Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon #2 Race Day Plan!
I'm racing the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon #2 tomorrow morning and I love, love, love to have a pre-race day plan.
Yesterday I ran 5.5 miles nice and easy. I wanted to do that on Wednesday, but I didn't get to it.
Today I am feeling a bit sick, but hoping to get my carbs in anyway for tomorrow and get some good sleep tonight. But before that, I have to have a plan for tomorrow!
Race time is 7:30, and check-in is at 6:30. However, I will not be checking in until 7, because that's how I roll.
5:00 am: alarm #1
5:08 am: alarm #2
5:15 am: coffee + smoothie
5:45 am: get ready
6:30 am: leave my house
7:00 am: check-in
7:05 am: clif bar
7:30 am: race start!
Shoes: Montrails. I just can't take those Hokas anymore.
Hydration: Aid stations. I'm not bringing my own hydration tomorrow because it's going to about 57 degrees and cloudy (perfect running weather!) and I've been doing a lot of running without hydration. When I ran the GP Half (#1) it was hot out and I drank too much water - meaning I had that water sloshing around near the end which really slowed me down. There are three aid stations, and if I have a cup of water at each I'll be good to go.
Nutrition: Caffeine. I think I'll pop a caffeinated Clif shot at mile 8 and that should be plenty. There's significantly less elevation changes in this race than November, which means less hiking. Less hiking means I won't have that slower pace to actually get a gel down and complementarily that I'll be able to keep my momentum better without a boost. One should be fine.
Race goal: My time goal for this race is 2:14:00. That's an average pace of something like 10:15. Obviously every mile won't be 10:15. My secret to a successful pacing strategy is to follow someone you know will be running the pace you want to run for the race. But since I don't have that for this race, I used someone else's Strava activity from this race last year. I used her run as a gauge of the "effort" for each mile, then arbitrarily added a minute to each of her mile splits because I thought that sounded about right for me. She ran it in 2:01... add 13 minutes and you have me coming in at 2:14. I'll just go for those mile splits. I haven't decided if this is strategy is lazy, obsessive, or just genius. If it works, it will be genius.
Other goals for this race: Don't start feeling sick. I know, who can really control this? I just feel crappy right now. My stomach is in knots for absolutely no reason and I just want it to go away. And have fun. Of course... I don't think I've ever ran a trail race and not felt like it was fun.
Final thoughts: I think I'm okay if it rains. And I can't wait to make my goal time!
It's official: I'm running the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon #2 on March 5. I just registered today and I'm REALLY excited. Maybe too excited. For some reason it feels like a reward to myself for working hard. :)
It's a different course than the Griffith Park Trail Half I ran in November. It's actually the race I volunteered at last year. Ahem, at which I volunteered. I originally, for some unknown reason, thought this course was flatter, but I was mistaken.
I can't be 100% sure this map is accurate... but it appears to be. The first mile and a half are okay and then it really starts to climb and is un-runnable until you reach the top. Fortunately the scenery will be well worth it if it's a clear day, and climbing the "back side" isn't as steep.
Here's the profile for the marathon course, and per the course info, the turn-around for the half is mile 6.5. Looks like a climb, then back down, then a turnaround to climb back up and then down again.
This will definitely be a workout, and something I should sub-train for, but without derailing plans I have for Lincoln training. I need to work in some hills and I kind of toyed with my plan to throw those in for March. But I have three long runs (16, 17, and 18) in the weekends after this one and if I can get to the trails for two of them I will be in good shape. Couldn't hurt to throw in some hiking on non-running days, either.
I really want to do well at this race. I sold myself short in the last one assuming I didn't have a chance at placing. I would like to prove otherwise! I ran November's in 2:23 and that was a good amount of hiking. I would like to break 2:10 on this one, but that will take some hard work in the mean time!
So with this new addition, my race calendar is officially in order up through the Lincoln Marathon. Very cool. I've never raced this much in a "season" so this is something new for me. I'll balance the racing with less intense training. I got injured from overtraining last year, so this time I'll try a little lower day-to-day intensity... and save it for race day. :)
Last iteration of the plan... I hope.
