Saturday, March 31, 2012

Race Planning

Today marks two weeks until the Martian Half Marathon (April 14, 2012).  Over the past week or two, I have been struggling to decide my "strategy" for the race.  Namely:
  • Aim for a specific time goal and run hard, or take it easy, have fun, and come what may?
  • If I set a goal, what should it be?  Am I even capable of a PR at this point? 
  • Music or no?
  • Garmin or no?
After this week's runs, I've decided I do have a chance at a respectable race and I'm going to go for it.  So here are my goals:
  1. 1:57:46 or better [This is an 8:59 min/mile average pace.  It would be cool to go sub 9:00 for a half]
  2. Less than 1:58:49 [This would be an all-time PR]
  3. 1:59:59 or better [Sub-2:00.  Like the sub-9:00 min/mile goal, this is just a "pretty number" goal]
  4. Less than 2:02:45 [Minimum goal.  This is my "recent history" PR, since I started this running "bout" in May 2010]
  5. Finish...and do better next time!
Number 1 is my unrealistic goal.  I don't expect that to happen this time.  I am hoping to hit at least #3, maybe #2.  So, how am I going to do it?  Run as fast as I can by feel and hope it works out?  Wear my Garmin and try to keep the real-time pace where it needs to be?  Nope, I'm going to try something new (for me) and go with a pace bracelet!  I made a super pimp pace bracelet.  It has all 4 time goals broken up into 1 mile splits.  It's reversible (2 goals on one side, 2 goals on the other). 
 Above shows the "fast side" of the band.

This was supposed to illustrate me flipping it inside out, but it isn't really illustrative.  Sorry.  Blame Jeff.

 And this is the "slow" (comparatively) side of the bracelet.  

I wore it the rest of the day.  To absorb the paces through my skin.  I think it worked.  Just in case, I'll probably wear it tomorrow too. 
So my plan is to only look at the running total time on my Garmin, not the pace, and to only look at the total time at each mile marker (for comparison to my pace band).  To be safe, I'll change the Garmin settings to min/km, or maybe even km/hr to really throw me off, in case I try to cheat and peek at the pace.

I'm going to take the first mile slow, and then try to find a "fast", but maintainable groove for the first half.  Depending on what that pace is, I'll then lock in one of my goals from my pace bracelet (hopefully one of the top 3!), and focus on hanging tough and meeting the splits on the bracelet.

Another first?  I'm planning on going sans-music, for the first time ever at a race.  I've been running without music a lot recently thanks to all the group runs I've been going to.  I'm not afraid of it anymore.  I think it will make it easier for me to focus on my form and my running and to maintain a constant pace (without getting distracted by the music, or having the beat mess up my cadence).  I am going to wear my ipod, just in case, but I'm going to give it a whirl without it.  Regardless, the next step in my race planning is to make my race playlist.  Even if it doesn't get used, it's tradition.  And it's fun.  And if I don't use it I'll still end up with some good songs for my solo runs after the race.

Which reminds me:  thanks to Scott for lots of racing and running tips today (he's a legit runner and I pretend he's my own personal coach), and for the tip on a good running song.  (Neon Trees - Everybody Talks).

Two week countdown.  Go! 

Want to make your own pace band?  I used this website to make each strip, then cut them out and used packing tape to put them together and "laminate" them.  Then I just poked holes in the ends with a pin and threaded a gumband through.  The gumband allows it to stretch to go over your hand, as well as allow you to flip it inside out.  (I intentionally chose to use the word "gumband" because I recently learned that it's a regional thing and some people have never heard of it ever.  Obviously it's a just a "rubber band", but we called it a gumband in PA.  I found out it was regional when I said it once to Jeff and he was like "WTF is a gumband".  He's a born Michigander.)


  1. wowza - that band is cool looking! can't wait to hear how your race goes! :)

  2. What a great plan! I hate watching my pace on my Garmin, so I may do this for my next race.

  3. Still behind. Skimmed this too. But super excited for our race! YAY!!!! (Even though I think I'm still in pain from the last one. Whoops.)

  4. Hey, I usually do this too and I forgot to put it on for the Rock and Roll. I have to remember for my race on Saturday.


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