“You don’t have to go the extra mile, only part of it.”
I’m fresh off pacing my very first 10k event, part of the annual Minneapolis Get in Gear race series. It was a great time, filled with several of my usual pace experiences – running with awesome people, getting hugs, at least one person asking about my pacer sign, and even a post-race photo request with a proud finisher.
What was interesting, though, was a question I got about a mile into the race; one I had never been asked before but is part of my strategy every race. A fellow runner asked how I factor the 0.2 into my overall pace to hit the goal finish.
Let me tell you, I respect that 0.2, both in a 10k and a marathon. Same with the 0.1 in a 5k and half marathon. Whether I’m training, racing, or pacing, I’m very conscious of races that don’t end on an even mileage number, which is most of them, and I factor that mileage number into my overall time and pace strategy.
In a nutshell, I always – repeat ALWAYS – train for the 0.1 or 0.2 by adding that little extra mileage onto my long runs, and some of my shorter ones, too.
This isn’t just me, I do it when I create running plans for others. I recently created a half marathon training plan for my friend, Jess, and you can bet her long run goals ended with a 0.1.
Why do I feel so strongly about the 0.1 and 0.2? Why do I always train for it and suggest you do too? Here’s why.
Train for Distance
A 5k is 3.1 miles, not 3. A marathon is 26.2 miles, not 26. So, I see this question as, not, “why do I train for the extra distance,” but “why would you NOT train for the extra distance?” And, p.s., it’s technically not ‘extra’ distance, it’s simply the total distance. It’s going to show up on race day so it needs to show up on your training days.
Train for Mental
You know the joke, “A person who says a minute goes by fast has never been on a treadmill.” If your mind has you banking on ending your run as soon as the watch chimes on the even mile, those last few paces are going to feel incredibly long and painful.
Train for Extra-Long
All watches don’t track distance the same and rarely does a race end on the exact distance it’s advertised. More often than not, races go long. My 10k I just paced, for example, ended as 6.3 miles, while a full marathon I ran a couple years back was closer to 26.4 (according to my watch). In these cases, the total distance was closer to a half mile more than the even mileage number – pretty significant. All the more reason to get yourself prepared to push a little further with every long run.
Train for a PR
Remember how I talked about the mental aspect of having to keep running those last fractions of a mile when your brain thinks it should already be done? If you’re going for a specific time goal and you don’t factor in that extra distance, it can be the difference between a solid PR or blowing up your time. If you train for the added distance, you’ll already be used to accommodating it and the extra time it adds to every run.
How many of you already train for the 0.1 or 0.2? Just me? Comment or tweet me, @runlikeagirl311.
As always, if you liked this post, please share it on Facebook or Twitter. If you want to go ahead and include a photo of your watch, showing the miles you ran – with the 0.1 or 0.2, of course – that would be supercool!