I recently finished my fourth half marathon and ended up placing first in my age group (40-44). The course of this race has over 9 steep inclines with various loose patches of gravel. The weather conditions were cold. I had to wear a base layer followed by two upper layers of shirts and pullover hoodies. Underneath my garments, I also dawned my hydration pack with 1 liter of water and about 12 oz of Gatorade. My half marathon race times so far have ranged from 2:09 to 2:16. I ended up running my slowest half marathon chip time and still ended up placing 1st in my age group. I believe that three factors enabled me to place 1st with my worst half marathon chip time.
Muenster, TX is a small city out to the East of Gainsville. Gainsville, on the same day, was having their Halloween race which draws a lot of racers. Whenever you have a small pool of racers where the overall prize purse is a ceramic beer stein this keeps out the hardcore competitive racers. Don’t get me wrong I would have loved to finished masters first place and swiped the beer stein. A small prize purse combined with a small town race equate to a much less competitive race.
2. Course conditions
The course is littered with many steep inclines and loose gravel. Many, first time half marathon racers would be better off to select a relatively flat course. The loose gravel and overall hilliness of the course turn people away from the race. However on the flip side, like myself, I enjoy the challenge of hills and tough race courses.
3. Weather conditions
The weather was also a determining factor. When the temperature drops below 50 degrees, racers tend to not run as fast as they normally can. When your body is constantly telling your mind that various parts of your body are cold, it distracts you from running and keeping your mind in focus. This is also a factor when you ski or snowboard. If your body is constantly reminding you that it is cold, it detracts from the overall fun of skiing/riding. Also, when people check the weather and they see that it’s going to be acold race, they don’t sign up.
Showing up to the race is sometimes half the battle. Find a good half marathon training plan, give yourself plenty of training time ( 12 weeks +), and stick to your training plan. Most importantly, show up to your race ready to go. If you are looking for a good training plan you can receive a free plan by signing up to my subscriber’s list, Beginner to Finisher Running. I give away a lot of free stuff to my subscribers, including promos and ebooks.
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