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FITFOODIE806's Photo FITFOODIE806 Posts: 2,523
9/23/13 1:39 P

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Everyone is different. I like to race and I like to run hard. Someone said they will never win so they want to enjoy it. For me, I do enjoy it when I am push myself. My race pace does not pass the talk test. I don't count breaths so I can't help you there. For a HM, I'd run slower than you think you should for the first mile. Get a little faster for the next 5, push a little more for the next 5 or so. Then pick up the pace again for the last mile. This is an ideal situation: weather is good, I feel good, nutrition is good. Obviously, that doesn't always happen.

I also agree that every race shouldn't be for a PR. Since this is your first, enjoy it! You can focus on beating that time next go around!!

Happy running!

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ZORBS13's Photo ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (251,583)
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9/17/13 10:01 P

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Personally, any race 10K or shorter, I would expect to be dry heaving at the finish or I could have given a bit more.

I've never puked at the finish of any race HM or longer.

Edited by: ZORBS13 at: 9/17/2013 (22:02)
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9/17/13 11:38 A

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For my first HM last November, I added 15min to McMillan's prediction (based on 10k race result). I wanted to finish the half well (without debilitating pain or injury), and I wanted to ENJOY the race so I planned accordingly. I ran conservatively for the first 6 miles, and I ended up 10min faster than my goal with negative splits on the last 5k, felt great the whole time, with no need for extensive recovery afterward. My "Run with the Jets" blog shows how the race didn't go according to my plan at all! :)

My advice is to focus on enjoying the race; you will never have another first HM, so don't set your expectations so high that you have any chance to be disappointed in yourself, this race should be a celebration of your accomplishment and training. A word of caution, in those first few miles the excitement of the race could take you farther/faster than you might expect, it did for me! If you need a goal, see what you can do for the last 3 miles. One of my running buddies refers to the HM as "the hardest 5k ever with a 10-mile warmup!" :)

Good luck with your training and enjoy your race!

Edited by: WINDSURFNERD at: 9/17/2013 (11:51)
A ship in the harbor is safe. But that's not what ships are built for.

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9/16/13 8:50 P

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Great link, thanks! That article was useful, and I've also totally gone down the rabbit hole and am reading tons more on that site. Don't know how I'd never come across it before--lots of good info there!

CD13906636 Posts: 105
9/16/13 11:21 A

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Below is a link to my running coach's article--it is about how to finish fast for the marathon, but you can modify it so that you finish fast for your half--it is definitely something that you need to practice in your training, though.



Edited by: CD13906636 at: 9/16/2013 (11:22)
CD6329775 Posts: 11,207
9/16/13 11:05 A

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I think of myself as slow although I tend to end up in the middle of the pack in my age group.

With that..... at the end of a HM, depending on how you feel, you can push as much as you are willing and able to.

The big warning with longer distances is not to start too fast so that you have no energy at the end. For me, the goal is to be able to finish strong and not drag myself across the finish line. this goal is a work in progress - although I keep trying to perfect each race plan so that the ending is strong.

BTW: Nothing wrong with thinking about running when running!!!! Everyone has an over-thinking balance line.... for some it is low and for others it is very high. If it works for you - awesome!

Edited by: CD6329775 at: 9/16/2013 (11:08)
NANLEYKW's Photo NANLEYKW SparkPoints: (0)
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9/16/13 10:38 A

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Thanks for everyone's input so far!

To answer a couple of questions, I've been running for about a year and a half, so not super long. I've run many 5ks, a 7k, an 8k, and this weekend will be my second 10k.

I'm very much a thinker and an analyzer, so putting this much mental effort into my runs is actually enjoyable to me. (My husband, otoh, would never run again if he had to think like this, so I know my way of doing it is probably kind of weird.) But focusing on my breathing throughout my run puts me into kind of a zen mode, which is very relaxing for me.

I would never be able to go into a race with no expectations. Mind you, my expectations might be pretty basic--for my first 5k, I just wanted to run the whole thing and not finish last. :) But I need to have some sort of goal (and usually a "regular" goal and a stretch goal). For my half, I'm already confident I can run the whole thing, so my basic goal is to finish with a 10:30 pace, and I'd like the McMillan prediction to be my stretch goal if it's even remotely achievable.

I do wear a HRM when I run, but it's mostly for informative purposes after I get back. I don't have my Garmin set to display my current heart rate while I'm running.

