This past November, I had the best race ever at the Richmond Half Marathon. It was so good, I did not want to try to replicate the feeling when I ran the New Orleans. I was still riding the race high, and wanted to relish it a bit longer. Honestly, I didn’t want to put in the work, but I knew I still wanted a challenge and have fun.
I got to the start line in NOLA and came up with my plan: Even Splits.
Over the winter, I had been running MP with Jen so the pace I was aiming for was well within my wheelhouse. The trick was not to go out too fast and HOLD STEADY. It’s fine line to make your goal hard enough that you want to achieve it versus sandbagging the first mile and lollygagging through the race.
My goal was to stay withing 3-4 seconds of the first mile. I came super close (often on the faster side; eg. first mile was 8:34, mile 5 was 8:27, but the rest were between 8:26-8:32.). I did have to look at my watch a good bit to make sure I was within target, but I loved feeling successful as each mile clipped by. Karen & I ran the first half together, and I think this strategy worked well to set her up for her negative split (her story coming soon).
I think having this strategy helped me to feel challenged and happy despite not having a pace goal. It required me to really listen to my body, zone in on the pace, and keep my cadence even. I was able to put into a race how I had been practicing and training, and while it didn’t result in a PR, it showed that I am mentally capable of staying engaged on race day.