00, around 7:10 pace.

C goal - beat my PR of 1:35:55.

D goal - do not pass out on the course, haha.

This was a 1500m race. Man those were the most painful. As you can probably tell by this picture.

Here's where you come in!

What would you do? Start out fast? Start out conservative? Any advice from the half-marathon/marathon vets out there?


ambernpayne said...

I'd pray...a lot. Oh, and breathe. :) You'll do awesome, I'm sure! Wish we could go watch -- dumb sinus surgery! :(

Alissa said...

I have the same thoughts in my head, except way slower times. I am going to start out conservative because that is how I roll. I do not want to feel anything like how I felt during the marathon - that was torture. So the first 5 or 6 miles I am going to chill at a slower than race pace goal, then try to keep speeding up. I am really hoping that there are some pace groups :)

Sara said...

@Amber - yes, prayer for sure! It's actually quite relaxing to pray for people while running.. something I try to do but should do more often.

@Alissa - I know you are the queen of negative splits! I hope you have pace groups. Mine has pace groups for the full, not sure where the half splits off whether I would be able to run with them. Also, I just learned last night, that one of the guys I run with (who is running the full) might be shooting for the same pace. So we might start out together. Who knows at this point!

Have Your Way said...

I have only ever ran one race in my life---a 5k(running the Glass City Half in April :D) and let me tell you I pray a lot and I just tell myself that you can do it. I just go slow(like turtle speed) and I get my run done!! You can do it Sara!!

Also, I just saw that you live in OHIO--ME too :D

Jessica @ rerunrunning said...

I'd go out at 7:00 pace for a few miles and then negative split... I think you'll surprise yourself. Your training sounds like it's been a lot better and minutes are nothing at that distance... Go for it! It's funny how you can hold a crazy fast pace for way longer than you think you could when you're racing... The first time I ran the 10k, I was surprised when I came through the 5k only seconds off my 5k pr and still felt fine and hit the same pace for the next 5k... I'd say just go do it! I bet you 10 bucks you can! (And if you don't I guess you'll win 10 bucks off me. :) )

Paige @ Running around Normal said...

So close!! You're going to rock it, girl. Those times are supah fast!

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