Friday, November 8

Houston Marathon: Week 4

Week 4 Primary Focus:           Strength & Endurance, Training Race
Longest Run To-Date:             9.3mi



Two of the three runs this week were my longest runs to-date. The first was a 75min zone 2 run, and the second was a 15K (9.3mi) training race. Compared to the previous weeks, I really increased my volume (mileage). At the end of the week I knew I had made substantial progress since documenting my baseline almost a month ago, but that I've still got a ways to go.

Training Races

I'm a major proponent of training races, which are nothing more than prescribed workouts within organized events. Put another way, it's an actual race you register for and run, it's just not the exact one you're training for. Training races are great to practice pre-race rituals such as sleep, nutrition and warm-up. It's also a good run-through of race-day logistics such as bib pick-up, parking, etc. Essentially, training races mimic your actual "A" race (which is the Houston Marathon for me) without the same type of pressure to perform. 

Halloween Hustle 15K


My first training race, or "Houston dress rehearsal" if you will, was the Halloween Hustle 15K in a Dallas suburb called McKinney. It was a very small race, a couple of hundred people at most.

The day before the race I made sure to stay off my feet as much as possible. I continued my Paleo way of eating, but scaled my carbohydrates up. This simply means I consumed a higher proportion of carbohydrate than normal by eating more sweet potatoes, vegetables and fruit. (For the reason why, see "The Chicago Bonk" section in this post.) I also made sure to stay hydrated with plenty of water and electrolytes [by way of an occasional Nuun tablet]. I was in bed at an early hour to ensure ample amount of sleep.

My alarm went off at 5:45a on race morning. The race started at 8:00a and I needed to be sure to eat my pre-race meal exactly two hours prior. This gives my body ample time to digest. I had a fruit smoothie that contained two raw eggs (mostly carbohydrates with some protein and a little fat). 20min prior to the race I started warming up. I did some light jogging with a few bursts of speed, along with some run drills to get loose and practice form.

At 8:00a the gun went off and the race started. My strategy was to run the first 5K at an 8:00min/mi, the second at 7:30min/mi and the last at a 7:00min/mi. This is what many refer to as "negative splits" or "building"; this simply means to increase the pace as time goes on. Like most runners, I started off too fast. Adrenaline and excitement got the best of me. I acknowledged it, however, and made the correction. After the first 5K I sped up to what was supposed to be a 7:30min/mi. Instead, I averaged about a 7:13min/mi. The last 5K I sped up again to what was supposed to be a 7:00min/mi. Instead, I averaged a 6:39min/mi. 

For the full 15K (9.3mi) I ended up averaging a 7:10min/mi, which was too fast. The good news was that I was able to negative split the 5K's, but the bad news is that I really need to work on my pacing. I was able to get away with running too fast for 9mi, but virtually tripling that distance for a marathon (26.2mi) I won't be so lucky.

Back to the Houston Marathon home page.

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