Too Fast for a First Race

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 | By Hal Higdon
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Got a question about running? You're in the right place. Every Tuesday, world-renowned coach, author and athlete Hal Higdon posts and answers athlete questions here. You can submit your question by joining the discussions on Hal Higdon's Virtual Training Bulletin Boards.


I am currently training for my first half marathon and am into Week 9 on The Hal HigdonIntermediate Program. I run my once-a-week long run at 8:30 minutes-per-mile pace, which feels comfortable. Can you give me a better idea for a target pace? I want to be competitive, but not kill myself in the process. Does this pace seem reasonable? My Dad’s first half marathon time of 1:34 is looming over my head.


It really shouldn't. Don’t worry how fast your Dad ran, at least not for a "first race.” Your main goal for a first race should be to get through it without falling into the trap of trying to match a specific time. Once you finish that first race (whether half marathon or whatever), then you can assess your performance. Was it comfortable? Was it fun? Am I going to do another running race, or is it back to surfing or bowling? But other than saying that, given your description of your long runs feeling “comfortable,” I suspect you're already on course. At Week 9 in a 12-week program, you're only 4 weeks out from the race, it is too late to make any radical changes in your training program. Just trust yourself, and we’ll talk in the finishing chute.

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