Tuesday Tangents + Long Run Slow = FAST Race Day?

Brooke was thrilled to be going to school;)

My day started off with 8 miles @ 8:10 average.  My ridiculously hot shower after this run felt so so good.  Thinking about a hot shower gets me through the last few miles when I can’t feel my forehead any longer.

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I’m sure I ran another mile or so chasing Skye around before her nap time.  I need to film her crawling… I swear she has on a jet pack these days.

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We get to have Knox for the week so we are very excited about that.

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Andrew  picked up a tree from Costco!  He is all about real trees (I always had a fake one before I met him).  I LOVE how good our house smells now.

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The kid’s picked out their Christmas ornament for the year (they pick one out each year for a tradition).

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Knox lost his very first tooth and now Brooke really wants to lose one too.

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We ended the night by visiting Santa.  This next month is going to be (back and forth with kid schedule and Andrew’s work schedule) packed so we are doing a few of our traditions early.  Brooke brought her American Girl Doll Catalog to show Santa exactly what she wanted.

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Just a few tangents for today!

*Sunday dinner—> my parents and sister came over and my sister made these chicken roll-ups.  This is one of our family’s favorite recipes.

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*I made these… another family favorite.

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*THE BIGGEST THING right now that gets me out of my warm, incredibly comfortable and cozy bed (besides knowing if I don’t run now, it isn’t going to happen) to run is having my clothes out and easy to put on.  I put my clothes out year round but it’s a lot easier during the summer to grab a tank and shorts right before a run then the 43 layers that it takes to keep me warm lately. I’m loving this Nathan vest lately… too bad florescent doesn’t match my Christmas shoes very well.

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*Did you know these exist?

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I received a great question in my emails and thought I would write about it here too!  —>  “Should my long run on the weekend be at marathon pace or faster or slower?… I’m just worried that if I run my long runs at a slower pace I won’t be able to pick it up during the actual marathon.”

I think we have all thought about this a million times during training—>  If my long run is 90 seconds slower per mile than my marathon goal pace then how in the world am I going to be able to run that pace on race day?  How does 18 miles at an 9:15 pace translate to 26.2 miles at an 8:00 pace?

Trust the process!  IT REALLY DOES TRANSLATE… it’s magic.

The accumulation of long runs on tired legs, speed workout(s) during the week and the benefits of race day (<—read about them HERE) make it SO you CAN run that pace on race day even though your long runs were slower.

My average pace for my last marathon was 6:50 and the majority of my long runs were done right around a 7:30-8:00 pace (some were faster because they included a workout in them but that was for my 10th marathon training… not my first few).  That’s about a minute slower per mile on the long run vs race pace and it worked (and I wasn’t injured:)  If you were to try to do race pace for all of your long runs then you have a higher chance of not making it to the starting line because of injury or overtraining.  I’m totally guessing on this but I would say about 80% of every long run I have ever done was at an easy pace… I’ve been able to talk to my friends the entire time and keep my heart rate lower.  Now when you are getting into faster and faster times then yes you will probably include workouts in your long run a time or two each month (and even then the overall pace is slower than marathon goal pace for me) but if you aren’t in that stage, just worry about keeping it easy!

PS in the picture below from the marathon you can see the 3:05 pacer sign.. when he came up on my shoulder a bit earlier that motivated me big time to get moving if I wanted to hit my goal.

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My race pace for my last marathon was around the 6:52 mark below but it shows below to do my long runs at about a 7:30 for a 3 hour marathon!  I think that many of us believe that running too fast, too often will get us to our goals but I do not think that is the case.  Proper training for 12-16 weeks and the accumulation of fatigue over the weeks during training (and then resting during the taper) get us to those race pace goals.   You are going to see different pace recommendations for long runs depending on what book you are using, what coach you are working with etc but all of them lead to telling you to do them slower than race pace.

