Race Week: Madison Half Marathon

Madison Half Marathon 2017

Madison Half Marathon 2017

It is race week everyone, Madison Half Marathon! I am pretty excited since I havent raced anything since Steelhead 70.3 in August. The training has been going very well and when training is going well, you want to race!

The Madison Marathon and Half Marathon is a huge event that starts on the Capital Square. It is one of last races of the year and attracts thousands of runners.

The course is hard because of all of the hills. Short hills, steep hills, long hills. However, what comes up must come down. Don’t think that you cannot run fast on hilly courses, you just have to run them right!

A half marathon is a challenging event to pace because it is close to your lactate threshold, but you cant run directly at your lactate threshold because you’ll bonk. I think of it as running on the point of uncertainty. Can I hold this pace? Yes? No? If I am having self doubt than I am running the right effort. From mile 1 I will be second guessing my pacing.

Also, I will rarely look at my running watch for the entire 13.1 mile race. Running a hilly race requires you to have a good sense of running off effort because your pace will constantly be slower and faster than what you want to average. When you have a constant influx of pace, that can create self doubt. I’ve been running long enough where I know the level of discomfort I can hold for certain distances. 

Race week is also interesting because its when you see alot of people self sabotaging all of the work they’ve put in. 

  1. Creating less aggressive goals

  2. Creating more aggressive goals

  3. Thinking they can run faster on race day, because its race day

  4. Thinking adrenaline will provide 5% increase in fitness

  5. Going to a Low Carb, High Fat Diet

  6. Going to a High Carb, Low Fat Diet

  7. Become Vegan

  8. Binge eating terrible food because your goals “dont matter”

  9. Figuring out your nutrition plan at the expo

  10. Asking your friend what pace you should run

  11. Buy a different pair of shoes because they will be faster 

These are all common mistakes people make race week. Seriously. They happen. 


Everyone gets nervous race week. Nerves make people do funny things. Things that you would never have done in your lead up to the race. 

How do you distract yourself from making these errors? Reinforce your race goals. Remind yourself how hard you worked. Go back and reread your training journal. Visualize your race before bed each night. Go to the expo with a friend to ensure you don’t buy anything silly. 

It’s going to be under 30 degrees for the race and that makes me very happy. Running in colder weather allows me to keep my core temperature down so you can run hard. I will be wearing half tights, a tight base layer with a t-shirt over it, gloves, and a breathable winter running hat. I do run with music and i’ve already created my playlist for race day. 

My A Goal is to break 1:23. Last year I ran 1:24:XX which was a 6:26 average pace. Breaking 1:23 means I need to average 6:20 pace. That is my A Goal. My realistic goal is to break 1:24 and to do that I need to average 6:23s.


I was blessed with short stubby legs which makes me excellent at running uphill but not downhill. One of my execution goals is to actively push the downhills out of my comfort zone. On a regular basis I get to run with an incredible athlete, Robin, who is shorter than me and is one of the best downhill runners. There is hope! My other execution goal will be to run more confident on the flat sections. If I dont execute these two things…I wont make up the time I lost on all of the uphills. 

My cycling and swimming this week will be reduced. This is also a recovery week for me so reducing volume and intensity is making my body feel good and my motivation high.

Lets go have some fun!