Race Goals & Strategy

This morning when I was out running along the Virginia Beach boardwalk I spotted a tall strong runner doing some fancy footwork kind of workout on the boardwalk.  As I approached him I turned my head and knew right away he was not the average runner – he was the one and only Ryan Hall!  I was so excited.  I’ve known he was running this race for a while but didn’t expect to see him out in “the real world” like that.  As I ran passed him I seriously considered interrupting him to say hello and tell him how much I admired him, but I chickened out.  In retrospect I was just so annoyed with myself because I’m sure he would have been friendly and maybe even honored but I was too shy.  Besides, I didn’t have my phone to take any pictures or a pen/paper to get an autograph and I was hoping too that I would see him at the race expo later today.  Fail…he was not there when I was.  I’m bummed I missed the opportunity but am still holding out hope that maybe just maybe I will see him again.  For my easy pre-race run tomorrow I will carry my phone just in case!  No more missed opportunities – no more chickening out!

As I get ready for the Virginia Beach Rock n Roll Half Marathon on Sunday, I have lots of things on my mind.  I’m looking forward to this race in a big way.  It is a huge stepping stone for me along the way to MCM and I have a lot of hopes for how it all pans out.  Here’s the thing though – in my heart I know there is only one thing about this race that could truly disappoint me and that is if I don’t do my best, if I give up on myself or let negativity take over.  The time on the clock does matter to me, but not nearly as much as believing in myself does.  Not nearly as much as the importance of giving it all I have. 

Returning to running after baby Gus was born (he is 7 months old today!) has been an incredible journey for me.  It has been full of ups and downs and bumps along the way.  From that first mile on the treadmill when he was 4 weeks old to the 20 miler I completed last weekend, EVERY SINGLE RUN has been an accomplishment for me.  EVERY SINGLE RUN has been a testament to my faith in myself and to my determination to dig deep and give it all I’ve got.  From where I stand, this race on Sunday is like a big reward for all the work I’ve been doing to get to the start line.  I have earned this race. 

So, let’s talk goals and race strategy!

  • Believe in Myself: I said it before and I’ll say it again, I intend to start and finish this race feeling confident in my abilities, believing in myself and giving it all I’ve got.  This race will be a failure in my book if I let negative thoughts and self-doubt take over.  The mental game is serious business and I am prepared to be one positive lady on Sunday.
  • Enjoy the Ride:  It is extremely important to me that I enjoy this race.  I didn’t pay money to go out there and be a grump!  I am not to take myself too seriously on Sunday and while I will be pushing myself and gutting it out, I am going to remember to enjoy it and relish in all that my body is capable of.
  • Run the fastest half marathon I have ever run: Yep, I am aiming to set a new Personal Record on Sunday and a big one at that.  My current HM PR is 1:55:47. My time goal for this race is a 1:44.  Truth be told I will be happy with anything that is sub 1:50 but I’m dreaming big here and that is that.  I’m going for it.

How do I plan to accomplish this last goal?  Well, here is my strategy I have cooked up with the advice of my coach and also a little research.


Do you want to know what my strategy has been in the past?  RUN.  That’s it.  I never really worried about pace, just sorta ran and my splits were usually all over the place but generally even-ish.  I don’t think this worked too well for me so I am going to approach it differently on Sunday.

Miles 1-3: I am going to take it easy here, staying about 20 seconds slower than my goal pace.  This means that for those first three miles I will run around an 8:20 pace.  I really think this is do-able for me.

Miles 4-10: Here I am going to pick up my pace and hold it just under my goal pace, which will be right around 7:50ish.

Miles 11-13.1: The last 5k of the race I am going to see how I am feeling but plan to either hold steady  or pick it up, depending on what I’ve got in me.  I want to completely gut it out for that last mile and especially as the finish line approaches.

Well, that’s it!  Stay tuned for the race report, I really really can’t wait to tell you all about it.  Here’s to a wonderful weekend for all and if you are racing I would love to hear about it!!

7 thoughts on “Race Goals & Strategy

  1. I am so so excited for you! You have an awesome plan and strategy and I know you are going to PR and have an incredible time. Enjoy it and don't forget to SMILE. 🙂 I will be cheering you on from WY and can't wait to hear about it.

    And how awesome that you saw Ryan Hall running! SO COOL! That has to be a good luck omen. 🙂

  2. Have a great time, Jessica. Your plan is really smart and you are going to kill it. And I can totally relate to the idea of not being a grump–I always get preoccupied and forget to enjoy myself.

    I'll be thinking of you on Sunday!

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