Race Strategy for the Cayman Half, December 2014

Apparently I need help with goal-setting. Or confidence. Or both.

ambitionI was figuring on a very low-stress Cayman Half-Marathon this year. With my marathon debut only 5 weeks after my “home” race, I figured going all-out would be a bad idea, with too high a risk for either injury or just pushing myself so hard that the recovery period would eat too far into my training.

A nice, easy, 13.1 mile trot…or at the very most a semi-easy, keeping-something-back 1hr 54minutes that would keep me inside last year’s time but leave me about 30 seconds per mile off my potential race pace, and thus not provoke my temperamental hamstrings.

Just to be sure about my strategy I emailed Greg McMillan, an international distance running coach who I’d just had custom-make the last 6 weeks of my training programme. His reply: “You may run your half-marathon at full race effort. This will provide you with a race performance that you can use in the McMillan Running Calculator to determine your training paces and will give you an indication of your marathon fitness.”


But I don’t WANT an indication of my marathon fitness, Coach, because it might not be very good, and I don’t WANT to use my time in the McMillan Running Calculator because it will tell me that I’m rubbish and that I should run (more) slowly in training which will be discouraging and I don’t need that right now.

So that’s going on in my ahead alongside the competitive side of me, which was saying “YEAH!!! BRING IT!! I’m gonna BUST IT”. But the competitive side of me sounds like an idiot, so I told him to shut up.

I was still feeling somewhat conflicted when I bumped into Marius Acker (4-time winner) on packet pickup day, just over a year after our horizon-extending chat when he basically insisted that I run a time at least five minutes quicker than I believed myself capable of.

“What time are you aiming for?” he asked me.

“Er…1:50 maybe…under 1:53, definitely less than 1:55…I don’t know whether I can do better than that”

“What’s your PB?”

“1:48:17…but that was in England, and I was feeling really good, and I don’t really know what happened, and it was cold whichpasta helped…although it was REALLY hillly…I dunno”


“Well go for 1:44 then.”

“HAHAHAHA…no, I can’t do that”

“…or at least 1:46, then if you miss that you should still get in under 1:50. Just go out at that pace, because you know you can do that for 10K, distance so then just check yourself at half-way to see if you can keep doing that pace”

So come Saturday evening I am feeling slightly nervous about either sleeping through my alarm or not falling asleep in the first place, and now also worried about injury/going too slowly.

But hey, never mind that, it’s the day before a half-marathon, which makes it CARB LOADING DAY! I will drown my sorrows in pasta, pudding, and a scoop-ish of ice cream, and make all my worries disappear…


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