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From one of my favorite training books, “As you become more fit, faster, and more experienced, pace begins to play its role in the body’s overall adaptations achieved from long runs.  As your endurance builds, your pace will probably increase naturally.   …  We generally coach runners to hold an easy to moderate pace throughout a long run.  More advanced runners should maintain a moderate pace because their muscles have already adapted to the stress of such feats of endurance.  In the big picture of training, when you avoid overdoing these lengthy workouts, you reap more benefits and avoid the potential downfalls of overtraining.”

As I am training my brother for his first marathon, the long run is ALL ABOUT time on his feet.  It’s helping him to build endurance to train his body to be used to being moving for x amount of time… it’s not about the pace right now.  I save the pace stuff for his midweek speed workout.  His easy long runs train his body to be more efficient at fat burning for fuel (which is a huge benefit on race day) and help him to recover faster so he can do a hard effort the next week during his speed.

How do you know what pace to run for your different runs?

A) Grab a coach.  I love having a coach so very much and it keeps me from overdoing things or under-doing things.

B) Pick up a book that includes a plan pace chart to tell you what paces your runs should be done at for your current fitness and goals for you to follow.  This one, this one and this one are great books!  My coach bases my paces off of VDOT and you can find that calculator HERE to personalize paces for you too!

C) This post can help you to figure out what your different paces for workouts should be too!

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Do you ever run with the pacers during a race?  Have they helped you to get a goal?

Set your stuff out the night before a run/workout or no?

Real or fake Christmas tree?

Do you ever add workouts to your long run or keep them at an easy pace?

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51 comments

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I love the joy on your face in that pic!! I like to add tempo miles to my long runs every now and then. It’s crazy to me how we can go so much faster for longer on race day, but somehow our bodies just do it!

I love Christmas trees. I can’t wait to see all of the trees and lights out everywhere. I love going on night runs during the holidays and seeing all of the houses lit up–warms my heart! :)

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Oh thanks Natalie! The tempo miles in a long run really help to make them go by faster too:) I need to do a night run this week to see the lights… that is such a good idea!

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I did not purposely plan on running with a pacer, but the guy holding the sign was great and kept me so upbeat……it was awesome! You would be great at it.

Fake, fake, fake………just thinking about the needles on the floor and falling off while taking them out the door gives me a little anxiety.

If I am not training for a race and just doing long runs for fitness, I will definitely put some kick into those long runs.

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Oh that is so cool… I really want to do it one year! Hahaha yeah I’m nervous about Skye attacking it, we might have to put a gate around it! We are so alike… I told Andrew he had to take care of all of the needles from bringing it in the second he put it up:) Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and are your parents coming to your house for thanksgiving?

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I agree with you!!!!! Getting a good coach that you trust is a GAME CHANGER. My coach finally got me to slow down on easy runs, and I just really trust his plan for me. It translated for my marathon :) Now I need to work on it translating for my HALF marathon—that’s all mental. My brain gets scared of certain “scary” paces.

ALWAYS set clothes out the night before or pack them in my bag for after school. I really do enjoy the ritual of it :)

There’s nothing like a real Christmas tree! We always had one growing up, and we’ve continued that tradition. We go to a farm with horse drawn wagons and go out and cut down our own tree. It’s a pretty cool thing–my daughters look forward to it every year :)

I recognize the Rulu pants in that visiting Santa pic! I did go and buy a black pair on Saturday………marathon rewards, right?! ha ha

Have a GREAT GREAT GREAT day! Enjoy the time having Knox with the family and having a full house this week!!!

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It really makes the biggest difference for me and slowing down for easy days makes us SO MUCH FASTER. Yes yes yes, but don’t let those hold you back… I can’t wait to see how fast your half marathon is, you are so strong Jen! Oh I love hearing you call it a ritual… it totally is! Oh you bought a pair?! They are seriously the best. Enjoy and I’m still buying myself presents as marathon rewards from 1.5 months ago;) You too… thank you!

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I don’t know why but it makes me incredibly happy to see what an amazing mother and step mother you are! Maybe I’ll be fortunate enough to have some kiddos of my own someday.

Also, aren’t REAL christmas trees the BEST?

