How should I tackle a half-marathon on race day?

Rachael's Question

Hi Lee

1st question:
Thanks to my Marathon Guru training plan I am all set for Saturday's Canberra 1/2.

And while I feel good to push along at a good pace I'm not sure how I should approach the actual 21km race.  Some running buddies are saying its good to go out hard get some time int he bank and then enjoy the rest. But I'm not sure and I don't want to tire too quickly, any advice?

2nd question is then about rest between events... if all goes well on Saturday I am thinking about the Sydney 1/2 in about 5 weeks time.

How best do I rest and then train for another event so quickly after the first.

Your expert advice will be welcomed.


Lee's response

Hi Rachael,

Great to hear you are all set for the half this weekend.

Obviously your buddies are not familiar with the tortoise and the hare! Their advice is completely wrong and would see you lose multiple of minutes in the remaining stages of the race due to fatigue/ tiredness.

You have two race plan options:
1)    Go out at race pace and hold it till 15km. If you are feeling great, then try to increase the effort and see if you can run the last 6km faster than race pace. If you are getting tired at 15km, the objective is to try and maintain the pace set. You will find holding the pace hard but much easier than if you went out much faster than race pace and blew up.

2)    Start out a little bit slower than race pace for the first 5 - 10km (maybe 5secs per km). This will mean you are 50secs behind race pace at 10km but after 10km try to increase the pace and with being a little bit fresher from not going out as hard, you may find that towards the end of the race you are running much faster than your prescribed race pace.

With the SMH 1/2 5 weeks after the Canberra one, you are best taking a week to 10 days quite light with rest or very easy jogging so your body can absorb the race and also the training you did prior to the race. Then for the next 2 week you want to do some training that was similar to what you had been doing in your Canberra build up (say longest run 15 - 16km, your favourite quality session) and then in the last week treat it as another taper to freshen up and be ready to race with just light jogging similar to the last week leading into Canberra. You will be fine.