With minimal training, and only one "tempo run" session I managed to pull out my second fastest half marathon to date.
What could I do if I actually trained for a half marathon? Since I'm about 5~10 pounds lighter than I was at this race 2 years ago, I feel that made a big difference. I was still 8 minutes slower than 2 years prior, but I was also far less trained.
I think my surprise result was due to a few things.
First off is the Maffetone Method. I've trained my body to burn fuel more efficiently. So while I was running in an anaerobic state, my body was doing so more efficiently than I was 2 years ago when all my runs were at a faster pace and harder effort. Running slow has seemingly made me faster.
The Makers Diet. Being healthier and lighter on my feet makes it much easier to run. My blood was flowing better due to lower cholesterol, and I had no GI issues because I ran fasted. Granted I had spent the last week or so eating very poorly (Viva Las Vegas!) I still had the 2 mo the prior of consistently eating the way that a human being is supposed to eat working for me
Starting slow and going for a negative split. This was AMAZING!!! I usually go out fast and try to hold my pace until I finish, and if I can kick it up a little at the end I do. This time around I went out conservatively for the first 8 miles, then started turning up the heat from there. I was actually running a few seconds faster per mile for the first 8 then I had initially planned, and the last 5 were surprisingly easy, and increasing my pace was very even and seemingly effortless. My last 2 miles were something like a 7:35 and 7:07, with the last .18 miles coming in at a 5:25 pace. I ended up with around a 6 minute negative split! That's awesome!
Good flowing form. Since I started out easy, my body wasn't tensed up and I wasn't trying to ouch myself out of my comfort zone. By doing this I was running relaxed and loose. There wasn't any associated stiffness or tiredness on my shoulders or arms. My legs didn't feel like they were pounding the pavement, and I was running very silently. Since I wasn't working very hard I was able to maintain breathing through my nose for the majority of the race. Everything felt great, and my steady increase in speed never felt like a real surge, just a steady increase in speed and turn over. Towards the last mile or so I felt like I could have just taken off in a full sprint and been ok because I wasn't feeling any muscular fatigue from the previous 12 miles. I feel like I might have held back too much if anything.
So what could I I prove upon to get better results next time?
Well, I'm not happy with my PR of 1:42, and I didn't improve that this race, so everything wasn't perfect.
Week before lead up to the race. I ate like shit. If I had eaten cleaner and healthier then I feel like I could have gone a little faster. The night before I had a steak with fried onions and jalapeños. And while I was delicious, it wasn't the best thing to sit on my stomach over night. While I never had any real GI issues, my stomach never felt "great" and I think it was because of the greasy fried foods I had consumed the night before.
Training. My 2 longest runs leading up to the race were 13.1 miles and 17.XX miles, so long runs weren't an issue. It was my total lack of speed work. I had one run that was 5 miles at a 8:00 avg pace. That was a tough work out, but it was it wasn't really speed work. My legs just weren't used to having to turn over so fast. The reason I lacked any speed work is... Well... I'm honestly more concerned with being able to run 100 miles in under 24 hours than I am with running a new PR in a half marathon. But could I train to do both...?
Weight loss / diet deviations. I managed to get my weight down to 180.3 before we went to Vegas, the Week before the race I had weighed in as high as 190.1. That's 10 pounds heavier than I had been the week before. If I had went into the race at 180, or even sub 180, I could have shaved off a little more time. It's really amazing how a few pounds can effect your running so much!
So, with all this said, I'm still very happy with my performance, and I really impressed myself by coming in about 7 minutes per mile while still feeling so fresh and relaxed the whole time.
BUT! I still want to run a sub 1:25 at some point, and while it isn't a top priority right now, I know plenty of ultra marathoners that can go from a sub 24 100 mile trail race to a sub 1:30 half marathon within a month or 2 of each other (depending on which is ran first), so why can't I? Why not add in a few faster runs and some tempo runs in the mix with my long slow runs?
Ill try it and see what happens! Who knows, maybe I can go sub 1:40 at my next half marathon!