NYC Half Marathon, BQ Fitness Test

NYC Half Marathon


I started training for the NYC Half Marathon in early December, giving myself about a 14 week block. I took about two and a half weeks easy after the Staten Island Half to let my plantar issues subside. I decided to go with Hansons Advanced Half Marathon as my training plan. It has a good variety of workouts across 6 days a week including 1 interval workout, 1 tempo workout, and 1 long run. It peaks at about 55 mi/week. A nice thing about the plan is that you don't need to worry about going too fast on recovery days because you'll need them. I found the 3x2mi workouts at 10K were probably the hardest to pace out correctly. The long tempos (7-8mi) at slightly faster than target HMP (6:30) seemed to translate best to the race. I was always concerned with my cutdown long runs because I never quite managed to go fast enough, but I always did them late in my long runs to train running on tired legs.

Race Day

The conditions for the race weren't the best, roughly 28F at start with a 12-14 mph west to east wind. But overall, I'll take the cold over the heat any day. There's a picture of me wearing throwaway khakis and a hoodie to the start line. Unclear if I was racing or going to work... The course had quite a bit of elevation across the Manhattan Bridge and the segment from the UN building to Times Square. Central Park also has rolling hill segments, especially right before the finish line. The beginning of the race was a bit chaotic having to pass alot of folks who were going a bit slower. My heart rate and pace were all over the place as I worked to keep the 1:25 pace group in sight. I banked up some time on the downhill towards the Manhattan Bridge, kept my heart rate under control over the bridge, and then banked up some more time on the downhill. I tried to make up some time on the flat portions of the FDR knowing the uphills towards the end. The FDR section was probably the hardest as there was no wind protection, and it was dead silent.

The turn on to Times Square was such a unique New York moment: the roar of the crowd, the flashing lights, and all the buildings enveloping you. Even while gasping for air, I took some moments to appreciate running over the Manhattan Bridge, the FDR sightlines to the UN and Brooklyn, and then through a closed off Times Square. For this race, I didn't take any water and barely managed to get a quarter of the UCAN out of its packaging. The cold numbed the need for water, and I would've probably choked on water and miss my goal.

My goal coming into the race was sub 1:25, and I started having my doubts with the headwind and cold. But after checking my pace band at around mile 7, I was on pace for the time! I really had to clamp down on the austere FDR segment and double down on the goal. Flip the mentality to really get after it. I locked in to chasing the pace group ahead of me and passed them with about 800m left. I managed to finish in 1:24:48. I positive split the race, but I'm happy with the time considering that I felt like I was barely hanging on starting at mile 9. This was also my first half-marathon with the Alphaflys, and I must say that I am a believer, placebo or not. Legs just turnover, and I actually think they helped leave my legs intact after the race.

What's Next:

I told myself that I would only try to BQ this year if I managed to get sub 1:25, and I was actually really nervous that I would have to deliberate if I fell short. Thankfully, there's no discussion necessary! So now I'm excited to begin the Pftiz 18/70 plan for my next training block leading to the Tunnel Vision Marathon in August. The course in Washington is a steady downhill so I should have a bit of help hitting sub-3. Looking forward to the next block but will miss the days of running in cooler weather. Until next time!