Warning: random pre-race brain spewing ahead.

A typical pre-race conversation between me and the Gypsy Runner:

Me: So, we’re running a race tomorrow.
GR: Yep. What are your thoughts?
Me: Well, I was thinking that A, but then maybe B… and then of course there’s C… [keeps talking for 5 minutes about race strategy and general thoughts.]
GR: [listening patiently]
Me: [finally realizing that I’ve been babbling on for a while]. What about you? What’s your race strategy?
GR: Just to go out and run my best race.
Me: [mix of disbelief and awe]

So, I realize that I’m a little type-A when it comes to races. I like to research the race. A couple of nights ago, I actually took a Google Streetview tour of the Healdsburg Half course. I’ve been going over in my mind what my goals are (I have two), how I’ll feel if I don’t accomplish them (disappointed for one goal, okay for the other), and how much physical suffering I’ll have to endure to accomplish my A-goal (a lot). I’ve thought about how to pace myself, when to fuel, whether to bring my handheld water bottle, and whether to wear my sunglasses, amongst other things.

The reason that I’m so anxious is that my A-goal, which is to run a sub-2 hour half marathon, is doable but it will take A LOT of effort. Like, almost puking my guts out kind of effort. And also smart racing — anything more than 0.05 miles on top of 13.1 and I’m probably screwed. The reason that I think it’s just within reach is because I ran a 10K recently at a 9:03 pace. A sub-2 half would require 9:09. That 10K was a hard effort, but I think I could’ve pushed it just a tad more. (But, this is what I always think after the fact.) There are a couple of advantages of the half marathon over the 10K, however. For one thing, there will be more people, meaning more bodies to keep pace with and to chase after. And two, it’s just one loop, so I won’t have the psychological fatigue of having to run 2 laps (I absolutely detest laps).

My B-goal is to run a PR, which I think is definitely doable. I just have to run under 9:34/mile pace, so I think it’s within reach. I feel like the only question is by how much will I be able to PR?

However, I don’t want to take anything for granted. I might have an off day on Sunday, the weather could turn super hot, or the course could end up being long. Whatever. The biggest thing for me is that it also happens to be my birthday and whatever happens, I’ll be happy to celebrate it by running to the best of my abilities. Cheers!

p.s. If you don’t get the reference to the title, here’s a clip from the original skit:


Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Goals, random
10 comments on “Strategery
  1. XLMIC says:

    Okay…I love making pacing strategeries. I would suggest you go out at 9:20-9:30 and drop the pace a little every 2-3 miles. If you go out too hard, you will implode. Pushing that 9:09 right out of the box when the 9:03 effort was a solid 10K will definitely be a stretch. Going at that pace for more than twice the distance…it’s a big deal. I’m totally not saying you can’t do it, nor am I saying you shouldn’t try. Making really big stretch goals sometimes gets one injured…I’m just not wanting that to happen to you. I have a great negative splitting half marathon pacing plan for a sub-2 time. I’m happy to give it to you if you’re interested 🙂

    • Jen says:

      I think you make a lot of excellent points. Despite my desire to make a concrete plan, my strategery will be to go out at ~9:20 pace and go for negative splits (as you suggested… great minds think alike!). Then I will assess how I feel and see if I’m up for it. I’m not going to kill myself (i.e. risk injury) to get the sub-2, but if I’m feeling it, then I’m going to go for it.

      • Cathryn says:

        I love this post, it’s basically what I’ve been obsessing about all week. I’m thinking first three miles relatively gentle and then notch it up. Alternating fast and slow miles has worked for me during training…I can hold a pace if I know it’s not forever. I like XLMIC’s advice very much though….

  2. leena says:

    Good luck! You’ll do great and all your strategizing will all be forgotten when you are enjoying a nice birthday meal!

  3. Dominick S. says:

    I like the negative splits goal, hold back the horses until the half way point and if you are feeling goop then let em rip! Good luck this weekend and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    PS- I got the title reference…love Will Ferrell

  4. Nicole says:

    I know what you mean – as a planner, it can be hard not to try to think of all the “what ifs”. But whatever happens, a race sounds like a great way to celebrate your birthday. Good luck!

    • Jen says:

      Thanks Nicole! I actually felt so much better after I wrote this post. I’ve decided to just focus on doing my best and enjoying my birthday race.

  5. […] I’ve already had a brain spew about race goals, so I won’t belabor the point. Basically, I wanted to shoot for a sub-2 finish, but would be […]

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4/28/19: London Marathon

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