This post is going to tell you how to PR a half marathon.
Okay, so maybe that is an exaggeration, but I read somewhere that blogs should have an "eye catching" opening phrase. How'd I do?
Palm Coast Half Marathon. Thank you so much for all the congrats and "virtual high 5's". If you're a runner then you know how it feels to finally reach that "dream big" goal.
disappointment after the Women's Half. Yesterday's race was my "perfect storm". Great weather, fast, flat course, and body that was ready to run. I know that won't happen every race and I'm soaking in the achievement.
So what was different this time? Here are the lessons from my running experience as a runner and race announcer on what it takes to PR.
How to PR a Half Marathon:
1. Follow a Training Plan
- Before every major race I get out my calendar and I write down my training plan. I mark the days of my long runs and what my speed work will be for each week.
- Actually do the training. Doing the training runs not only helps put the miles on your body, but it helps mentally. Your brain remembers the struggles of past long runs and your mind believes you can complete the distance.
- For the St. Pete Women's Half I used my sub-2 training plan. Since it was 6 weeks between the two races I brought my mileage back up from 7-10 adding a mile each week and did 1 repeat 400/800 training session per week.
2. Use a Pacer
- Could I have PR'd without Kelsey pacing me? Sure, but having her there was an invaluable insurance policy. I knew she'd keep me on track if I needed to speed up AND I knew that she wouldn't let me quit. Our minds play games. My brain likes to tell me to "quit" and sometimes I listen. I knew Kelsey knew I could do this. I knew she knew how much it meant to me and I knew she'd yell if I tried to give up.
- Many larger races have pacers for certain time goals. I have never run with one, however I know people who have found success that that strategy. You let them set the pace and you just run. You can also distract yourself by looking at the balloons they carry.
3. Start slow
- Before the race I looked over the splits of my past half marathons. I saw how close I was when I started slow and I saw how much I crashed and burned when I started too fast. Don't "panic" about banking time. Consistency will get you there. My plan was to hold for 6 miles and then evaluate. We were good so I said I would re-evaluate at 8. I was still good, so I sped up a little. At 10 I knew I had the PR and I pushed what I could.
- Nothing educates you like failure. Every step of those 13.1 miles I remembered what it felt like to miss a sub-2 half marathon by 30 seconds. I knew what it felt like to tell my mom, my husband, and my readers that I didn't make it. I was ready to shine. I was ready to "fist pump". Failure reminds us of the sweetness of victory.
5. Remember Your Running Fundamentals
- You will never PR if your pre-race fundamentals aren't in place. Eat, hydrate, and for goodness sake don't take cold/allergy medicine before you run.
I get to run for fun again. Every half marathon for the past year has been all about the "sub 2". That was the marker by which everything was judged. Now I can toe the line and enjoy what the race gives me. I may have another goal in the future, but for now I want to run and enjoy that I can run. I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to keep my "speed" up. I'd like to run a timed 5k and improve my time.
I also "think" I'm doing a sprint triathlon this year. Advice on training is welcome. I won a sprint triathlon entry on a blog last year and the race director didn't get in contact with me in time to run on 2012, so maybe it will happen this year.
Here are some other races I've got my eye on:
- Sarasota Half Marathon
- Savannah Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon
- Danskin Women's Triathlon
- Gate River Run
- 5k in Orlando (that I don't announce)
- Any suggestions?
Thank you again for all the support. If you have any running related questions please email me any time.
Love and breakthroughs,
Carissa & Kyle
Related Post - How to do a Tempo Run