Alternate title: What goes up must come down
There is no short version. You have to work for it.
I REALLY like planning things. I think I am much more likely to do well in a race if I have studied the course and made a race plan. This includes studying the elevation profile and deciding ahead of time when I will walk, when I will take a gel, etc. Mentally, it is far easier to hike quickly up a steep hill if you know when it will end and that there will be a glorious downhill stretch waiting for you.
I did this for my marathon and my ultramarathon and it worked out really well. Granted there isn't a lot of elevation in the LA marathon to worry about, but I still took the time to know ahead of time when I would be running uphill. Whatever I can do to have a better race, I will do.
So I created a race week plan, a race day plan, and a race plan for the Griffith Park Half Marathon I am running in 6 days.
Typically I might not take it so easy before a half marathon, though I wouldn't know since I've never done one before, but I haven't ran 13 miles since February, and I want my ankle to be as rested as possible without getting stiff.
Day Before (Friday):
Day of (Saturday):
Is this too detailed? Too specific? I don't think it is. I think it's just knowing the course and thinking about what I want to do. I've ran a lot of trails just like this one (though never this course) and I can pretty much envision it. I haven't taken a gel since February, but I had some good notes from the last 20-mile training run I did, so I borrowed on that experience. I also know that I like taking gels while I'm hiking up to give it time to settle in my stomach before running down. As you read, I literally thought to take gels at miles 5 and 9.5 before I even looked at the course profile, and that happens to be precisely the mileages for starting climbs.
I'll be interested in how I execute this plan. The hardest thing I think to stick to will be race week meals, drinking enough water all week, and not getting lost on the course ;)
Will definitely update afterwards!
I honestly didn't realize how close it was until I counted for the title of the post.
I registered for the Griffith Park Half Marathon as the first race in my Thirty in my Thirties goal because I volunteered at the Griffith Park Trail Marathon and saw first hand how fun and supportive the race, race director, and runners were at this event. I have been wanting to race (ok, run at all) all summer and I picked this race to get me back into the swing of things now that I am slowly building up mileage again.
I just realized that last week I actually did week two of my training plan, even though this week starting today was supposed to be week 1. It's pretty embarrassing to admit I can't read a calendar. The training plan wasn't for the half marathon. And while I probably should have used a training plan, it's way too late now. It's trails and there's elevation so I will be hiking the uphills anyway. I am more than confident I can go the distance, and I don't even want to think about speed. It's for the experience first and foremost... and serves as a bit of a warm-up for my Thirty in my Thirties.
I have two goals for this race, though. The first is the stretch goal, and that's to finish in 2.5 hours. The second goal is my safety goal- to run it in a sports bra. Yep, I know I know, WTF kind of goal is that? Well, I have never been confident enough to go run in a sports bra. I did it once actually, on the beach, where like other women are wearing way less. And a guy ran backwards talking to me and my sister for like idk, a quarter of a mile until we finally asked him to get lost. I am just not comfortable with eyes on me (whatever the reason) and I just feel like a girl running around without a shirt on draws attention. But at a race, where that's much less likely to happen I think I would feel comfortable. Now just to work on the confidence, and the abs.
So hopefully it's warm enough to warrant such an outfit choice, otherwise I have a third goal to finish without hurting my foot.
Now to the numbers...
Monday: Rest (check)
Tuesday: Woke up at 6am and did fartleks for a little over 5 miles; I pushed pretty hard and it felt amazing, my overall pace including mile warm up, mile cool down: 9:10
Wednesday: Rested my foot and took a walk
Thursday: 6.5 mile pace run - my current "comfortably-hard pace" is 9:50, this would probably be my current marathon pace
Friday: easy 5 miles
Saturday: 60-minute bike ride (aerobic only)
Sunday: 10 miles easy
Oh, yeah, you read that right. I finally got in my first ten-mile run since February. Pace: 12:07. Don't even care. I wasn't tired, I wasn't sore, and my foot didn't hurt the next day. I am loving taking it slow and getting back into it at a level I can tolerate. It makes it so much more enjoyable.
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