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Carrie, thank you so much for your sweet comment. That means a lot to me. I hope you get to too! They really are… I’m sitting next to mine right now and loving how it smells! Have a beautiful day:)

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I’ve never run with a pacer that’s put there for the race, but when I finally hit my sub 2 hr 1/2 marathon goal, I had a friend run and pace me. She wore the garmin so I just focused on running. Worked like a charm for me.

I don’t set my stuff out the night before, but I’m thinking that maybe I should, it might help me get out of bed. Have you been doing your weekday runs in the dark? In NY it’s dark out at the time I need to run, and I’m not sure I have all of the gear to do that safely.

Fake Christmas trees always, I hate the needles from the real ones.

I’ve never added a workout to long runs, but I’m not that experienced of a runner. Maybe someday!

Have a great day!

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Oh I LOVE that your friend did that with you Sara… how nice to just focus on the run part and let her do the numbers part! YES… it seriously helps me out big time to get out of bed. I do run in the dark sometimes, I take that vest with me and a headlamp (along with Beretta and my RunAngel). GET THE GEAR… it is so so important!
That is definitely a big bonus of fake Christmas trees… I have a feeling that Skye is going to go after this tree haha. Thanks, you too!

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I’ve paid no attention to pacers in the past – I prefer to monitor my own times. I don’t like having to pay too much attention to someone else, I guess.

I’m guilty of going too hard on long runs… even my 21-miler yesterday I was probably doing race pace for way too much of it. Definitely going to take it easier this week because I’m feeling some ~things~ in my right leg (not pain, but feels like it could, possibly, develop into pain… running gets me so in touch with my body!).

Fake Christmas tree… cats make it a necessity.

I generally sleep in my running clothes for the next day! Although that’s because 90% of the year it’s just a short sleeve shirt and shorts, haha.

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YES yes yes take it easier this week… we need you to get to your fourth marathon healthy and strong! Hahah that is very true, your running wardrobe probably doesn’t change much year round. Have a wonderful day Grant!

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I always need to set my clothes out the night before for a morning run. I also put my phone with my alarm on the other side of the room, right next to my clothes so that I have to get out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off. And then even though I’m tired, I’m already out of bed and conveniently right next to my running clothes- so it’s basically more effort to skip the run and go back to bed at that point. (Pretty sure that trick is 90% of what gets me out for morning workouts).

Totally agree that most long runs should be run at a way easier pace than marathon pace. However, my last training cycle, my coach had me build up with slow long runs and then start to alternate a slow long run one weekend with a shorter long run that included a workout (usually with a portion at marathon or half marathon pace). I think that helped me a ton to learn what it felt like to run that pace on tired legs and mentally it kept my training interesting because every weekend was something a little different.

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That is a really good idea to put your alarm on the other side of the room… brilliant! Andrew needs to try this too! Ohhhh that sounds awesome… way to go on those long runs! I totally bet that helped you out not just physically but mentally too on race day! I love it. Have a wonderful day Diana!

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I have a fake tree! I live on my own so my criteria for ALL things is that I have to be able to set it up myself. (yes I have friends and they would help me but really I just go for ease) :) The tree is in 3 parts and I just snap it all in. Works for me :)

Your tree looks good so far! Love the pictures of the family at the holiday festivities. Looks fun and cold :)

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That is totally what I did too and I LOVED that tree:) SO easy to put up and take down! Thanks Amanda, have a wonderful day:)

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Love your “hand held” size dinner and dessert even if you ended up using utensils (: I am a huge fan of eating with my hands…

I keep seeing those ugly sweater sneakers all over and I really, really want a pair now.

So I mentioned that I’m training for my first ever 1/2 marathon (instant PR…woot, woot!) and your last three ?’s/suggestions were perfect. I’ve picked up some training books and running mags but think I should get a coach (ha, almost wrote couch there!). How can I find a coach and is it really possible to train mostly indoors?

Should I mainly use the treadmill or will an elliptical, stair stepper, rowing machine, stationary bike be good occasionally along with stretching of course! This week I have access to some great equipment along with an indoor pool and jacuzzi!

