If you follow my blog you know that my goal was 1:45:00 or less.
I planned out race morning to make sure my body was nourished and hydrated correctly for a 07:00 AM start. Although, as my wife and I prepared to leave for the race we already knew the weather was not ideal. The organizers of the race were sending communications that the start time “may” be delayed yesterday. But we didn’t know for sure, so I prepared as planned.
I would have much rather they just went ahead and postponed it earlier in the morning, say 4:30 am. I don’t think anyone would have been upset about that at all. We had already been told to check the race social media page on race morning. But alas, no decision had been made by 6:00 AM when we planned to leave the house.
I arrived in downtown Bentonville, AR at around 6:20, found a great parking spot and took a glance at social media to see if a postponement decision had been announced. But, no decision was made until around 6:28. The race had been moved to a 7:30 AM start.
Somehow, this decision to postpone was difficult for them? Probably the city giving them trouble, but who knows. I hope it didn’t have anything to do with some super runner on a committee saying, “we run in the rain”, that wasn’t just rain.
This is only my second time running a half marathon, both times in Bentonville. Last year it was 25 degrees fahrenheit with ice on the road. We all know you are hard core Bentonville, no need to get struck by lightning to prove it. An abundance of caution much earlier in the morning would have been just fine.
I am glad that they finally did postpone the start.
So, I went ahead and drank a little more of my Zippfizz and relaxed in the truck for a while. I knew I would need to hit the restroom again anyway before starting the race. Luckily, we parked at First Baptist Bentonville and they graciously had their gym open for runners to get prepared for the race.
The churches and businesses in downtown Bentonville, along with the volunteers, really help make this race a great experience before and after the race. And the residents that live around the route come out and really cheer on the runners. It is a very enjoyable. There is one particular spot on the route, at the top of “the hill”, where the high school band was playing one of those high energy drum busting songs that get your hype up. I needed that for the last quarter mile for sure.
Well, it was around 6:50 and the rain seemed to just stop. I had stayed in my truck because I didn’t really want to get my shoes wet if I didn’t have too, so I put my race bib on and we went in the gym to use the restroom and stretch.
It was damp and 45 degrees outside when I got to the start line. But it wasn’t raining, and that was something I had prayed for. But the course was very damp. It did start slightly misting when I got to about mile seven until mile eleven, but not bad. Luckily on the race I was able to stay out of puddles until about mile ten, but my right foot wasn’t too wet.
As I went to the start line, I decided I needed to get near the front area of the crowd. I knew that any delays in my pace on mile one could kill my chances of getting to my 1:45 goal. And I was right as you’ll see in my pace chart in the photo gallery. So, my wife took a picture, I kissed her, and headed to the first area of the line.
The first 10 miles of this race had to be ran in a pace that gave me room to be slow on the last 3 miles. You see, the last 3 miles of this race, are all uphill. And in my training, I knew that those last 3 miles were taking me around 0:08:10, 0:08:20 and around 0:10:00.
So my mental math had me needing to be around an average of 0:07:50/mile average on the first 10 miles. I pushed my hard on the downhills and kept myself to stay under 0:07:50 on the flat spots. This put me at an average of around 0:07:41 when I hit mile 10. I had done it!
But, I had not run a full 13.1 miles since last November, when I ran a 1:49. And this was only my third time trying it. So, those last 3 miles, while I had trained on them during my last four long runs, I had not done them after running 10 miles since April 7, 2018. And, I only had a little over 27 minutes to finish. So I basically needed to run an all uphill 5K in less than 27 minutes, after running 10 miles. No biggie.
Here are the results:
Overall, I met all of my goals for this race. Training and mental preparation made it happen. Thank you, Lord, for health, motivation and safety on the journey to reach my goals.
It’s cold today, 38 degrees fahrenheit. But not as cold as the 26 degree start temperature and ice for the actual race last year when I ran my first half at 1:56.
This year’s goal is 1:45. This is an 8 min/mile pace or better for 13.1 miles. So with less than a month left to train, I have to be out running the course on the weekends. I need to learn when to push the pace and be ready for the 4.8% quarter mile hill that is include in mile 13 of the half marathon.
My training route isn’t exactly like the race route. I’m actually trying to trick my body into doing more hill work now than I will on race day. How? Well the Bentonville Half Marathon route includes that 4.8% grade hill on mile 13ish. My training is putting that hill in route with me still having 2 miles remaining on my run. This forces my tired self to try and push pace after the hill for 2 more miles. But on race day I’ll actually do those 2 miles on fairly flat ground before hitting the hill.
I’ve found that after the hill, it takes me about .6 of a mile to get back my breath and get back to a pace near 8:00/mile. But on race day, I’ll be pushing that two miles before the hill and I can put what’s left in the tank on conquering that last mile with the hill.
During the week I’m trying to hit hill repeats on the treadmill with the elevation setting due to the low temps outside lately. But I can’t stand the treadmill. Those session tend to be 5k (3.1 miles) on Tuesday and Thursday. I’ll do that for two more weeks before starting to cut back and prepare my body for race week preps.
