Monday, 26 April 2010

What Race Pace?!

I’ve been taking everything a bit serious of late. My training is going well and I ran a total of 34 miles last week. I am now going to decrease my mileage for the Leeds Half. Time to taper. I did a couple of proper hill sessions last week as well. All in all, I feel bloody marvellous and a bit smug that (fingers crossed) everything is going so well.

However, something has been weighing on my mind. When I entered the Leeds Half I decided that my race pace would be about 10 minute miles. This is my first ever race and I have no idea what my race pace for this distance should be. 10 minute miles seemed appropriate for someone who had just started running and just stopped smoking. However, over the last month I got the mad notion in my head that I wanted to complete the half marathon in less than two hours. This would mean more like nine minute miles. I have my doubts that this is even possible for me over 13.1 miles. I don’t want to run my first race and be disappointed with my time.

I need to readjust my goals so that I challenge myself but also enjoy the experience. I am bored of constantly checking my pace and worrying that I’m not quick enough to break two hours. There will be plenty of other races to chase times and PBs. I have to remember that the main goal is to get round and to get round without walking too much. My secondary goal is to finish within 10 minutes of two hours. The faster the better but there’s no pressure to achieve any time. It’s all got a bit serious with speed and hill training. I am still building up a base of fitness and have forgotten that it is the time on my feet which counts most of all at the moment. Fitness comes before speed.

I have to remember that my goal is to run an ultra-marathon next year and not to become super quick at the shorter distances! Distance is the key then the speed will take care of itself. Given the progress I have made in the last three months it will be interesting to see what I can do by the end of the year.

One of the key aspects of training that I have struggled with is nutrition. My running sessions have given me a tremendous appetite which makes it all too easy to indulge in fatty and sugary foods. I have kept my calorie intake at a reasonably constant and low level and have seen the results on my physique. However, I do not eat enough of the right sort of calories. I feel that it is necessary to set up some guidelines that will help me to eat more healthily whilst still making sure I have the energy to run.

These are some criteria for a more healthy diet. Check that the food is either a carbohydrate (the more complex the better); fish or lean meat; fruit or vegetable; or a combination of these. After this, check that the food is low fat and/or low sugar. Finally, make sure that the portion size is not too large (around 300-400 calories). If I think about these points before every meal I should be able to up my intake of fruit and veg whilst lowering my sugar and fat consumption. Let’s see how it goes.

All in all I feel my training is going well and I particularly enjoy the longer distances. I need to be careful not to get caught up in the pace statistics of my training. I am after all, a newbie in the running world. Speed-work will come into play after I have established a proper base of fitness. More than anything, I am going to try and enjoy my half marathon.


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