And supplements….as a newbie I’m not sure how to use them at the right times and which ones are best to start “practicing” with. I need to figure out what and how much to eat before runs in the morning.

I occasionally sleep in my running clothes sometimes and it seems to help.

Never realized how much time and planning goes into this or maybe I’m overthinking it all. Sorry to bombard you with questions. I think once I ease into a good routine I won’t be as goofy about it. I added a Google Calendar to keep track of my training too which is all kinds of fun.

Congrats to Knox for losing his first tooth!

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It totally is possible to mostly train indoors… I’ve done many races that way. I’m so excited for your first half and I think you need the ugly sweater shoes for your training;) To find a coach check out this:
https://www.rrca.org/resources/runners/find-a-coach
The comments in this post might be helpful too:
https://hungryrunnergirl.com/2013/10/i-promise-this-is-not-an-exaggeration-and-finding-a-running-coach.html
I followed a bunch of different coaches on IG and found one that fit my training style and what I was looking for!
What type of supplements are you talking about?
NEVER say sorry… it’s so fun to talk about all of this stuff, you are doing amazing!

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I ran with a pacer my very first half marathon, because I wanted to finish within 2 hours. I finished in 1:58:34! I loved running with the pacer because I honestly had no idea what I was doing. For my spring half this year, I stuck with a pacer for the first 2/3 of the race, but then I got away from them. I tend to keep an eye on pacers since it’s a good way to know where I’m at without staring at my watch.
I haven’t added workouts to my long runs, but I will say this – for training cycles where I’ve completed long runs consistently at my goal pace or better, I find that when race day comes, I get very tired and worn out. It’s much better to take more runs easier/slower so that when race day comes, you can power through. That’s just my experience, though!

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Oh that is awesome Rhiannon… for your first too that probably helped so much to not go out too fast! I totally see that… when you show up race day with some pep and not exhausted = great race performance. I hope your Tuesday is a great one!

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Thank you for sharing the VDOT calculator website! I’ve been looking for one to help me train for my 2nd half marathon. I did my first in October and crushed ALL THE GOALS! I finished in 2:08! I followed the 80/20 training plan: 80% of the workouts are at an easy pace and 20% are at a hard pace. I didn’t think I’d be able to run my half as fast as I did because all my training runs before that were NO WHERE near as fast as I ran the half. Most of my training runs were 11-12 min. miles, but I did the half in 9:41/mile average. So running slow does equal running fast on race day. :-)
BTW, thanks for all of your inspiration! I started running this year (after not running for years and I had only done 7 miles for my max distance before) and I am crushing all my goals. You’ve helped me tremendously and I thank you!

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TRACY!!! Thank you thank you thank you for your comment and sharing your amazing accomplishment… YOU CRUSHED your first half and it’s amazing how the easy long run can translate to faster race times. Thank you for what you said and please keep me updated on how you are doing and all of the goals you keep crushing.

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Fake tree. Real ones smell good but they seem to make a huge mess until Christmas haha.

All my long runs are done just as a long run at an easy pace. I don’t add workouts to them because it helps me remember to keep my easy runs easy.

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Wish me luck with all of these needles haha. Have a great day Jenny!

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I always set out my clothes the night before. I have to sneak out without waking the dog, kids or hubs.
Last weekend I did a long run at a slower pace group, I kind of felt bad I didn’t push harder like I had the weekend before . I woke up the next day not feeling sore and able to move, so I decided that slower was the smart decision.
I am pushing for a fake tree this year, last year our beautiful Costco tree made me nuts. I watered that thing like crazy, and my vacuum was going constantly. 🤦🏻‍♀️

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Oh I am so glad that worked out so well for you! Yep, I have a feeling that we are going to have needles covering our house in a week or so. Enjoy the fake tree for me;)

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I tried to run with a pace group during Marine Corps Marathon several years ago, but the race was so crowded overall, and our pace group was so large, I think it actually took more energy to dodge and weave around the pack of people staying close to the pacer than if I had just run the race. Runners were tripping over curbs and squeezing past each other to be in certain proximity to the pacer. I’d try it with a race that was more spread out, maybe.

