This Sunday I’m lacing up my shoes to run the Surf City Half Marathon in Huntington Beach. It’s the site of my very first ever half marathon back in 2009 and this will be my third time pounding the pavement along this beautiful stretch of coast.
Last year I posted a 2:06:33, which was a PR for me at the time (I’d break it two months later at the Hollywood Half Marathon and then again at the REVEL Big Cottonwood Half). It’s a fun race with a great “surfboard” medal and a good calorie-deficit primer for all of the Super Bowl chowing to come later in the day.
If you asked me what my gameplan for the race would be six months ago, I’d say this was a no doubt “balls to the wall” PR race attempt.
But times change and instead I’m going to apply a little “strategery” (to quote SNL). You see, here’s my new gameplan for Surf City. I’m going to go slower in order to go faster.
Say what now?
Let me ‘splain.
Surf City is the last race I’ll be doing before the LA Marathon in March. In essence, it’s the “warm-up” or “shakedown” race for that 26.2 mile trek through the City of Angels that I look forward to each year. I should treat it as such.
While I think I’ve got this whole half marathon thing pretty well down (I’d hope I have some notion after doing 36 of ’em). My times for the half marathons have gotten faster over the years and I almost always run a “negative split” (running the second half faster than the first). That’s the telltale sign of a successful race for me.
But after 8 full marathons, I still haven’t quite figured it out. I start out at what I think is a good pace for me. And I inevitably slam into the wall between mile 18-20 and end up dragging myself to the finish. Now while I know the last few miles of a marathon typically aren’t comfortable for anyone, I want to do better. I want to finish stronger. I want a negative split.
And I want to break 5 hours at the LA Marathon this year (and a marathon PR to boot).
Baseball players and football players all have exhibition games to get themselves primed for the regular season. I’m going to employ that method here. Surf City is going to be my “spring training” race. Instead of pushing it, I’m going to play it smart. I am going to run at race pace… just not at half marathon pace (typically sub 10:00 min/mile), but rather at full marathon pace (just under a 11:00 min/mile).
It’ll be hard to hold back (keeping that competitive side of me at bay), but I figure if I can rein things in while in a race environment, I’ll be able to manage my pace better at LA come March.
And by going slower, I’ll finish my full marathon with a faster time. Hopefully my fastest full marathon ever.
Seems logical… at least on paper.
Besides, I’ve got the rest of 2015 to chase a new half marathon PR (and a sub 2-hour time).
I’ll let you know how things go. But no matter what, I plan on a fun race and another bit of surfboard bling.