By: Michael Harlow
Below is a review of the Shamrock Half Marathon course. Before reading this, we recommend you read our other article, “How to Race the Half Marathon.”
This course is flat and fast. The biggest thing to contend with is the wind which you should minimize through tucking in behind another runner, or better yet group of runners, during the windy sections. Here is the breakdown of the course:
0-3 Miles: Flat and should be a tail wind based on current weather predictions (8 mph SSE). If a tail wind, you will feel good but do not get excited and blow your race here by running too fast. You should be watching goal pace closely and banking the energy savings.
3-6.5 Miles: This section is on Shore Drive and finishes with a little in Fort Story. The entire section is slightly uphill though you will feel it less on Shore Drive which is protected largely from the wind. Once you turn into Fort Story, it will feel more uphill because you will encounter a headwind for the first time here as well. When I say uphill, I am talking slight though. Continue to run smart holding goal pace but not getting excited and running faster than goal. You need to run the first 6.5 miles the smartest.
6.5-10 Miles: This section is slightly downhill finishing the Fort Story section and making a left onto Atlantic Avenue. Even though it is slightly downhill, it is usually one of the tougher sections as there is usually wind (which we predict this year). If you are on pace, I encourage you to hold it here. If you are off pace but feeling good, this is a section where you might want to lift the pace slightly to bring yourself back to goal. Don’t get overly ambitious though.
10-12.5 Miles: This is the remaining section of Atlantic Avenue. The best part about this section is all the crowd support. Unfortunately, you will probably have wind in our face on this section, but it should not be too bad. This is where the race begins. Now is the time to ignore your goals, ignore your HR, and start lifting the pace slightly at first and with everything you have by the end. Be tough and seek to nearly empty the tank by the end.
12.5-13.1 Miles: Left turn and then right turn onto the boardwalk. If windy, this will be tough as it always is anyway as the finish line seems so close yet so far away. Try to run behind someone drafting them and empty the tank which requires them to want to empty the tank as well. Go for it here…all the pain will be over in a short couple of minutes – GO!!!
You are all going to do great!! Believe in yourself and make it a reality!