Denver RnR Marathon Strategy
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Map to meet-up point attached.
Points to Consider in all Races:
Your first mile should be your SLOWEST mile.
Play with your Garmin, do NOT LOOK AT AVG PACE EACH MILE. On race day you ONLY want to look at total avg pace over the course of the run.
If at any point in the first hour you get sucked into magical thinking, like, "Oh WOW! i'm so far ahead! TODAY IS A 20-MINUTE PR!" then you are probably screwed. Because you are going too fast and are not using gravity to your advantage.
A well-trained person will complete a half marathon in 2 hours. Like, breaking that 2-hour mark is a LIFE GOAL for many runners. So remember, you are probably out there for AT LEAST 2 hours. Check yourself continuously: "can I maintain *this* pace for at least 2 MOAR hours?"
Break the race into four or five 30-minute chunks. Why? Because you have no idea where you expect to be at mile 6 or 11. Are you doing math right now? bless your heart! THAT'S MY POINT. its easier to count to 5 than whatever mental gymnastics you're doing right now. Trust. I'm faster than you and better at math and STILL this is how I race, yo. But you do you.
Ever heard of 'running the tangents'? Now is a terrible time to start. Because there will be around 8,000 people in this race trying to run the tangents. None of them can draw, much less calculate, a tangent. That's not a judgment that's a fact. We have better things to do, yo. You are going to lose WAY more energy speeding up and slowing down around curves trying to draw an imaginary shape with your trajectory that you cannot draw on paper, all to save a few feet off of your total race distance. YES, FEET. So not worth it. Stick to the middle, take the curves wide, and save your ankles. Doglegging 90 degree turns hurts, you should be so lucky to be on the outside.
Recommended Strategy for THIS race course:
Mile 1-6: easy easy - max 145BPM. This will be downhill, lock your cage and let gravity do the work. Sit into the hills and let your glutes absorb the shock; lean too far forward and your knees will be doing that instead, which is not optimal and will stress out your IT bands. Make sure you are upright at all times. Mind your pace- easier effort will transate into faster paces here. You will not miraculously run a 90 minute half today, you are probably en fuego and need to dial back your efforts rather than give gravity the finger. YOU DO NOT NEED A TIME CUSHION. YOU NEED AN ENERGY CUSHION. SAVE YOUR ENERGY DO NOT BANK TIME. DON'T DO IT! Miles 7-9.5: Mostly a very steep uphill. Maintaining pace will be hard work, so don't get competitive. Focus on YOUR effort levels, saving everything for the next portion. Watch form, draw shoulderblades together, lock your cage, engage your glutes. If there is any question about whether or not you are using your glutes, then you probably aren't. You can feel it when you are. Miles 9.5-finish: The hard part is over, you have a flat area and then a downhill. Let gravity do most of the work and use this time for active recovery until the mile 10 marker, then GO. Whatever you have left, spread it across the rest of the course then SPRINT like I'm behind you with a cattle prod as soon as you get sight of the finish line or the 13 mile marker, whichever comes into sight first.
How the math will work out: let's say your goal pace is 8:00. In the first 6 miles you will be able to maintain that without 'working' because gravity. In miles 7-9.5 you are going steeply uphill and will likely be 1.5 min/mile over, so roughly 9:30. BUT you haven't really started the hard work yet, so you have plenty of energy left to fly in the final 4 miles, which should all be sub-8 easily and will outnumber the slower miles significantly enough to match or beat your goal time overall. MATH IS SOOOOOO GREAT!!!!!!!! if you do it right, that is. If you look at avg pace in any given minute or at the end of each mile, you're going to do bad math with no regard for course or effort level. "OMG, mile 1 was 8:15, I'm in the HOLE!!! SPEED UP!" don't do that. That is amateur thinking committed by coachless, unloved runners. You are neither. GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will be waiting to congratulate you!