Saturday, September 19, 2015

Preparation for Navy-Air Force Half

Tomorrow I am running the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon to test my fitness before next month's Marine Corps Marathon. This race snuck up on me since I impulsively signed up for it a month ago. Usually I do a detailed course guide before a race to help me visualize and plan for it. My prep has been a bit compressed for this race, but I do have a plan!


My mantra for this race is Test Your Fitness. That's the purpose of this race in my training plan for Marine Corps. I want to remind myself that this isn't a training run. I can be a bit aggressive, push my pace, see what I can do.


Ideally, I would like to PR (personal record) at this race. My current PR is 2:39:34, from the Philly Half Marathon. I created a pace guide for a 2:37 finish (11:59/mile) to help me keep track of where I am during the race. 

My other goals are to enjoy the race and to remain injury-free. While a PR tomorrow would be nice, I don't want to jeopardize MCM. I would take a DNF (do not finish) tomorrow over a DNS (do not start) at MCM. So I will listen to my body carefully tomorrow - discomfort is okay, pain is not.

My pace guide for tomorrow.
It will be in my vest pocket inside the tiny ziploc.
UPDATE: I totally didn't use this. During the race I  realized it was
*much* easier to just calculate 12 min/mile in my head. Duh.

Course Guide

Usually I would break a course down mile-by-mile, but there isn't a whole lot of variety on this course. Here's my broad assessment:
  • Mile 1
    • Out & back along Independence Avenue - scenic!
  • Miles 2-6
    • Around East Potomac Park (aka Hains Point, backwards from how I usually run it)
    • Past West Potomac Park
    • Capped with a jaunt past the Lincoln Memorial
  • Miles 7-12
    • Out & back on Rock Creek Parkway (turnaround a bit before the National Zoo)
    • Capped with a short out & back on just the tip of the Arlington Memorial Bridge
  • Mile 13.1
    • Another scenic trip along Independence Avenue, ending by the Washington Monument

The 2015 NAF Course (source)

Race Plan

  • Carry my own water so I can drink on my own schedule
  • Take GUs at miles 3, 6, 9, and ~11.5, and bring a 5th one just in case
  • Follow 3:1 run:walk intervals
  • Run conservatively through mile 6 and then progressively pick up the pace 
Wish me luck!