Monday, May 3, 2010

Last Meaningful Run

Last meaningful run until the marathon, that is. I had my final scheduled double-digit run today. It was originally penciled in as a 12-miler, but I decided to make it a half marathon so I could do a test-run of my marathon, in miniature. It was VERY windy, but the rain held off.

My main concern is finding appropriate paces at different times during the race. My race plan can be summed up in two words: Patient and Conservative. That describes the first half of my race, anyway (I hope). I had a few friends run marathons this past weekend, and while I congratulate them for doing great, the comments I heard most were similar to, "man, I died at mile 18" or "those last 6 miles took forever!", etc. That may happen to me even if I do go out slowly, but I know they WILL happen if I'm NOT patient and conservative for the first half (or longer) of the race.

So, with all that said, here's how I approached today's run, as told by the numbers:

Overall time - 1:45:41 - 8:04 pace
First half - 55:23 - 8:27 pace
2nd half - 50:18 - 7:41 pace

I'm pretty happy with my pacing. My later miles were a little quicker than planned, but it's what my body naturally wanted to run. We'll see if that happens during the race. As I did in this mini-test, I'll take the first few miles very slowly, then gradually pick up the pace. Later in the race, if I've got sub-8's in me, then I'll go for it. I'm also pleased with how my heart rate settled into a nice zone later in the run. Low 140's seem to be pretty sustainable for me for a reasonable distance.

Hydration: I decided to take a drink every half mile. It ended up being a little annoying, but I wanted to make sure I was well hydrated. In the marathon, I'll probably drink once per mile. I took a shot of Hammer Gel at mile 5. In the race, I'm planning on taking a hit every 6 miles.

I weighed myself right before the run. After the run, I peed about 15 oz (don't ask me how I know. Just…trust me). During the run, I drank about 25 oz of weakly mixed Heed. When I got home, I weighed myself again and had lost 2.2 lbs. It was more than I had hoped to lose, but better than the 4.6 lbs I lost after last week's 16-mile run.

My messed-up toe was an issue again. It started feeling uncomfortable at about mile 8. I tried to focus on not pushing off with my toes (while not altering my normal stride), but I'm now convinced that my shoes are the main cause. Sadly, my Brooks Launches (my favorites) may not be my race day shoe. If I don't go with them, it'll have to be my Brooks Defyance 3's, which are a great training shoe, but a bit heavier. I'll bring both to the race and make the call there.

From here on out, every run until the race will be relatively short. I'll still throw in some marathon pace miles, but it's time to let the body fully recover. I'm still feeling a little tired, so I welcome some down time.


  1. You are very well prepared and I'm sure everything will go as planned. You are right, the key is to remain conservative the first half or even the first 20 miles. Enjoy the taper period!

  2. I've heard people say that a marathon is a 20 mile warm-up followed by a 10k race. It looks like you've got your race strategy down pat. Now's the time to get plenty of rest, watch your diet, and stay healthy.

  3. Thanks guys. I hope to have the patience on race day. I know it's easy to get caught up in the excitement. Fortunately, I've been able to start slowly in the last few half marathons I've run, so I'll draw on those experiences to remind me!

  4. you're so close, I am sure you can taste it as much as you can taste the drumsticks.

    when I run marathons, I'll drink every mile too. It works for me and I never feel like I am under hydrated.

  5. Great job on the planning Colin, I am certain you will do well. My planning was not that extensive, I went out pretty quick, trying to stay ahead of the 3:20 pace group. I had the fastest Half at 1:39:39, but it felt good. I was 2:30 at the 30k mark. I think if I went out slower I still would have found resistance at mile 18. I have been thinking to myself; "How do these guys keep the pace into those last 6 miles?" Hope I run into you on Sat.
    -Mike Minea

  6. Thanks Mike. You ran a great race! I don't think I'm as fast as you are. And like I said, even if I go out slower than I think I should, I'll still have that challenge later in the race. I noticed it when I paced my friend for 21 miles of his ultra. Around mile 18, the quads started feeling it and my pace slowed.
    I'll be there Saturday, but just to run a pretty easy 6 w/the 7:00am group.