Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Can running be a team effort?

Last week on our long run it was just H and I for 17 miles and she popped the question, no not that question! She asked how I felt about working together during our upcoming half marathon. My initial reaction was 'yeh, sure', you can pretty much ask me anything and that will be my response. She reassured me she knew races are everyman for themselves but maybe we could have a plan for the 1st few miles. 

I went home and as is always the way I fully digested what I had just agreed to. I have never run a race before as a team. I mean I've run countless relays but that's different. The whole concept of entering a race with a plan that involves working with someone else is so alien to me. I would have never thought of doing it myself. I worried that in agreeing I was somehow losing my competitive edge, not treating the race with my usual 100% do or die attitude? 
I decided that I would talk to H and tell her I didn't want to but then as the day wore on I really started to think about how this partnership could benefit me, both of us. I think it's so important to be conservative in the 1st few miles and I struggle to contain myself, if I was accountable to someone else pace wise then maybe that would be more likely to happen. Yes, maybe for the 1st 5 miles we could keep each other in check. Then I started to think about it some more. 

We work together a lot, we make a good team on the track and long runs week in week out, maybe it could work in a race? It's much harder to be upfront and setting a pace, imagine if we could take turns, mile about during the guts of the half, say miles 6-11....think of it as 3x 1 mile reps each, thus sharing the work load and the pressure of pace making...that's sounds kind of awesome. 
I think it might help psychologically too, breaking the race up that way into real separate chunks. 
I haven't talked to H anymore about it since she popped the question so these are merely my thoughts. I did check with Doug what he thought about us working together and he said he thought it was a great idea so we have coach clearance. Between the 3 of us I'm sure we'll come up with a good plan. 

It even got me thinking about the marathon in January. H and I share the same coach and are working towards the same goal, sub 3 in Houston. What if we could work together in that race too?! How incredible would it be to go up against 26.2 as a team, maybe the half will act as a good trial run to see how we both feel about it. 

It's funny how full circle I've come on this. It's not EVER something I would have thought up by myself and my initial reaction (after agreeing ;D) was 'wow, wait a minute, I really want to kick everyone's ass in every race I enter including you H!' but I think this might be the smart thing to do to get the fastest possible time I can. I am excited to talk to H and see what her thoughts are. I do think the plan should only extend to the first 11 miles, then it's just a case of give it what you've got for the last 2. Also, if she's feeling great and doesn't want to stick to the plan she can take off at any time she likes and ditto for me (but I don't see that being an issue for me).
I said I want to 'kick everyone's butt' but thats not really true, I don't think about placing or other runners when I race I am just trying to better myself (except for in the race when I try to pick off runners or beat them towards the finish of course!). I'm all about PR's at this stage. So if H and N (she's running the half too) were to go out and beat me, that's a ok, I'm interested in how I run and my time and I always want to see them do their best and have a great run. Oh, I don't think N is interested in teaming up, she announced on Sundays recovery run 'I don't even want to see your faces before the race'. :D She cracks me up and she meant it! I guess car pooling's out of the question then :D

I've really surprised myself on this as I am a VERY independent person. I don't do anything really with help from others, I am loath to ask for help I just like to get the job done solo, it always seems so much easier that way.

Have you ever teamed up during a race, is that what it feels like when you run with pacers? I've never run with a pace group before and was nervous about losing my competitive edge come Houston if I chose to then - does that sound nuts?!


  1. Two people near the same level? It's almost crazy not to work together. It will be a huge mental boost. The only issue is if one is having a bad day. You both need to recognize that can happen and change the plan. I've run with others before, and it is pretty awesome when it can be done.

    1. I guess it's a mental boost if you're running well, if I'm bright red of face and puffing away whilst she's cruising I might want to cry ;D
      I spoke to her today and she's leaning towards an even paced run so if that's the plan, it's not so much a team effort as 2 people with the same goal? So pretty solo really, right? I'm nervous about it!

  2. I've done it for lots of people, OK for a number of my athletes and it a couple of weeks (5 and counting) I will be running my next marathon. I'm scared to race, so i will just run with Richard in his first marathon (my 62nd) and another friend also just wanting another sub 3 hour will join us... So together we will run an ain at something between 2h50 and 2h59 (I hope to be in 2h44 shape, so it should!!! be easy for me.)

    I don't like racing marathons it's hard work and you need to train so hard (100+ miles a week) us mortals need to just run with our brains. So do the training together, and with sub 3 as your goal run together till one of you break, and as you've put it, with 2 miles to go, you girls can start racing each other, putting the hammer down, trust me it's the best way to run.

    Not as a team, but as friend!

    Good luck

    1. I think my uncertainty about this is because I'm scared NOT to race! This is only marathon number 2 for me and I want to get faster and I'm having 2nd thoughts about this team thing again! I'm nervous it's a cop out? I want to go out there and give it all I've got and run my own race........ I guess we'll see how the half goes and take it from there. She might kick my butt and leave me in the dirt come January :) Come to Texas and pace me for your 63rd marathon!

  3. I feel EXACTLY like you do! We should be able to pace with friends. It should help us but our personalities probably get in the way. I have a friend that I train with often. She wanted to work together for a half and I agreed. It ended up not working out because I was injured but the first few miles I was mentally a mess. I kept comparing our breathing, wondering which of us would beat the other. I love her and always want her to succeed but I am too competitive! It is odd though because I have no mental problem running with guy friends. I run with men in marathons all the time, but if its a girl I mentally start freaking out and want to speed up. I actually feel a bit guilty about this, lol.

    1. ugh, i am swithering and dithering again! I just did my threshold 6 (8 total) next to H on the treadmill at the Y (she jumps on next to me if there's one free) I feel like a fat lump next to her (same build and height but she is 7lbs lighter so it's not in my head :D) She does the comparison thing too, she'll say 'you're so easy when you're running that session' and I respond 'it is easy compared to your session, you do it on a 1.5 incline, I'm on the flat!' I'd like it stated for the record that I run it a little faster ;)
      It just doesn't feel like me. I might have to back out.... I hear you on the male/female thing, maybe because it's ok for men to be as good or even a bit better than us but another chick...not so much! I think it's really important for me to run my own race, I always have why stop now? We're going to ask coach Doug what he wants the plan to be so I'll probably just treat it as my plan and be 'solo' in my head, that'll work!