Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Guest Blogger: Enrique and the Art of Pacing for a PR at the Brooklyn Half Marathon, 5/17/14.

For several months now I have been working with Enrique.  I feel incredibly lucky to have a roster full of ambitious, dedicated people who truly enjoy putting in the work. 

For Enrique, primarily we are working on unlocking his inner marathon specialist, but along the way he likes to find races to challenge himself.  I was planning on witnessing him (even if just virtually online) set some new PR's one race at a time as we build up toward his Fall marathon goals, but Enrique apparently had other ideas. :)  The Brooklyn Half fell about a month after he ran Boston and I was sure he was going to have an amazing race based upon how hard he trained for Boston.    

Below you will find one the best paced races I have ever had a runner I coached run.  The splits are not perfectly even, but he thought about his race and his pace the entire time. He had a plan, he worked on progression training to prepare for a negative split, he knew how to use the terrain of the course to his advantage and his execution was inspiring.  He demonstrated self control and discipline and it paid off!  

Congratulations Enrique on running a fantastic Half and for setting many new PR's en route to a new half PR.   Thank you for allowing me to share your race report below with those who follow my blog! 


Photo provided by Enrique 
Brooklyn Marathon Report  
Official Time: 13.1 @ 1:52:46
Official race splits:
Overall Place: 8154
Gender Place: 5644
Age Place: 420
Net Time: 1:52:46
5K Split: 0:27:38 (new PR)
10K Split: 0:54:52 (new PR)
15K Split: 1:21:08 (new PR)
20K Split: 1:47:15 (new PR)
Pace per Mile: 08:37 (new PR)
AG Time: 1:40:35
AG Gender Place: 3444
AG %: 58.88 %

Splits (From Runkeeper):

1 mi 9:06 (climb: -13)
The strategy that Shannon devised for me was to run mile 1 as close as possible between 9:00 and 8:50 pace. This would ideally to set me up to break my previous PR without much pressure. But since my previous half-marathons PRs were by a few seconds, I needed to find a race where where I felt the new goal was possible, and I had more than just a lucky shot. But at this point in the race, most of the people that started the race with me in the corral were leaving me behind. I'm use to this by now. My legs need the first mile and sometimes even the second to adjust. Eventually they find a pace that will carry me for the rest of the race.

2 mi 8:59 (climb: 12)
Stay with the plan. My cousin was still holding on close to me.

3 mi 8:26 (climb: -96)
The legs were feeling light. This was the first good sign for a solid race. Next was to pay attention to the breathing and heart rate. From the middle of mile 2 through most of mile 3 there is a nice downhill. Here was my chance to apply the lessons learned from Boston (thanks John Phelan for the tips). Just glide down the downhills and let gravity do the job. Short steps. Breathing was steady. My cousin was left behind in the dust.

4 mi 8:29 (climb: 7)
This is the beginning of the hardest part of this race. Inside Prospect Park are the toughest and only hills on the race. Once again, I adjusted my pace to short and quick steps. Randomly started to talk to people around me to make sure that I was breathing properly. If I could talk without breaking the pace was right.

5 mi 8:42 (climb:68)
This was the confidence booster moment of the race. All the training and lessons from Shannon were showing off. Everything Shannon had done to prepare me for Boston helped me conquer this mile-long hill with confidence. Never lose my pace or focus.

6 mi 8:46 (climb: 23)
10k mark - At this point knew I was running a possible PR race. I caught up with all the people that passed me on mile 1 and was running next to the people from the corrals further ahead. As per previous conversation with Shannon, she suggested to play things mile per mile. I knew that the rest of the race was a combination of rolling downhills. Decided to find a pace I could sustain for the rest of the race after the next big downhill.

7 mi 8:09 (climb: -96)
As I was leaving Prospect Park, took advantage of the steep road, so while people were slowing down, I was pushing faster (I think I saw my Garmin touching the 6s), so this was the best moment for a big push.

8 mi 8:21 (climb: -7)/9 mi 8:30 (climb: -17)/10 mi 8:19 (climb: -13)
For these 3 miles I was in cruise control. Let the legs just go at a speed that wasn't pushing but were not being held back. It was very zen-like running, was mainly focusing on the breathing. I call it 4x4 breathing. Four intakes synchronized with each step and four outtakes synchronized with each steps.

11 mi 8:21 (climb: -23)
This was the moment of truth, I saw the possibility of a 1:49 race (I really suck at math). According to the plan the last 5k of the race I was suppose to let it all out. And here I discovered a new pace/gear that I've had never used before. Without leaving the "cruise control" mode started to accelerate gradually and kept doing that for the next 2 miles. Of course the pace had to be adjusted to match the terrain, crowding and people seriously racing.

12 mi 8:15 (climb: -3)
13 mi 8:12 (climb: 9)
Last .1 mi - 8:08 pace (climb: -9)

End of the race, even though I wanted to push myself further for a strong finish, the finish line was already very dense with people and eased back into my new found comfort pace. The Garmin was reading 1:53 same as Runkeeper. PR!!!!!

I am fascinated with the idea negative splits. It takes so much discipline and self control. What comes naturally to me is to start slow and quick bursts of energy. A very important lesson I've learn from training with Shannon, is to be able to keep a steady pace is far more important than anything else.


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