Today’s results seem to point to the training plan working as needed.
The weekend before the race I’ll try to hit a fast pace 10 mile run. So I’ll probably do the 5K on Tuesday and just 1 mile on Thursday with cross training on Wednesday on the bike.
The Tuesday before the race would be a 1 mile shake out run. Then short bike on Wednesday, and another 1 mile shake out on Thursday. I’ll also skip leg day on weights on Tuesday of race week. I’ll also skip core exercises on Thursday and Friday.
This will help make sure that the muscles in my legs and core have sufficient energy stored up and ready to use for race day.
When you first start running there are a few things that you will learn fairly quickly. Like, if your hamstring and calf muscles hurt after only a short distance you probably need to actually warm up and do a stretch before you start.
But there are some things that only experience can teach you. I hope this list will help each of you as you start running. Learn from my experience so you don’t have to learn the hard way.
One of the biggest issues I had when I first started running was that I would start out too fast and tired myself out. My muscles and my lungs were not prepared for the fast pace. After I purchased a smart watch that allowed me to track my pace I was able to focus on running a longer duration.
The key starting out is to set a slow pace and just focus on how long you can run. Then build on that over a few weeks.
Once you start hitting a mile without walking, start adding about 10% distance per week. Focus on duration over distance and speed when starting out. A good couch to 5k plan will help.
Then after you reach the ability to Run 3 miles at a slow pace, then start running a little faster pace. If you were running a 12 minute mile speed to Pace up to about an 11.5 minute mile.
Once you can run a 5k at an average pace of under 10 minutes per mile. Then you can start thinking about your goals of increasing your distance or your speed. You will train differently based on your goal.
Pick certain days of the week when you’re going to do your runs then plan your diet based on the days you’re going to run.
Your body will get into a routine of replenishing and rebuilding your muscles if you stay consistent.
I try to run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Tuesday and Thursday are for my short runs where I work on speed. And then Sunday is my long run. I eat my big carb meal on Friday night (which is also date night).
A headband is required if you are running over 2 miles and in temperatures over 60 degrees. Sweat will burn your eyes if you don’t.
Make sure you are wearing athletic socks, otherwise you will get blisters. I still get them occasionally. Don’t be cheap on the socks. Seriously.
Never wear long pants when the temperature is over 50 degrees fahrenheit if you plan to run more than 2 miles.
Never wear long sleeves over 60 degrees.
If you are running in temperatures under 50, wear long pants but thin. And wear two thin layers on top, not one thick layer. One layer should have long sleeves.
If you are running in temperatures under 45 degrees wear gloves and a heatgear type pants. And wear a head band and something around your neck for warmth and to protect your skin.
If you are running in temperatures under 40 degrees, you’ll want to add a third thin layer long sleeve shirt. And add some shorts or leggings to your pants. Put on chap stick and rub Aquaphor or similar product on your cheeks.
I ran my first half-marathon at 27 degrees fahrenheit and I dressed appropriately. But I saw others stripping off heavy sweatshirts. And some holding their non-gloved hands under their arms. At this temperature, wear a second headband over your nose and ears.
Get the Proper Footwear
Running is not the same as walking around the office. Once you start running, you are putting considerably more weight on your feet because of your momentum on foot plant and probably more steps than you usually walk in a day.
If you are going to be serious about running, go to a shoes store that can check your gate and arch for the proper supporting footwear. Preferably a shoe store that has a treadmill and camera set up to do slow motion analysis on your feet as you run. This is usually a free service at top notch running stores.
If you get the correct shoe it can eliminate the foot and shin pain that some people mistake as shin-splints. I can attest to this as can my wife. Don’t be cheap on shoes.
Being hydrated does not happen only on run day. Proper hydration is an every day focus. However hydration for your long run should start two days prior with electrolytes and up to about two hours before your run.
Don’t drink large amounts of liquid within a couple hours before your long runs. If you do, you will have to urinate and that will break your pace and possibly destroy your chance at a Personal Record (PR) time. Believe me. Sips of water are fine, but no gulps.
4–6 x 20 seconds, focus on getting the legs moving a little faster than normal and work on your form
The term means ‘speed play’ in Swedish and is consists of high-energy bursts of running followed by recovery.
Sprint 20 seconds at 80–90% of your highest capacity, followed by running 20 seconds at a slow pace. As you progress start increasing the times to 30 seconds fast and 30 recovery and work your way up to 1-minute for each before going back down.
This workout is one that could be done on a track and will help you get used to longer bursts of speed with a bit less recovery.
Start running on the track and run fast on the straight away and slow on the curves. If you are running on a trail or street, do these in 50 yard intervals.
4. HILL REPEATS
Do this after you have a strong base. The strength that’s gained on hills turns into speed on the flat spots.
Do a 5 – 10 warmup, 6 x 90 seconds moderately hard effort up a moderate grade hill, jog back to the start for recovery between reps and a 5 minute cooldown.