Bring on Race Pace

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It’s been a few weeks and work/back to school has gotten the better of me.  As I’m preparing for the Happy Girls Half Marathon 1 week (!) from today, I’m reflecting on what I’ve learned about race pace.  In training, anyway; the real learning will come next week 🙂

Race pace: that thing that I forgot about while comfortably running at my new EE (easy effort) pace and EE-2 minutes for speed bursts for most of this heart rate training cycle.

After my first EAT work out I got a brand new, fast-ish race pace to work with.  I tried it out on my long run for my mid-4 miles at RP (9:05), and got a quick reality check.  My body said WTF?  I had a hard time keeping up, so I slowed the pace a bit and used that for the next week of runs.

EAT number 2 produced a more reasonable RP (9:30), yet I still had trouble keeping up with that pace for my mid-8 RP miles on my 3 hour long run.  Yes. 3 hours.  I will give myself a little bit of credit because it was 90% humidity that day, but then again that’s also why I finished the second half inside on the treadmill…

Truth is, race pace seemed so hard, harder than it used to be.  I wondered if I lost my speed.  If I feel like I desperately need a walk break – or two – in an 8 mile segment, how am I going to keep up that pace for 13.1?  Then I remembered to trust the plan and hope (pray?) that in the last four weeks the RP practice and the magic taper are going to do their thing.  Turns out things just clicked a couple weeks before the taper.  I even held my 8 mile RP in the middle of my last 3 hour long run, and felt like I could run a couple more miles.

Gotta love those 5am runs

Gotta love those 5am runs

After the final eat in week 18, Coach MK gave us a formula to help calculate a race plan.  I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve built a plan based on a pace test and how I’ve trained versus an arbitrary number.  More about that in a later post, but suffice to say I’m encouraged by the paces and seeing how a negative split could play out if actually done right.

My Half PR is 2:07 (9:41 pace).  Every race has an A goal, B goal, and often a “secret” goal.  My A goal is to beat my PR and my B goal is to at least match it.  But I secretly want to finish my half sub 2:00.  That’s a 9:09 pace.  As in my original, too hard to keep up for 4 miles pace.  Did I mention this race is half trail?

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