If I’m running early–definitely when racing–setting clothes out is key. I don’t always do it if I’m running later in the day.

We did a small fake one during house remodeling, but real Christmas tree most years. The scent is wonderful! We even cut our own at a tree farm several times, which is a cool adventure. PS: dogs seem to think that having a tree in the car is bizarre :)

I like to mix up the really long runs with at least some faster intervals, strides, or something to break up the same movement patterns in my legs.

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Oh I didn’t think about that in a large race.. that would definitely take more to stay with them as you are running around people etc. That is so cool that you have cut your own tree… I love it! Skye thinks the tree is bizarre right now too:) YES, adding in some things definitely breaks it up mentally and physically! Have a great day Corey!

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When you have time, could you give a few more specifics on the chicken roll ups? I read the old post but I was kind of confused–does everything go in the filling? Is the butter for the outside? Thanks!

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I am so so sorry about that! I’ll fix that post too when I get home! Everything goes inside of them except for the butter and crushed up croutons! Those go on the outside! Let me know if you try them:)

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Yay! I’m not the original commenter but I’m totally making these tonight. They look so good, and our family LOVES your other recipes we’ve tried. Thanks for sharing :)

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ENJOY JILL!!! Let me know what you think of it!

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I have never used a pacer to help me get a certain time, I have just used them as motivation, like you said. “Oh there’s one ahead of me, don’t let him out of your sight.” On my worst marathon, pacer after pacer kept passing me and it got to be comical “there goes anothe one!”

We have a fake tree now, but growing up always real. I do miss having a real tree but it’s just easier this way.

Yeah I always have my workout clothes out the night before. Sometimes I’ll even wear my sports bra and top to bed. But it’s not the most comfortable so i don’t do that often lol.

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Hahah ‘there goes another one’… that totally happened to me during a marathon too! Wearing the sports bra to bed must really help you to get out the door! Have a wonderful day Laura!

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I often set my stuff out the night before (it depends on how early I am leaving the house). But mine is more in a messy pile than laid out all neat like yours. ;)

Fake Christmas tree – any time I brush against a real one, I get itchy red bumps.

I used to only do long runs at an easy pace. But as I’ve aged, if striving for a specific goal, my body handles increasing intensity better than increasing miles. So starting early this year, for my ultra trail run and my PR 1/2 marathon training cycles, I added 2-3 mile tempo sections into my long runs. (I am between training cycles right now so current long runs are just easy miles.)

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Hahah messy or neat… laying it out beforehand gets the job done! Boo to the itchy red bumps. I think the 2-3 mile tempo sections is the perfect addition to the long run. Have a wonderful day!!

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I’ve always done a fake Christmas tree. I tend to keep my tree up a little too long…a real one might die before I’m ready for Christmas decorations to be taken down :)

I always set my clothes out before a run. When I do it before bed I tend to look forward to my run more.

I’ve had recently started adding a little workout to long runs. Maybe a fast finish, fast hills, or fast last mile. I never want to do anything to make my long run shorter than planned so I stick to things toward the end.

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Definitely the perfect reason for a fake Christmas tree–> You can have it up longer and keep celebrating (I’m hoping ours makes it to Christmas). I think the fast finish long run is probably the best workout addition ever… it helps us to negative split on race day. Have a wonderful day!

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Real tree for sure! Although the trees here in Germany do not smell nearly as wonderful as the fir trees from Oregon.

During *some* long runs I like to mix it up with either a mid way tempo set or a fast finish.

I usually run right after work in the afternoon so I have my backpack stuffed with a variety of running gear to choose from. It helps to run from work before going home. In the winter I do bring out my clothes ahead of time and put them on my office radiator to warm up.

How do you get so many mini marshmallows on your hot chocolate cookies? We usually can only fit 3 on them! Those are our favorite cookies-so delicious!!!

