Saturday, April 22, 2017

My 2017 Illinois Half-Marathon Race Analysis

I ran the Illinois Half-Marathon this morning. I finished in 1:36:50. Not what I planned. I was shooting for a 1:35 (or better). The temperatures were great (42-45F), but there were pretty strong winds (10-20mph). The winds were annoying, but that's not what slowed me.

I was ill-prepared for this race. I'm an ultra runner. I can run long and slow. Not short and fast. Yes, 13.1 miles is short. I rarely run 5Ks, 10Ks, or half-marathons. I don't have the pacing and discipline to run them efficiently. I don't have the experience. Today, my legs gave out around 7 miles. Felt like "the wall"--but I couldn't be glycogen depleted so quickly. I'm sure it was related to running too fast and not being trained for fast road running. I was toast. Maybe extra calories would have helped, but I also need better training and more racing at distances from 5K to half-marathons.

For next time (yes, there will be a next time), I need to do more long steady-state tempo runs (5-8 miles), regular tempo runs (3-4 miles), and tempo intervals (4-8 x 1 mile repeats). And more long runs (10-15 miles). It would help to get in a few 5K races too. I need to feel comfortable with speed. Road speed. Maybe an extra gel will help on race day. Plus consistent and disciplined pacing from start to finish. I'll be back next April for another attempt at a fast half-marathon. I know I can run 1:35. Probably 1:34. Maybe 1:33. Instead of trail ultras, maybe I should specialize in road half-marathons? No, that would just be crazy!

A big thank you to the race staff and volunteers (especially the KRR buffalo aid station). It was a very well-organized event. I'll be back in 2018. And I'll be ready.

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