Half-marathon training: Race Strategy, or, I *may* be overthinking this

Pace chartAfter 18 weeks of half-marathon training, using the Hanson Half Marathon program (ebook here), the targeted half marathon (the San Antonio RnR Half) is tomorrow. During training, my targeted race pace has been to finish in under 1:50 (my previous best is a 1:52). At a steady pace, this would be about an 8:23 pace.

Steady paces are not negative splits, though. All the folks I’ve spoken with, all the material I’ve read about half-marathon training or any other running, talk about negative splits as the strategy for setting PRs. The theory behind it is to do the first half so that you have gas in the tank for the last half. The Hanson’s program talks a lot about training you to “run tired” which would tend to lend itself to negative splits.

With this in mind, several strategies are possible:

  • 1st half of race at 8:28ish, last half at 8:18ish.
  • steady pace of 8:23ish
  • the “trust your training” and check at 10 miles strategy

This last one is from my brother, and it makes sense: if you’ve been training your body for 18 weeks (longer for me) to run at a certain pace, just get into that rhythm, check at halfway and at ten miles, then push it for the last 5k/3miles.

As long as I am near 55 minutes halfway and just under 84 minutes at ten miles, this strategy will work.

As far as other race day planning, unlike the last two SA Halfs I’ve run, we will not be experience the thrill of driving to the event from my mom’s house north of town. Not only is this a royal pain, but it is too hectic and taxing; when I’ve had my best times, I’ve gotten a hotel room close to the start line and walked over. It’s quite a bit more calming. I used one of my free nights to get us a hotel within a mile.

Weather is shaping up to be near perfect – low 50s, low humidity, small chance of rain. It may not be cool enough for me to wear my special PACKERS running outfit (the receivers gloves make it sharp), but we will see.

The race has one hill, a hill I am quite familiar with as it goes up to my alma mater, Trinity University. I drove up that hill many times, and it is a steep sucker. But the downhill slope on the other side will be nice. Short stride up, longer stride down.

I’ve been getting into the habit of eating the same meal before runs to get my stomach used to it: a scoop of peanut butter and a yogurt (plus coffee, of course). We’ll match that pre-race tomorrow.

Thanks to all who have sent in support through this blog or various other social media. All that’s left is the race…and the next one…and the next one…

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2 Responses

  1. Sarah Brown says:

    Go get ’em, Larry! Have a great run and remember to have some fun while you’re at it!

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