Our first big race of 2022 is quickly approaching! We're only one week out from the 16th Annual Half Marathon Unplugged next Saturday, April 9th, and less than 40 spots remain. If you’ve been holding off on registering, now is a great time to become one of the 900 runners who will be taking part.
The nature of this course makes for a great kickoff to your season. With no big hills involved, the 13.1-mile out-and-back along the Burlington Bike Path offers an incredibly low-key, albeit memorable experience as you race with Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains beside you.
If you have a lot of winter training miles in your legs, you’re in a great place. If not, this is the kind of race that won’t beat you up too badly. One question I’ve gotten a lot over the years from runners is, “What do I do race week?”. To me, the answer really depends on how big a race this is for you.
There are two different perspectives to take here:
- Is Half Unplugged your target race where you’re looking to set a PR?
- Or, is this race part of the lead up to your target race?
In either case, making a plan and sticking with it gives you the best chance to be successful.
If you’ve had Unplugged circled in bright red on your calendar for at least a few months, and you are counting on a big race, here’s what I think should be the key elements of your training over the weekend and next week:
- Weekend: One day is 10 miles, with the first 5 kind of easy and the last 5 at your target pace for Raceday. The other day is 6-7 easy.
- If your harder weekend effort was on Saturday, and you went easy on Sunday, consider Monday as a day away from running (a recharge day, if you will), with Tuesday at 5-6 miles easy, and Wednesday at 5-6 miles with 4 half miles at race pace.
- If Sunday was your harder weekend effort, I’d run all 3 of these days but I’d cut the distance down to 4-5 miles each day (still including 4x half mile on Wednesday). I’m a firm believer in the value of getting an easy run in the day after a race or a hard training effort. For me, that always set me up to feel good 2-3 days later, more so than taking the day after a race off, which often left me feeling dead-legged a few days later.
- Thursday-Friday: Think “short and sharp”. I’d limit my duration on these days to 20-30 minutes, no matter what my target race pace was going to be. I just want to do enough to keep my mental focus on track. At the end of both of these runs I would recommend 4-6-8 striders, just little 8-10 second pickups concentrating on good form.
Given the nature of this course, I’d stick with flatter routes for training this week. Rolling terrain is okay, and avoid super hilly routes. Your goal is to come into next Saturday feeling as sharp as possible!
If Unplugged is more part of the journey than the destination for your racing this spring, here’s what I think is important with your training for the next 7 days:
- Weekend: One day is 10-15 miles – whatever makes sense in the bigger plan you’re working toward.
- If your target for this spring is a marathon or ultra, I’d be on the longer side of the recommended range.
- If you’re shooting for a good result at an upcoming half marathon or 10k, I’d be on the shorter side. Because you’re racing a half marathon next weekend, I wouldn’t be less than 10 this weekend (unless you’re doing a 2-week taper, which I think would be pretty long for a race like Unplugged).
- Monday-Thursday: A little shorter than your typical daily mileage on Monday & Wednesday, about the same on Tuesday & Thursday.
- When I was racing my best, I usually did an hour a day. Under this plan, I’d do around 45-50 minutes Monday & Wednesday, and I’d stick at an hour on Tuesday & Thursday. Wednesday I’d include 4x mile a little quicker than target race pace, with a half mile easy jog recovery.
- Friday: easy 30 minutes. For all runners, watch how you’re feeling this week.
If any small things start creeping up, it’s better to take a day off than to risk injury. Listen to your body so you can arrive at the start line feeling confident and as ready as you possibly could be.
You got this!
- Coach Joe Connelly, Director of Race Operations
If you've been following our 13.1 training plans, below are some quick guides for the final week of training for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced runners: