Sunday, April 29, 2012

UC Half Marathon Race Report

Half marathon number two is done.  Ran the inaugural University of Charleston Half Marathon this morning.  We'll give this post the subtitle of:

"How not to run a half marathon"

Some things I learned this morning:
  1. I learned that following a training plan and completing long runs is important. 
    I know this sounds like a no-brainer, and I knew it before the race.  I followed a plan fairly strictly for my first half, and ended up finishing faster than my goal. But this time was different. As I went through my training, I started to take it less and less seriously; if it was cold, windy, rainy, or if conditions didn't seem exactly perfect, I would skip a run or shorten it. I fell victim to the thinking of "i've done this before, I can do it again with no problems.  Found that yes, I could do it again, but it certainly wasn't with no problems. 
    Have a training plan, and follow it as best you can. If you wait for conditions to be perfect, you'll never get out the door.  Missing a run here and there isn't a big deal; but you really need to try to follow the plan.  The long runs are the important ones; your body needs them; your mind needs them.  Try not skip them! 
  2. I learned that you really need to run your own race.

    I started with a group of people today and tried to stay with them for the whole race.  And I kept up fine until mile 9.  But at that point, the strain of going faster than I should have sooner than I should have caught up with me, and I started walking more and running less.

    People will pass you; it's a fact.  You need to let them.  Don't let your competitive spirit get you in trouble by forcing you to go too fast too soon for too long, just because you don't want somebody to pass you.  You are racing against yourself; the other runners are just companions on the journey. Let them ebb and flow around as you run your race for yourself.
Despite all of that, I still had a fairly good run.   The course was flat and familiar.  The weather was cool, and thankfully it wasn't raining.  The rain from yesterday and last night left some big puddles to dodge* but nothing that was an issue.  It was a good day; a hard day, but a good one. 

*An observation on one of the differences between trail running and road running - puddles on a road course get skipped, jumped or run around;  Puddles on a trail - you run right through the middle.

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