I ran the Denver Half Marathon on Sunday, and it was my fastest half ever. I’d say overall there were three main things I did right this time:
- I followed a relatively high volume program (45-50 miles, 6 runs/week) that very gradually built up my mileage over 18 weeks.
- I ran a half earlier this year without a plan that just got my legs and my body acclimated to the distance without the intensity associated with an official plan.
- I started slow in the race (my first mile was 30 seconds slower than my average pace for the race) and continued to speed up as the race went along and as I felt that I had “more in the tank” (negative splits).
I have tried high volume plans in the past but have had to bail out both times because my body was overtrained (exhaustion/fatigue along with a persistently high heart rate…even at rest). My body apparently needed me to take on the volume slowly over the last 9-10 months. It requires more patience to train this way, but I don’t think for most us “mere mortals” that you can skip the time required to build up endurance.
I’ve been running somewhat consistently in races since 2010 (about 1-2/year…either half marathon or full) and honestly am hoping some day I can qualify for Boston. After next year’s birthday my Boston qualifying time goes from 3:15 (unattainable) to 3:25 (within the realm of possibility on “the right day”). There are many other things in life that are more important, but that dream is still out there. I won’t sacrifice my sanity or balance in life and my marriage to reach that goal, but if the right training can happen some day that would be cool.