Friday, July 7, 2017

Advice for Training for the Sioux Falls Half

While the Sioux Falls Half Marathon is not my goal race of this fall for the first time in years, I will still be running it, for the 13th time. I know a lot of folks are kicking off their training programs for the event, so I thought I would share some of my gems of wisdom with you! Aka things I wish I had known and/or remembered prior to getting rolling on my training program.

1. This race is not flat. This is the biggest thing to know and keep in mind. Sioux Falls folks always assume it'll be nice and flat because Sioux Falls really is darn flat. But us Sioux Falls runners are also usually doing our long runs around the bike trail which is PANCAKE flat. I think the Sioux Falls half finds every hill in town and makes us run up it twice! And I'm only somewhat joking.

If I was training for this race as my goal race, I would do 2-3 of my long runs on purposely hilly routes, or else a good chunk of hills the last 3-4 miles. There's one loooooooong climb around mile 10 and the placement of the mile on already tired legs just makes you want to sit on the steps of the fire station and throw in the towel. Replace a couple of speed sessions for speed work on an incline. Find a good 20-30 second uphill and do 8-10 repeats up it, jog/walking down it. So good.

2. This race is usually warm. I swear, every time I've been in phenomenal potentially PR shape for this race, it has been hotter than hades. Whenever a friend is running the marathon as a last chance BQ, it's insane temps. If I'm ever in crappy shape and just doing it to keep my streak alive, it's definitely PR weather. Since I plan to be in darn good shape this fall, rest assured it will be hot. Sorry guys. BUT since you know that in advance, don't be afraid to do some of your training in the heat. Barf, I know. BUT if you train your body to do it, sucky as it may be, you'll be totally fine in September. Nothing we'll get on a September race day will rival some of the crazy temps + humidity we'll have in July and August. Even if you're just going out to do your easy 3-4 mile runs, do some of them in the heat!

3. Sign up for the 605 Race Series! This series is every two weeks leading up to the Sioux Falls half, with a 4 mile, 8 mile and 12 mile. These distances fit in perfect with most training programs, and help with that mental piece of racing. I love using my long runs as race day prep--what works to eat, what works to fuel, what to eat the night before, practicing hydrating the day before long runs, etc. Plus you get to do that long run/race with a whole crew of equally crazy people. DO IT!

4. Find a buddy. While this isn't specific to training for this half, I have to give a shout out to my running buddies that I've developed over the last year and a half. Prior to the last couple of years, I can count on my two hands how many times I've had company on a run. And let me tell you that having a running buddy to hold out accountable, keep you company, and let you obsess over all things running and racing related is just the bee's knees. Find one, and hold on tight so they can never leave you. Er... something.

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