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Benefits of Racing During Training and Hamptons Half Marathon

Posted Sep 20 2011 11:52am

Marathon training is in high gear now, last week was a 20 miler which we had broken into two runs in one day.  It was the first time that I had done that and I must say it was both harder and easier than I thought.  Harder to get myself motivated to get out for the second 10 miles and easier because I wasn’t dreading 20 miles during the first 10 miles.  Physically I was pretty fatigued as I ran both under my marathon pace.

During marathon training I have always found it beneficial at/around the half way point to schedule a race; be it a 10k or a half marathon.  I’ve always gone for the half distance as it usually requires the most similar logistical and pre race calculations to the marathon.  In my opinion there are tremendous positive results from doing this, here is specifically what I hope to gain from it:

  • The most beneficial is to test my fitness and see where I am at in my training.  I should be able to sustain a 15 second faster pace than my marathon pace for the entire 13.1 miles.  Not only will this be a solid training run but it will also give me confidence in my training so far.
  • Test out my race week fueling and hydration while fine tuning the details leading up to race day.  At this point in training I should start to be automatic in my rituals, this is a way to drill down the program.
  • Settle on what I will wear race day.  I will almost always wear marathon day what I choose to wear at this race; not always, but if I run strong it becomes more good luck than comfort.
  • One thing that is tough to practice is pack running; by entering a larger race like a half I will have the ability to get comfortable and confident again running in a pack.
  • Pacing. This will not be a PR day, but it will be perfect pacing at whatever speed I am running.  Perfect pacing to me is the ability to not look at your watch and maintain the same pace throughout the entire race. Perfect pacing in my opinion is a sign that you are in tune with your body.

So with the goals in place it is just a matter of finding the race to run; I’ve decided to travel out to Long Island and the Hamptons Marathon/Half Marathon.

About the Race: The Hamptons Marathon/Half Marathon is becoming a favorite fall race for runners and has sold out the last four years.  Last year runners from 30 states and 3 countries ran this race. Runners of the Hamptons Marathon will start together with those running the Half and they will finish at the same finish line. The races diverge at mile 6 and the courses run through Amagansett, Springs and East Hampton with views of the Atlantic Ocean and Napeague Bay out to the Long Island Sound.

This race is a Boston qualifier with a USATF Sanctioned and Certified course. In addition, it can serve as a great training run for those runners training for the ING-NYC, Marine Corps or Chicago marathons.

Runner’s World named the Hamptons Marathon/Half Marathon one of the top 10 Races to Run in 2008. Praise for the small-town vibe, beach views and star treatment.

Do you schedule a test run during your training? What goals do you have when you run a race during training? How do you determine if your training is on track?

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