You have another month of training before the First Half Half Marathon. There is enough time to run two more longer runs before the race to be ready for a successful race. Our current schedule calls for an 18 km run and a 20 km run to improve aerobic endurance.
It’s a little early to taper back on your training though the long runs will be getting shorter as race day approaches. You can be ready by rehearsing what you do on the few days leading up to the race and on race day. The best opportunity to rehearse is on your long aerobic endurance runs. There are a few essentials to practice:
Your Fueling Strategy Is Key
1) Food and drink- what will you eat before the race? How will you carbo load? Though you have just completed your longest run you can continue to practice carbo loading for the remaining runs. To carbo load you need to eat twice as much as usual for two or three days.
2) Using supplementary sources of fuel- You can take gels and chews during a race and you need to get used to them in advance of the race. Try out which ones work for you that limit GI issues. There are limits to the number of gels and chews you can take during a race as your stomach can only absorb so much sugar and salt while running. Gels and chews are a good supplement to keep you energized but they are not a substitute for fuel/carbo loading for several days before a race.
Footwear and Clothing
3) Footwear – If your shoes are worn out and you want to break in a new pair there is enough time before the race. You have two more long runs on the schedule that will allow you to break in your shoes. A new pair of shoes could give you blisters during a marathon if they are not broken in; get them ready before you race.
4) Race clothing – Are you going to race in shorts or tights? Will you run in a long sleeve shirt, t-shirt or singlet, hat and gloves? Your decision will depend on the weather and be ready for all conditions. Practice running in your race outfit a few times to ensure it is comfortable and there are no chafing issues.
Goal Race Speed and Pacing
5) Goal race pace – At this point you should have and idea of how fast you want to race. You goal time should be based on your current fitness and how well you have been training. Your goal time should be challenging but achievable.
6) Pacing – On race day you don’t want to start out too fast as you will start to pay for it around 15km in a half marathon. It’s easy to get caught up at the start in the rush of the crowd. It’s much easier to start our no faster than 5 seconds per km faster than your goal pace because you will have something left in the final few kilometers and that can make huge difference on how fast you finish.
Finally, two weeks before the First Half marathon you will want to consider your taper. As you are reducing your long run distances you can work on other running zones to improve your race time. You can boost your fitness by pushing the pace on your tempo and speed workouts over the next two weeks. Be careful not to push the pace too fast and build up too much fatigue but you can step up the pace a bit and take advantage of your high level of aerobic fitness.
All the best in the final few weeks of you training and i wish you a speed race!