I am running a half marathon in a few weeks and I am hoping to shave about 7 minutes off my last time so I can break 2 hours.
I’ve done some basic speed work, and some (not so basic) normal half marathon training runs. Those are the obvious ways to improve my time.
I’m not sure that I can really cut half a minute of my pace, though. I am sure that, in the course of 2 hours, there are probably ways I could save time without necessarily stepping up my pace that much.
1. Dressing appropriately and being willing to discard layers: In the last half, I wore a very cute, new white running jacket with a zipper. Feeling cute makes me run faster. Great! I wore a puffy vest coat over it because it was FREEZING. Not so great. Less than thirty minutes in I was ready to get out of all that stuff. The problem was, my number was pinned on the front of the vest coat, over the zipper, and I had no way to carry that vest coat once I took it off. So. Undo the number. Hold safety pins in mouth. Take off vest. Take of cute white running jacket. Put vest back on. Tie running jacket around waist. Put number back on. How many minutes did I waste here? Maybe not seven, but at least a few!
2. Not slowing down for water/drinks or running gels EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE ALL FREE! I’m not rich. I like getting free stuff. I almost never invest in running gels, even though I love the chocolate and mocha ones. Furthermore, I don’t like carrying a water bottle, so I do my longest training run (10 miles) without any water, outside of summer, anyway. This probably means that I will be okay without multiple sips of water or Gatorade (how delicious!) and yes, even the free running gels. Maybe one somewhere about halfway through. I’ll reward myself by stocking up on a few extra bananas at the end for future use.
3. Making sure my shoes are tied tightly (this is pretty obvious). I’ve heard that some figure skaters spit on laces to keep them tight. Gross, but possibly useful.
4. Skipping another freebie: picking up good quality abandoned gear, layers that other folks have discarded. People discard nice stuff! I actually picked something up once, around mile 10, and almost fell over. I should remind myself, it’s probably covered in someone else’s sweat!
This list is pretty exhaustive, but I’m open to other ideas!