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Germany… I bet Christmastime where you live is magical! Adding in the tempo miles in a long run makes it go by so much faster! Hahah my family thinks I’m crazy because I do it so fast… I grab about 7 and smoosh them in when the cookies are still very hot (I make the marshmallows smooshed together in my hand before plopping them on the cookie and then they spread out a bit). I hope that makes a little sense ha. Have a wonderful day and make the cookies again soon!

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I just recently had a big pr (for me) of 9 minutes in the half marathon. I used the Hanson’s plan for the third time but this time I followed their pacing for my long runs (in previous training cycles I didn’t pay enough attention on the long run pace guidelines and did them way too fast). I think doing them slower than race pace helped me be ready on race day (as opposed to burnt out) but I really didn’t know if I could do it on race day! I was worried about how hard my long runs felt! But in the end it worked out.

In my recent half marathon I intended to run with my goal pacer but they were in a different wave than me. I found the closest marathon pacer but they were going a little slower than I wanted to for the first few miles, so I just ran on my own after that. I had my watch on manual and didn’t look at it during the race, just at each split. There were a couple spots where I missed the mile marker (I guess it was crowded) so I ended up just running by feel and beat my goal of 1:45 by 2 minutes for a 9 minutes pr(official time was 1:43:00).

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Liz, NINE MINUTES… huge huge huge congrats. That is AWESOME! So cool to hear what slowing down the long run did for you. It’s crazy how it all works! Love that plan that you used and running by feel and a huge PR, that is so great. Have a wonderful day Liz!

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Thank you!!!

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We do a fake tree….my family puts theirs up on Thanksgiving and we put up ours the day after.

The pacers help me out but I don’t purposely run with them. It’s nice to kind of use them as a guide though.

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It really is nice to have them close so you can have a good idea of where you are at. Have a wonderful time putting up your tree soon!

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I Ran with a pacing group my first half and it really helped me, especially when one of them stop for a bathroom break the same time as me so I stuck with her to catch back up! I do usually try and stay around a pacer so I don’t have to keep looking at my watch.

On days I run before work I always set my clothes (running and work) out the night before.

Real tree all the way! We used to go to a tree farm as a family and walk around all day finding the perfect tree and then cutting it down ourselves! It was the best day. Sadly no places like that where I live now but we still get a real tree.

Even when I’m not training I still enjoy a long run (13-14 miles) on the weekend and those are the times I try and add pace to them so I can be more prepared when I am actually training because I stick to a training plan like glue (if I can!)

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That is the best benefit of using the pacers… you don’t have to stare at your watch! I want to go to a tree farm, that is awesome. YES.. I’m with you on trying to keep in those longer runs on the weekend outside of training too (it makes it so much easier to jump into marathon training again). Have a wonderful day Sarah!

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Thanks for sharing about pacing. I ran a half this last Saturday and my pacing was all over the place. One of my worst races ever, but I learned a lot. Pacers seriously mess with my head so I try and ignore them.
I don’t set my stuff out, but it’s easily accessible so it’s no big deal.
I’m terrified of having real trees. I’m afraid the house will burn down. When I was a kid, a neighbor’s house burned down and they found out it was because of their Christmas tree. I use a fake tree and spray the Christmas tree scent or buy a sprig of the real stuff. Silly I know, but I can’t shake that fear…
Sometimes I think I want a coach, but I use articles or books to guide me so far. I might look into it.
I’ll look for your brother at the Phoenix Marathon. I love that race and do it every year!

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I’m sorry you had such a lame race but the lessons you learn will help you for the rest of your races (I’ve blown up in like 83% of my races ha). AHHHH NO NO WAY!!! That is so scary…. I’ll be watering mine like 4 times a day. I hope you see him too and if you do, say hi because it would totally pep him up. Have a wonderful day Lisa!

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I have paced 6 races and absolutely love it! My next pacing gig is in February.
I love a real tree! It goes up on Friday.
I lay out all the clothes the night before.

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Enjoy putting your tree up on Friday! That is awesome that you have paced and helped out so many runners. Have a great night Allyson!

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