Saturday, May 2, 2009

Setting an Appropriate Goal

(Sorry about being late here today. Power went out at home this morning. It's amazing just how reliant we are on electricity! Even the pilots on the gas appliances are electric these days! Hmph.)

I'll start today's blog with the answer to yesterday's question. The question was - other than "The Last Tango in Paris", what were the only X-rated movies to receive Oscar nominations? The answer - Midnight Cowboy (1969) and a Clockwork Orange (1973). Now for a little more useless trivia - Midnight Cowboy is the only X-Rated movie to win an Oscar - Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. AKA Alice got one of the two (I want her on my Jeopardy team).

Okay - back to today's topic. First, to all of you who have sent me emails, tweets and blog comments wishing me luck tomorrow - Thanks! I appreciate the thoughts and wishes. I am humbled by how good and speedy some of you think I am. But, I'm also going to be realistic. My current Half Marathon PR is 2:18.56. I would love to lop off 19 minutes. The McMillan Running Calculator predicts somewhere between 1:57 (based on my recent 5K) and 2:04 (based on my recent 10K). To get to 2 hours, I would need to average 9:09 over 13.1 miles. Can I do it? Maybe. I think the only thing setting me back is having to cart my svelte 216 pounds for 13 plus miles.

So, here is what I'm going to do. I am going to set a goal. That goal is 1:59.99. Appropriate? The data says so. If I make it, I'll be on cloud nine. Then, I'm setting a 2:05 threshold (9:30 pace). If I hit this, I'll be pretty happy with where I am now, but I'll know that I still am working toward my ultimate goal.

I need a race plan. For that, I am going to refer back to The Competitive Runner's Handbook. I should plan on running somewhere between 85% and 90% of lactate threshold. LT occurs at about 93% of max heart rate (185). So, I'll keep my heart rate around 150 for the first half of the race, and then push it later. I know I can run effectively for a few miles up around 170, and can put a finishing spurt on as high as 180 to 185. I'll let that dictate my overall pace.

I'll also follow Glover's suggestions about pacing. I'll go out a little slower than goal at the outset of the race. I'll try to settle in at a 9:30 for a couple of miles just to get warmed up. Once I'm past the first couple of miles, I'll settle in to a pace that puts me at a 150 heart rate. I'm not sure how many people are running this race (remember there is another HUGE race going on close by), so I'm not sure if I'll be able to run with a group. If I can, I'll settle with one for six miles or so. At this point, I'll be about 8 to 9 miles in. If everything is going right, I'll push the pace just a little to drive my heart rate into the 160 to 165 range for the next 2 to 3 miles. I'll look for other runners close by, throw a virtual lasso around them and reel 'em in. This is important because most will be slowing down at this point. I can't let myself stay with the flow. Finally, at 12 miles, I'll give whatever I have left, drive my heart rate up to 170 for the final mile, before a final push at 13 miles. Whatever the time is the time is.

Here we go! Woo hoo!


  1. Glenn, best wishes to you tomorrow! I hope you are able to meet your goal and have a fun time in the process. All the best to you, and I look forward to reading your report! :)

  2. You are going to do great!!!

  3. Darn...Clockwork Orange...I shoulda known (it's actually the only movie of the three I've a film class in college...quite disturbing).

    Have a great race in the morning!

  4. good luck today / you're probably already done by now but good luck all the same :) hope it went well!!