KP Half Marathon Countdown – Thursday (3 days to go)
Click here to download the course maps: KP Half and 5K course map
First of all, be sure you’ve looked at the course map linked above. You don’t have to memorize every mile mark but try to have a general idea where some of them are. You will race better when you know where you’re going.
I suggest you break the race into three sections:
- Start to Mile 4 (Panhandle back to JFK Drive) – Conservative; about five seconds per mile slower than your goal pace.
- Miles 4 to 7 (downhill through the park) – Use the downhill in the park from the museums to the beach and run fast. Try to pick the pace up by ten seconds per mile from your first four miles (i.e. five seconds per mile faster than goal pace).
- The last HALF of the race, Miles 7 to the End (Great Highway) – Yes, this is almost half the race. You can still catch a lot of people and make up a lot of time on the Great Highway (if you didn’t go out too hard). Plan to be the one who is catching people on the Great Highway. Start trying to pass people as soon as you get on the Great Highway. Catching and passing people is an exhilarating feeling. Passing the first person is the hardest. Once you pass one person, you’ll then try to pass more. With each person you pass, you’ll feel better and better and the fast pace will become easier and easier. See if you can hold the pace you were running downhill through the park or go faster (if so, hello big PR!). If not, lock on to your goal pace and you should still hit your goal time.
The 5K is a fun run and the course isn’t certified. That being said, I have run the course and because of the downhill it is a fast course. The 5K course is marked on the above pdf course map with dashed lines.
The start for the 5K and half marathon are at the same time and same place. The 5K course makes a sharp right turn after about 400 meters. Line up on the right side of the start line so you won’t have to cut across traffic to make the turn. Be on the lookout throughout the race to make sure you are on the 5K course! The first mile is pretty flat. The only uphill of any significance is right before the first mile mark as you go from MLK Drive up to Stow Lake. On this course you can really hammer out a fast last mile…which means, don’t be afraid to press the second mile (which also has lots of downhill)….you won’t die….gravity will be your friend and help get you to the finish line.
Some other important things to keep in mind for pre-race Sunday morning.
- Parking. Remember that it’s a point to point course. Ten thousand runners means not a lot of extra parking spaces. Check the website and race program for parking information.
- If you want to park by the finish line there are two main lots, either on the Great Highway or up above the Cliff House. You can either run to the start (approximately two miles) or take the race provided shuttle. Shuttles begin at 6:15 A.M.
- If you park by the start line you can either run back to your car for a cool-down after the race or take one of the shuttles that will run up Fulton from the Great Highway to 8th Avenue.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to:
- Get in line for the port-a-potties.
- Check your sweats.
It may be a little Type A to plan out all this stuff but having a plan and giving yourself extra time to park, ride the shuttle, go to the bathroom, and check your sweats can really pay off. You want to minimize stress before the race. Planning this stuff out is one way to do just that.