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Monday, February 16, 2009

Preview: Peterborough 1/2 Marathon

I did this race in 2007 and 2008. I wasn't planning on doing it this year, but I haven't raced since October and I need a pick-me-up!

2007- 2:07:06
2008- 1:53:55
2009- ???

(You can read my blog entry about the 2008 edition here)

There isn't much to this race, it starts out in Peterborough, ends up out in the country in some fields, then comes back. Mostly flat or flat-ish, surface is mostly asphault (one small bit of gravel road). The wind can be a bit brutal, and obviously being February in Ontario there's always a risk of getting hammered by a snowstorm or a frigid blast of winter... but so far I've managed to avoid that fate!

I'm going to do two things different from previous years:

1) Walk Breaks (10 and 1's)

I started using them last spring when I was recovering from an injury and was able to run the Toronto Marathon in my goal time. I've stuck with them, still training with them, so no need to fix what ain't broken!

2) Negative Split

A negative split means that you run the second half of the race faster than the first.

I tend to go out to fast, resulting in a huge positive split at the Toronto Marathon. I ran out of gas by the end, and that was partly due to that quick start. For this race I want to keep those first 10.55km slower than the next 10.55km.

This article talks about negative splits for marathons, but the same principles apply. My plan is to run the first 6km at about 10s slower per kilometer than my target race pace, then start to build up the pace until I'm at my target race pace by half-way (10.55km).

Based on a 1:51:00 finish and walk breaks, that means starting out around 5:10/km for the first 6k, gradually speeding up to 5:00/km by the half-way point, and holding that until the last 5-6k where I'll start increasing the pace to 4:50/km before hopefully pounding out a very strong and fast finish.

That's the theory, anyway! It's a "B" race for me so I'm not really that concerned if it doesn't work out.


Jim said...


I came across your blog today after googling "Marathon training while sick." I like it because I am a "Marshmallow Man" myself but I've made up my mind to do a marathon. I don't know yet if my goal is realistic, but I would like to do the Hamptons marathon in NY in September. I got sick in the beginning of Feb. for almost 2 weeks and it basically put me back to the drawing board. My plan was to start with 2 miles a day and increase by 1 mile each month. So, by Sept. I should be around 8 or nine miles a day.

I'm going to read the rest of your blog. Do you know of any good websites for a beginner like me?

Thanks, Jim

Jon P said...

Hey Jim!

The marathon is a distance that needs to be respected - it took me two years and a couple of false starts to get it right without getting injured. Running is 90% injury prevention.

I'm not saying don't do it - that's up to you of course! But I'd ask myself what the rush is, there are lots of race distances that you can target while your body gets used to the mechanics of running.


I like Jeff Galloway a lot... I do his run/walk thing and have had a lot of success with it, it's how I ran my marathon.

I'd also suggesting finding a nice forum with people who can answer your questions, something like:

(That's a Canadian site, but I'm sure you can find American equivalents... and Canadians don't bite!)

Good luck, and enjoy the journey! :)

Jim said...

Thanks for the advice. I hadn't really thought of it as a rush until you mentioned it. I'll definitely check out the websites you provided. Thanks again.


Boris T said...

Good luck Jono!

I'll be running a half marathon myself, but in Grimsby.

Hope you get a decent negative split.