The 1/2 Marathon is complete and I'm happy with the results. I could not have asked for a better day to run a race. We kicked off in downtown Providence, RI at 8 am with "The Star Spangled Banner" and a crowd of people to cheer us on. The temperature was 53 degrees, with a slight breeze, and clear blue skies. The conditions were perfect to put the training plan to the test.
My immediate plan was to not come out too fast and be drawn into the excitement. I needed to stay around an 8-minute pace to reach my goal, and I didn't want to run out of juice because of a fast start. The other challenge was the hills of Providence, which are easy to underestimate. Over the course of the 1/2 marathon, we climbed almost 400 feet in elevation split between 4 relatively steep climbs. I knew after the third hill, which was around mile 9, that my training plan had worked and that I had plenty of strength and endurance to start pushing the pace. So, thats what I did. Around mile 10 I dropped below 8 and started slowly increasing my pace. My final mile was right around 7 mins and I kicked in a full sprint for the last 200 meters. I felt great and I got to showcase my sprint speed as I crossed the finished line.
The only thing I would have done differently was trust myself to run faster on the flat spots of the course. I had plenty of gas left in the tank and I'm confident that I could have stayed closer to a 7 min pace for most of the race. The most important aspects of any training plan are consistency and sticking to the plan. I don't think I could have had as much success by running alone and put a lot of credit into the strength components of my plan. I'm also positive that being able to train with accurate intervals gave me the extra boost that allowed me to stay strong throughout the race.
Having technology available like the Timex Ironman GPS One, made it easy to bring my training plan to life and ultimately reach my goals. Without it, measuring intervals and sticking to paces would have been cumbersome. I also didn't need a ton of extra gear. My music, training plan, and messages were on my wrist all in one spot.
As soon as I finished the race I started looking forward to my next competition. For the summer, I'm heading back to the track and bringing out the speed. Running the 1/2 marathon has turned out to be a great build-up to summer track and it will be interesting to see how it affects the numbers on my upcoming races. As a final note, my advice is to always have a goal. Pick your challenge, find the right plan, and execute. Keep that on repeat and life will always be interesting.
Cody Harter is the Owner of Harter Strength & Conditioning in Brookline, MA. For more training details and photos check out harterstrength.com or follow him on Instagram @codyharter and Facebook @HarterStrength