Daily Archives: March 13, 2015

Prague Half Marathon Training Recap

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Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon 2015

This weekend I will do my last long run for the Prague Half Marathon.  I have been training for this race since January, right through consistently frigid temperatures.  I’m not sure how to measure this training session.  In 2014 I completed a little more mileage by this time of year but I feel like I increased the quality of my runs this time around.  Most notably I saw significant improvement in my hill work and speed intervals.  Well, to be honest, i have never really tried speed intervals before, but I am doing them better than I thought I would.  I once again, however, managed to almost completely avoid tempo runs 🙁

A very brief look at my training tells me this:

  • five hill repeat sessions, where I learned I can do 480m hill repeats below a 5:30 min/km pace.
  • three speed interval sessions, (one more to go) where I discovered that I can comfortably run 800 and even 1200m  intervals below a 5 min/km pace (and in fact on the shorter intervals was finding myself below a 4:30 pace)
  • two 19k runs (one more to go) and three 16k runs – hopefully enough longer runs?
  • January total – 143 km
  • February total – 133 km (I’m sure if it hadn’t been a short month I would have matched January’s total)
  • March total as of the 13th – 74 km

I admit I had hoped my monthly totals would be more but somehow it just didn’t happen.  In April and May I would like to work my way back up to 160 or 170 km each month.

While all my speed, hill and LSR work has gone quite well, I am still not feeling confident that I can run 21 km at a sub 2 hour pace like I did last year (three times…still excited about that accomplishment).  It is definitely possible but I think I will need a perfect day.  Certainly the elevation of the course is ideal.  Check it out:

elevation map

It is hard to see but the vertical scale is only from 184m to 209m.  That is not much of an elevation change!

The temperature might work to my advantage as well.  Forecasts have ranged anywhere from 7C to 14C in Prague on the 28th.  Of course with two weeks to go anything could happen.  If it gets hotter than 14 degrees I simply won’t have adapted yet to that kind of temperature.  One big weather consideration will be wind.  Virtually all of the course runs along the Vltava River.  That should make for a scenic run, but the potential of having to fight wind in an open area is a significant possibility.

So what is my plan for this race?  First priority – ENJOY IT!  Realistically, I won’t run this race again.  Who knows if I will ever even get to Prague again?  I have to make sure I soak in the day.  That is a promise I have made to myself each time I have run in a new city.  It is not that there have been that many, but I have been fortunate enough to have raced in NYC, Vancouver and Philadelphia.  All three of those races have given me lasting memories.  Of course I have also run in Toronto and Hamilton, but they don’t really count.  I’ve been to Toronto more times than I can count, so nothing new to see there and as for Hamilton… well, they put on a great race but you don’t really go to Hamilton for the scenery.

As for my goal times, I very much hope to be between 1:58 and 2:02.  Short of injury, not feeling well, or wicked weather, this should not be an unrealistic goal.  If I could come in under 1:58, I would be thrilled.  I did it in Vancouver, but that race offered some great downhill in the first half of the course, not to mention no wind or humidity.  It was truly a perfect day.  I also did it in last fall’s Mission Possible race, but it was not a certified course and my Garmin showed under the 21.1 km.  As a result, I don’t count that 1:56 time as a personal best, though I was damn proud of it given the difficulty of the course and the fact that my previous best time at that race was 2:06.

Taking in the scenery of a city I once lived in for 5 months will truly be the highlight of the race.  How can I not enjoy a city that looks like this:


Photo montage from http://www.hotels-in-czech.com/news/Hervis-Prague-1-2Marathon.html

If you are interested in some of the other views to be seen during the Prague Half Marathon, check out the following helicopter video:


Prague, here I come!