So I guess let me rephrase my original question.... How hard are *you* going toward the end of a half-marathon, using whatever method you prefer to gauge your level of effort (HR, talk test, whatever)? And around when do you start pushing to that level?

CD6329775 Posts: 11,207
9/16/13 10:22 A

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Everyone is different....

I don't count my breaths, but I have heard of runners who do.
I watch my heart rate - this indicates how much oxygen my body is needing in order to maintain a pace.

The McMillan calculator predicts a pace for a HM that I have yet to achieve and I have run several. It is a pace for perfect conditions of body, mind, spirit, and race conditions. It is a RACE pace and not just a faster run pace for me.

I would determine a doable pace for 10 miles and then for the last 3.1 see how you feel and speed up if you can.

CD13906636 Posts: 105
9/16/13 9:00 A

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Just my two cents, but if I am having to do that much thinking during a run, than I probably wouldn't be running at all--different distance require different energy systems (5Ks and 10Ks tend to be done using more glycogen--it is the breakdown of glycogen that promotes the increase in carbon dioxide which causes our breathing to become more rapid)--my take--you should build into your pace--start out slowly (so that you utilize more fat) and the last 3-4 miles build into a pace that allows you to use more glycogen.

But know too, that EVERY race does not have to be a PR (race conditions, weather, your health and sleep, etc all have an affect)...for me, going out to race every run for a PR would truly take the joy out of the sport---the BEST races I have ever done is when I enjoyed the view and ran with friend!


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9/16/13 8:52 A

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Not knowing how long you have been running, it is hard to say what your expectations for this event should be.
I don't put a great deal of stock in the pace calculators, because every body is better suited to a different style of running, which means that each body's degradation over distance will be different... so they are at best a general idea. But my half time predicted a full at something just below 5 hours. I was on target for something closer to 6-6:30 until the mental demons attacked. I was slightly embarrassed by all this, but honestly - so many never try, so I am still a winner.

All this to say you should be comfortable while you run for your full distance. I would not try any push prior to the 12 mile mark on a half. This is your race, and do it as you will. But I highly suggest leaving expectations at home. My first half, I expected to do 2:30, my husband expected 2:20, and I did 2:10 (and I held myself back so I could run the whole thing, silly me) - so everything is just speculation on race day - you just never know!

Enjoy your journey! ;)

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TRI_BABE's Photo TRI_BABE Posts: 2,968
9/16/13 8:49 A

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I've not really heard of breath counting before, but if it works for you then use that. Generally people use the talk test, rating of perceived exertion, a heart rate monitor or pace.


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BECKYANNE1's Photo BECKYANNE1 SparkPoints: (301,165)
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9/16/13 7:27 A

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I haven't done a 1/2 yet, but I would think you wouldn't want to push it too hard for your first. I think it's different for a short race like a 5k or even a 10k. You want to finish the race and I agree with Timothy, enjoy it. Good Luck!


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9/15/13 11:44 P

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The gauge I have used it that I want to be able to talk. I am never going to win a race so I better enjoy it while I am doing it.

Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you will be doing the impossible -- St Francis of Assisi

Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon, Dublin, Ireland, 8/5/2013

NANLEYKW's Photo NANLEYKW SparkPoints: (0)
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9/15/13 11:24 P

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Bear with me; this might be a bit of a wordy question. :)

I'm training for my first half-marathon, and based on my most recent 5k pace (8:44/mile), the McMillan calculator says I should expect my time for my half to be 2:07:56 (which is a 9:46 mile). My long runs (just did 12.6 miles this morning) are averaging around 10:30/mile or so. I'm trying not to make that a hard effort, which I generally judge by my breathing. I do the first mile with 5 breaths to each step, second mile with 4 steps to an inhale and 5 to an exhale, and then the rest of the run with 4 breaths to each step. When I ran a 10k last month, at the end of the race, my hardest breathing was 3 breaths to each step. I was pleased with myself that I was able to pass people at the end who were literally panting, but then I realized that maybe if I had let myself work harder, I could have made my sub-60 goal for that 10k.

So that brings me to my question.... Am I not putting forth enough of an effort at the end of a race? Should I be breathing harder? And if so, about how far from the finish should I "turn it up"? It's my first half, so of course any pace will be a PR, but I'd like to do well. It's hard to imagine being able to run a sub-10-minute mile for that distance, but perhaps if I exert more effort, it's not outside the realm of possibility?

Any advice would be much appreciated!

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