Half Marathon Race Report

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Another race day today. I ran in the Asheville Citizen Times Half Marathon. The week immediately following my 10K Trail Championship race I ran easy but hilly runs and then, since these two races were only two weeks apart, stepped right back into resuming by training for this race. In order to do race specific training, I did most of my training runs on the half marathon course, which is an extremely hilly course meandering through the neighborhoods on the north side of the city. I basically trained right up to the race, doing 6-7 mile runs every day (with the exception of a bike day) until the Friday before the race, when I “tapered.”

My strategy during my training runs and during the race was to use my legs as little as possible on all the uphill sections, while at the same time exaggerating the use of my upper body (forward armswing and increased lean). On the downhill sections my objective was to lean into the downhills and allow my stride to lengthen as much as possible. I was basically trying to run as fast as I could safely manage on all the downhills by cooperating with the pull of gravity.

On the uphills and flats I was also toying with a new concept I’m working on with my stride where I’m using my obliques to drive my pelvis (the active use of pelvic rotation) which in turn drives my legs. Running this way allows me to hold a good pace on the uphills without using any leg muscle per se because my legs become simply an extension of my pelvis. It is proving to work incredibly well, and tonight as I’m writing this blog I don’t sense even a smidgeon of fatigue or soreness in my legs. For those of you just learning the ChiRunning technique, I don’t advise attempting this technique until you are at the point with your running where you are adept at neutralizing your legs, using them strictly for momentary support between strides and never for propulsion. I’ll talk more about this technique in future blogs and I hope to incorporate it into future “advanced” ChiRunning courses. Let me know if you’d be interested in hearing more.

The physical details: I finished first in my age group with a chip time of 1:37:38, an average pace of 7:27/mile. I’m guessing the course had a total elevation gain of over 1000′. I ran the race in a pair of the new Newton shoe called the Isaac. We had absolutely perfect race weather with heavy cloud cover and temperatures in the 60′s-low 70′s. The race was extremely well organized and supported with aid stations about every mile and a half! The volunteers were fabulous.

If you’d ever like to run a challenging but beautiful 13-mile tour of Asheville I highly suggest training for this one. It’s right up there in my list of the most beautiful race courses.


Posted in Technique

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