Friday, July 16, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot... Humid?

I'm running the Fleet Feet Women's Festival 10K tomorrow morning, and have been fretting all week about how to approach it. My training has been all over the place for the last three weeks --- Buddy was sick, then we were on vacation, then Buddy was sick again --- but mostly I'm bothered by the forecast: HOT!

90 degrees hot, though based on the last couple of days, it's likely to be about 80 degrees at race time.

And if that weren't enough, it's also due to storm, so it may well be HUMID, which is what really kills me.

I ran a 10K at the beginning of April and was disappointed with my experience. Then I signed up for 10K in mid-May and it turned out to be hot (about the same as forecast for tomorrow, actually) and I ended up not finishing. Doubly disappointing. So I signed up for two more 10K, the Run for the Zoo at the beginning of June (which I did with Buddy as a fun run), and tomorrow's.

Can you see I probably have a little too much riding on this?

I'm trying to remember that it's about the race experience, not the results. I want to go out strong and steady but not too fast, so that I can push myself increasingly more as the race goes on. I don't yet have a good sense of what "strong and steady and not too fast" should be, and that is what has hurt me in the past. That's what I've been wanting to rectify.

So I did a little research on racing in the heat, and of course I've been training in it these last two months, and I've come up with the following plan.

First of all, I'm bringing my own water with me, my awesome hand-held Amphipod, and will make sure to take sips frequently. (Thank you to the saleswomen at Fleet Feet, who understood my unhappiness with having anything around my waist --- as opposed to the salesmen there who kept recommending different running packs).

Then, given that every five-degree rise in temperature above 60° can slow you down by 20-30 seconds per mile, I am adjusting my goal pace to 10:55. (I train based on a 9:35 10K pace.)

Here are my actual goals, in the order of my likelihood of achieving them:
  1. Finish!
  2. Finish with a negative split.
  3. Finish with a negative split, faster than 10:55 pace.
  4. Then, because I'm in better shape than I was three months ago, and because I've been training in the heat, the dream goal would be to finish at or faster than that 10K, despite the weather.
Of course, if it's super steamy, all bets are off, and I make this a fun run on my favorite course.

Wish me luck (and dry skies)!

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