14 weeks of training will finally come to it’s completion in 2 days. I’m nervous and excited, but most of all, just ready to get it done. It probably doesn’t help that the closer I get to a race, the more I chicken out and want to throw all my goals out the window and just “run for fun”. But, that’s not what 14 weeks of training is about.
I had a goal in mind from the beginning. However, that 1:30 half marathon has seemed pretty lofty from the beginning. Not that I don’t think I’ll ever achieve a sub-1:30 half, but I’m not sure this is my time. I’ve barely hit a sub-7:00 on any training run or race, let alone anything of any distance, so I’m a little nervous to make that my #1 goal and be completely disappointed.
So, the 1:30 is still the bucket list goal, but if I don’t hit it this race, it’s just something else to work for in the future. Instead, I’m looking at another sub-1:40 half marathon. I ran Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago this summer in 1:47:03, a little off my goal of 1:45, but I was riddled with injuries and just wasn’t on my game. But, I feel that my training this time around is definitely putting that 1:40 achievable. It won’t be a PR, but I will definitely be happy with that.
But, then it comes down to the how. Now that I’m trained, how will I be able to actually run a sub-1:40? I recently listened to a Coach Jenny Hadfield podcast, specifically because she was talking about how to run your best half marathon. Coach Jenny suggests “running by color” and implements a 3-color system:
Yellow = conversation pace
Orange = can still talk, but have to take a breath after a few words
Red = leave nothing left in the tank
I’ve actually used this color system in training runs with my 7th + 8th grade track kids. Yellow is an easy run, orange is what we run for repeats + intervals, and red is race pace. This totally worked for them because they could actually visualize what I was talking about. If they ever feel like they are running at an orange pace during a race, they’re not quite running hard enough.
My last 2 long runs, I’ve tried to incorporate this technique. I spent all 14 weeks running mostly for time, especially for my long runs. Two weeks ago, I did a 90 minute run. I ran the first 45 minutes at a yellow pace, then spent 30 minutes at orange, and the last 15 at red. Last weekend, I did a 75 minute run, but changed it up from the previous week. For my 75 minute run, I decided to make it a negative split run, by running out in 38 minutes and back in 37 minutes. It’s not much harder, but it at least makes you speed up the pace a little bit.
My goal for the half marathon is very similar and I am going to try to attempt to run it according to the “Coach Jenny Method.” My plan is to run at a yellow pace for the first 7-8 miles, an orange pace for 3 miles, and a red pace for the last 2. I also don’t plan on looking at my watch at all either. I want to run by feel as much as possible and don’t want to rely on my splits to keep my pace.
Thankfully, the weather should be exactly like I trained in: 40-50 degrees with a light wind. Let’s just hope my body decides to do what it knows how to do!
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