What? Another half marathon post? I know, but I wanted to do some reflections on my training and my emotional experience and since this blog is mostly for me anyone reading will just have to deal :)
But look! You also get my official race photos!
First, my training. In my original plan I planned on running three days/week, cross training one day, and strength training on another. Giving myself 1 day for rest and a flex day when I could cross train or rest depending on how I felt.
I think running three times/week was perfect. Given my injuries I don’t think my body could have handled running more and, even though I don’t think it’s the ideal plan, it worked for me.
In the original plan I had myself increasing gradually with two “shorter” runs during the week and one “longer” run on weekends. I had planned on completing 224.1 miles overall, however I only ran 160.24 miles overall.
Again, I don’t think this is ideal but given my foot injury, my ongoing ankle problems, crappy weather, and recovery time since my body wasn’t used to the longer runs, I think I did the best I could.
Two things that I’m definitely going to incorporate into my next half marathon training plan (stay tuned for that tomorrow!) is speed and hill work. I think speed work will definitely make me faster and I finally feel confident enough in my body to ease into it.
As for hills I think that’s something I lucked out on. The half marathon course had virtually no hills, but the same can’t be said for my second half. Luckily the second half will be in Prospect Park, which is where I normally run. It’s also where I ran my 10-mile race back in February and I definitely felt my lack of hill training there.
So, takeaway from training: I did the best I could given my body, the time, and the elements. But I definitely found ways to improve for next time.
Second, race day. I had run other races before, but I wasn’t quite sure how to prepare for a race this long. Luckily I had my dad to pick me up and take me there, but we got there so early (for parking reasons) that I had to worry about making sure I used the bathroom and got enough food close to race time.
Bathroom lines you can’t control, I went to the bathroom several times before the race as my nerves often manifest themselves in having to pee. Not ideal, but what am I going to do?
For food I think I did the smart thing, I had my toast with almond butter and Emergen-C for breakfast at home and then I brought half a Clif bar to eat with me about half an hour before the race. I frequently eat half of a Clif bar before working out so I knew my stomach would be fine.
As for during the race nutrition I think I could improve that aspect. I brought Sharkies with me and I had 4 at mile 4, 4 at mile 8, 4 at mile 10, and 4 at mile 12. I probably stopped for either water or Gatorade 5-6 times, but I only took a few sips each time.
I hate stopping for a drink, it slows me down and I can’t drink while running (or I can but I spill Gatorade all over myself). I also the ingredients in Gatorade and how it tastes (besides my true love red Gatorade, but still, I’d rather not drink it). But I definitely need to drink in a long race. Even with my drink stops I could feel myself getting dehydrated. For that reason I think I’m going to have to invest in a Camelbak and fill it with really watered down red Gatorade, coconut water, or some other sugary/energy-giving substance.
After the race I grabbed a bagel with cream cheese, a banana, and an apple. I think those were great choices. The carb, the fat, and the fruit. I would have loved some protein, but I had to take what was available.
So, the takeaway from my before, during, and after preparation. Take in more calories and/or fluids during the race and hope they have some protein-containing options after the race.
- My father is a machine. The man had 4 slices of greasy pizza for dinner on Friday, a bowl cereal (with cow’s milk) for breakfast on Saturday around 5am, didn’t plan on eating anything before the race but I made him eat a pack of Sharkies, and didn’t stop for a single drink. How is that possible?!?! Although when I saw him in the food line he was really pale and looked like he was about to pass out, so I gave him the rest of my Sharkies and he was fine.
- I think in the future it’s better to run alone. I told my father the pace I wanted to run, but he still insteaded on going faster and then kept looking back at me. I would have rather he just went ahead (which I told him) rather than feeling like I had to keep up with him. He also likes to weave in and out of people a lot at the beginning which I think is wasted energy.