Well, my training has been almost as sporadic as my blog updates….which isn’t a good thing. I have been running the last few months, though not nearly as much (or as fast) as I’d like. Some of my reduced training has been due to work being very busy and hectic for much of the last few months, though that’s not a good excuse because I can always find a half hour or an hour to run if I’m motivated enough.
I’ve gotten back to it over the last few weeks, and am still planning to run the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K this weekend. I’m nowhere near race shape, and I really don’t know what to expect because my mileage has been down this year and I haven’t run more than nine miles at a time since late February. (By the way, my definition of “race shape” is being in a position to run PR pace.) But I’ll be at the starting line this weekend with some sort of decided-at-the-last-minute “A” goal, as well as my “B” goal of just finishing the race. Whatever my “A” goal ends up being, it won’t be anywhere near my half marathon PR pace. I thought about switching to the 5K or 10K, but I really want to run the 25K and my hamstrings have been holding up well enough over the last few weeks…knock on wood. My wife, on the other hand, has been training very well recently with consistent strength, tempo, and long runs. I think she’s prepared to challenge her half marathon PR pace, and hopefully she can beat that pace for the entire 15.5 miles.
I’ve been debating trying a different (for me) approach to this race, and alternating a couple of faster miles with a slower mile throughout the race. “Faster” being relative, of course. That seems to work well when I do intervals and will run, for example, 8 x 800 meters with a 200-meter recovery jog between each 800 rep, or 4 x 1 mile with an 800-meter recovery jog. So why not apply it to a race and run a few miles at a faster pace followed by a mile at a slower pace, and so on? I’ve never tried this in a race, and I don’t know if I would be able to keep it up for more than 15 miles. I’ve never had a problem slowing down during a race…but that has always been unintentional. Will I be able to slow down 30-60 seconds per mile for one out of every two to four miles then pick up the pace again? Will I just get sucked into a slower pace regardless, especially once I get past the 15K mark? Or do I jog the whole thing and just aim to finish regardless of my pace? I’m not sure yet how I’m going to approach this one, and based on my last couple of runs, running many “faster miles” might not be happening anyway.
Regardless of my pace and how I approach running this one, I’m really looking forward to it. I lived in the Grand Rapids area for several years, and I always enjoy getting back over there. This will be my first race in that area, and I’m excited to run along the river and a little bit downtown. That area had some severe flooding in late April, but fortunately the water has receded quite a bit since then and the race course didn’t have to be altered.
Have you ever tried a totally new strategy for the first time in a race (without practicing it first)?
Do you always set goals for races? If so, how do you approach your goal setting if you know you’ll be well off of your PR pace?