Each year that I have run the Akron Marathon, I have also run the Buckeye Half Marathon as a primer for the big day. My prior attempts have been at PR efforts, setting my current best half marathon last year at 1:49:09, which was a big milestone for me. This year, I decided to put more emphasis on my four-hour marathon goal.
As I pine for my paycheck so I can sign up for these races, I am left to dwell on race strategy. As the Buckeye Half Marathon is about two weeks away (Sept. 13), I'm considering how I should attack the race to best prepare for Akron (Sept. 26). The way I see it, I have three options.
Just Kill It
The most obvious strategy is to go after a my PR. Assuming all my speed work and higher mileage has paid off, I think a PR is doable. However, will balls to wall effort harm my chances at beating four hours at the marathon?
Turning the McMillan Running Calculator on its head, a four-hour marathoner should be able to run a 1:53:48 half marathon. While that is slower than my PR, it would rank as my second best performance. But again, would that pace drain my legs when technically I should be tapering?
My third option is to consider the race a marathon race pace training run. That means sticking to a 9:10 mile pace and logging my slowest half marathon ever at 2:00:05. That just seems wrong, but it may be the best option to prepare for the overall goal. It would get my mentally prepared to run at the right pace, but it would save my legs from going all out.
Here's the part where you offer your two cents, and I completely ignore it. Go forth and comment!