Over the weekend I made the decision to try out a new strategy for this race. I’m going to run with a watch, and with headphones. I’m also going to split the run into intervals, probably doing 3 minutes easy, 2 minutes at a moderate pace, then 1 minute fast.
This is something of an about-face for me. Historically, I’ve been a purist (or maybe just an elitist). I raced with no electronics – not even a watch. I wanted the game to be all in my own head.
This time, though, I want to give the watch/headphones experiment a try. Here’s why:
- I’m not feeling overly confident. I have a solid base of miles underneath me, but I haven’t been training with much of a strategy in mind. I don’t want low expectations to sink my race, so instead I’ll use it to test out a new race-day strategy.
- I’ve always heard you should race the way you train, but I’ve never followed that advice. When I train, I always run with a friend or with music, and always with a watch. When I race, I leave the watch and the iPod at home. This time, I’ll use the same gear for the race that I use for training runs.
- I always run faster with an interval run than I think I will. Last week, I ran six miles in relatively warm afternoon temperatures at just under 9 minutes per mile. If I can keep that pace (or beat it) for a half-marathon, I’ll come out with a respectable time.
- I don’t want any 11-minute miles dragging down my race time. There’s always some point in my races when I slow down to a crawl and log what must be an 11- or 12-minute mile. That really hurts my overall time. Hopefully this method will keep me relatively on-track.
So that’s the strategy. There’s one other wrinkle here: I’m going to create a playlist for the run, and intermix a handful of what I’ll call “Spurt Songs.” When those songs come on, I’ll pick up the pace, regardless of what interval I’m on.