My first half marathon

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  robrunrob 11 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #7381

    I will be running the Rock n Roll half marathon in Nashville on Saturday and way over estimated how long it will take me to run it and have been placed in one of the last corrals.  What is the protocol for that – can I move up to a different corral?  Thanks for your help.

  • #25047

    Since your time will be your net time based upon your chip one of the better things to do would be to find a location along the outer edge of the coral and as they begin to compress the corals just before the start move up best you can before the start. At the start as the crowd thins you'll be able to get into your pace.  Best of luck and be sure to have fun and enjoy, since we all work hard to get to race day. Ski 

  • #25048


    Actually, for a first half, it may not be a bad thing to start a little further back. A lot of first timers get a little too excited and start too fast. You're better off starting slower than expected and working your way up.

    I'd suggest getting to the start area a little early so you can get to the front of your corral. Depending on the race, jumping corrals is something that one might be able to get away with (thought I doubt so at an RnR event – they run a pretty tight ship) but is frowned upon because it usually results in causing traffic issues due to people getting in over their head and causing all kinds of issues, for both themselves and those who they are jumping in front of.

  • #25049

    another 'trick' might be to carry a small (disposable) water bottle and skip the first water station… since the first part of the race will be the most crowded & the first water stop probably a zoo, swing wide of it and avoid the crashes with people stopping suddenly… by carrying a small bottle you'll ensure hydration if the day is hot and by the second water station (maybe mile 4?)you should have moved up a bit and the crowds might have thinned out enough for the water stations to be easier to deal with… I would say just SKIP the first water station but if you have one of those HOT days even one skip could make you miserable…

    good luck and have fun, I think the half is a perfect distance, long enough to know you've run and short enough so you won't be miserable the next day…

  • #25050

    Thanks so much for your help and advice to get to the front of my corral and to carry a water bottle and thus bypass the first water station.  I will implement both and am looking forward to a great race day!

  • #25051

    It was no big deal to change corrals on Friday at registration for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Nashville.  I moved up to corral 11 and brought my water bottle with some electrolytes.  The weather was absolutely great with the rain ending about the time of the race, which left a nice cloud cover, cool weather and a breeze.  I ran about a 10″ mile and felt great the last 3 miles to speed things up and came in at 2:07.  I appreciated the help I received from this forum.

  • #25052

    well done.  i was glad to see the weather break at surise too, except i wasnt running, I was sitting out in the woods trying unsuccessfully to call in a turkey.  😛

  • #25053


    That's good that you got yourself into the right corral for your goal and that you could do so at registration. Whatever system they have, it could probably save some headaches for everyone involved if other races allowed similar adjustments.

    It sounds like you're happy with how the half went. Congratulations on your first. It sounds like sub-2:00 is just around the corner.

  • #25054

    Nice job. It's great to see all the hard work pay off for you. Also glad to see that the weather changed for you. Ski 

  • #25055

    Thanks for the encouragement for the sub 2:00 – that was my thought right after I finished –  I've got to get it under 2 hours.  Since I am new to running, I will read up on how to incorporate speed work outs and what I need to do to increase my tempo.
    Any suggestions?

  • #25056

    Hill work and fartlek are my first thoughts. 

    If you can find a hill that takes anywhere from 1-3 minutes to climb, run hard up it and easy back down.  Or maybe you have a course that incorporates 3 or 4 climbs that you can push the pace on, building strength.

    Fartlek would be a good way to ease into some faster pace training.  Basically you can take a normal everyday run and put in short bursts of harder running.  Maybe you have 30 minutes planned: warmup for 10, throw in 3-4 2 minute surges followed by 2 minutes easy and then warmdown.

    To run faster, you have to get out and train faster.  But you don't have to do all your miles faster.  Just some of them, and really not that many of them.  I would say at least 70-75% of your miles should be easy and comfortable.  If you want to push it on some shorter stuff, great, but ease into it and listen to your body.

  • #25057


    Rob brought up two great ways to transition into speedwork. Hills and fartlek are two great places to start.

    Also, I would remind you that you're talking about a distance race that is more about endurance than speed. Think of the speedwork as the icing on the cake. You can't run your best without it but you can't run well without a solid base under the speedwork. Don't forget to continue replenishing that base.

  • #25058

    Normally I run with others who run about a 9:45 minute mile.  On Saturday I ended up running with some faster runners – so (with one walk break) I ran a 10K in 53:07 and the last mile was at 8:29 – of course I was really pushed as it averaged about a 8:40 mile – but felt OK after the run and just a little sore.  I am not sure what to make of this – except it is good to run with people who challenge you.  Should I try to consistently run a faster pace or just once in a while???  Thanks again for your help.

  • #25059


    I would say just once in a while. You don't want to push yourself to that point day in, day out. Once a week, if not less frequently depending on where you are in your training, should be sufficient for that kind of effort.

    It's not a bad thing to occasionally challenge yourself with the pace like you did but you still need to log the miles and pushing the pace like that can come at the cost of those miles you need.

  • #25060

    I know that most will disagree with this, but I try to run harder paces at least 4 times a week (sometimes more). Don't get me wrong, you need to have a couple easy days, but I do not believe that your long runs or base building runs should be done at an easy pace. By this I mean, the pace should fall short of tempo/progression work but working significantly harder than an easy pace as well – you should be breathing pretty good and it should feel challenging the entire time. 

  • #25061


    I know that most will disagree with this, but I try to run harder paces at least 4 times a week (sometimes more). Don't get me wrong, you need to have a couple easy days, but I do not believe that your long runs or base building runs should be done at an easy pace. By this I mean, the pace should fall short of tempo/progression work but working significantly harder than an easy pace as well – you should be breathing pretty good and it should feel challenging the entire time. 

    I guess it depends on how you define easy. If you define easy as just going out for a pleasant jog, I would definitely agree with you. If you define easy as running at a pace where you finish feeling tired but thinking you had a couple more miles in you, then I'd say going faster than that definition of easy on a regular basis might be a bit much. In the end, I found no better definition for a good base pace than what was described in the Lydiard Clinic:

    The conditioning phase of Lydiard training stresses exercising aerobically to increase your Steady State as high as possible given your particular situation. For best results, you should exercise between 70 and 100 of your maximum aerobic effort. This, therefore, is not Long Slow Distance. This is running at a good effort and finishing each run feeling pleasantly tired. You will certainly benefit from running slower, but it will take much longer than if you ran at a good aerobic pace.

    Key words being “pleasantly tired”. I wouldn't go so fast that I was sore later in the day or the next day more than once a week (I'd probably do it even less) when building base or on anything but hard days when in later phases of training but I also wouldn't spend a whole lot of time just jogging around casually at any point.

  • #25062

    Yes, I would agree with that definition of “pleasantly tired” as a good rule of measurement for my base building runs. Often times my easy runs are only 15 – 20 sec's off of my tempo pace. I guess that I don't like to drop my pace too much on those alternate days was what I meant. I think a lot of people drop by a minute or more on those days.

    Also, as was posed earlier, I think working out with people faster than you (so long as you can manage the pace without feeling completely depleted) will do nothing but help. Not only on the physical side, but more importantly will assist with the mental barriers of ones own capabilities.

  • #25063

    “Assisting with the mental barriers of ones own capabilities,” and overcoming them, is so huge.  Sometimes we have no idea what we are capable of until we go out, push our limits, and find out.  Once we go somewhere we've never been, whether it be a distance or a speed, it is so much easier to get back there.

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