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So this Sunday I am running the Boston Run To Remember Half Marathon. It will be my second time running it and my third half marathon overall. So far, in my short racing career, every race has produced a PR. 8 races, 8 PR’s. Granted, some of those PR’s were because I was running a particular distance for the first time.
I am afraid that the streak will come to an end this Sunday. In order to keep the streak alive, I need to run a 1:33:13 or better. If you had asked me last week whether I thought that was achievable, I would have bravely answered in the affirmative, however, now that I have a few runs under my belt since taking two weeks off, I am a little more doubtful.
As wonderful as it has been to be back on the road and running, I have definitely noticed a drop in efficiency. It is taking more energy to go the same distance and despite working hard to maintain cardio health through the elliptical and swimming, the combination of two weeks of rehab and a four week taper (see Boston and Providence) may have proven to be too much. I have read that it takes four weeks for a well conditioned runner to lose their fitness level. Unfortunately for me, I feel like I may be 2 weeks over.
Running this week has felt great mentally, but has been a grind physically. Even today’s 5 miler was hard to get through. The wife asked me earlier this week if I was still planning on running this Sunday. I nearly scoffed at her saying, “of course I’m going to run!”
But she had a point.
Maybe it isn’t so wise to jump right back into a longer distance after taking some time off. After a 20 mile race and 2 marathons over the course of 5 weeks, I convinced myself that a half-marathon was a short distance.
Bottom line for me is that I will make how I run on Sunday a race time decision, and then continue to make adjustments throughout the race. If there is nothing else that running has taught me, it’s to do a self-check every few miles or so, no matter what kind of physical condition you’re in.
Before I went out for my run this afternoon, I told myself that instead of shooting for a PR this weekend, maybe I should be aiming for an RR (Race Record). Last year I ran a respectable 1:40:47 (though it turned out someone took a wrong turn and the course ended up being 12.95 miles). If I beat that, if I could keep a 1:3-:– handle, I’d be pretty happy.
But after today’s run, a tough 5 miles in what felt like tremendous heat, I’m feeling like I’ll be lucky if I finish.
It all comes down to efficiency. How efficient is my body with the energy stores it has?
This Sunday, we’re gonna find out.
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