Half Marathon Race Strategy

This Sunday I will be running a half marathon in Tokyo.  My goal for this race is to run around 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Last Friday I ran a 5K race in 18:26.  According to the McMillan Running Calculator, it indicates I’m capable of running a half marathon in 1 hour and 25 minutes.  However, since temperatures are expected to get into the mid to high 70s along with high humidity, trying to achieve this time would be suicidal.  Even 1:30 may be a bit too ambitious and I’ll need to see how I feel once the race begins to determine if this time is achievable.

Since this is a half marathon, I plan to do a minimal warm-up before the race.  Most likely I will warm-up by jogging half a mile and running a couple short sprints.  The distance of a half marathon is pretty forgiving, where you have enough time to make up a slower start later in the race.  To achieve a 1:30 marathon, I will need to average a pace of 6:52/mile (4:16/km).

I am planning to run the first mile around 7:15/mile and then begin working my pace down to sub 7 minutes.  After three miles, hopefully I’ll settle into a steady pace of around 6:50/mile and plan to hold this pace until around mile 10.  I will hedge here by saying if the weather seems is too warm, I will adjust the pace based upon feel – no need to risk blowing up since I’m not going for a PR.  Assuming all is going well at the 10 mile mark, I may pick up the pace a little and try to close out the race strong and reel in a few runners.  I will then give it all I have for the last quarter mile.

I think the key here, especially when running in warmer weather, is that I don’t go out too fast.  This has been a major problem in recent races and I can’t seem to overcome this bad habit.  I don’t know what it is, the adrenaline and excitement of the start seem to just take over and although I know I’m going to later pay for starting off too fast, it just doesn’t register until it is too late.  I’ll try and be conscious this Sunday of starting off at a moderate pace and hopefully I’ll postpone the pain until the very end of the race instead of at the halfway point.

Other than making sure I control the pace the first half of the race, I’ll concentrate on staying relaxed and hydrated.  I’m in peak condition physically and have no nagging injuries or pain.  I’ve been getting adequate rest and have eaten a clean diet all week, so hopefully the body will respond.

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About runninginspired

I’m in my mid-40s and have been running for about 19 years. I have finished 24 marathons with a personal best time of 3:04. I currently reside in San Diego, CA. I enjoy running since it keeps you honest and will give back what you put into it. Work hard, but smart, and good results will eventually follow. I like to experiment with training plans, gadgets, shoes, and nutrition to find what works for me. The primary purpose of this blog is to document my training and thoughts about running in my ongoing quest to improve my fitness and health.
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One Response to Half Marathon Race Strategy

  1. Pingback: Race Report: Munazuki Tokyo Kita (Half) Marathon | Running Inspired Blog

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