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Trail Time Questions

As you might know already, I'm running a trail half marathon in a week. A WEEK. So excited I can't contain myself. This will be my longest race to date and while I know I can handle the distance (I've run up to 15 miles in my training) I'm at a loss about pacing. Ok fine, I'm at a loss about a lot of stuff but right now let's stick to pacing. On the road, I run with a specific time in mind. If I run on a trail, I normally don't pay much attention to the Garmin, unless it's telling me how to get back to the car since I'm hopeless at finding my way.
Anyone know where home is? Anyone?

When I ran my two previous races I wasn't worried about times or splits or paces at all. They were on trails, and they were tough. I just ran the best I could and crossed my fingers. Is this how you run trail races, if you've run them before? Or do you race with a specific time in mind?

13 K Trail Race without a Garmin. Or even Mile Markers!

I ran an easy 6 miles today, at a 9:30 pace. Considering what to do about my normal long run for this weekend. I know I want it to be much shorter than normal, but haven't decided on the length quite yet.

Taking my own advice about salads, here is yesterday's with spinach, sweet potato, green beans, flax, grapes, strawberries, and balsamic. Yum!!

What is your mentality when you run or race on a trail--are you still concerned about time?
Since I got a Garmin (6 months ago) I'm paying a lot of attention to my paces. I'll try to run based on effort rather than stressing during the race if I'm running too slow for my expectations!

How do you taper for a half-marathon? 
I know I don't need to taper as much as for a full marathon, but I will definitely cut my mileage this coming week. I'll keep the normal speeds the same but much shorter distances! 


  1. Hmm, I don't really have any advice to give, but I am interested in what others have to say because I'm running a trail 5K this summer, and even though I won't be "racing" (I'm running it with my mom... she just started the couch to 5K program!), I'm still curious about how people handle themselves on trail races.

  2. I've never run a trail race before! I think I would cross by fingers and hope for the best though haha. They definitely seem harder. For me, personally, I perform better when I don't put to much stress on myself. Go in to have fun and convince yourself you're going to rock the race, and you WILL.

  3. Trail racing is all about effort. You can't run by pace, because the terrain varies so much from course to course and from mile to mile. I've run all of my trail races with a heart rate monitor to help ensure that I don't start out with too much effort, and flop at the end (but I also train with a heart rate monitor, so I know exactly what heart rates I can handle for certain amounts of time). My actual pace will vary by about 3 to 4 min/mile, depending on whether I'm running uphill, downhill, .....

    My first trail race, I could have finished faster. Second one was pretty good. Third one, I went out way too fast and crashed at the end (it was only a 10k). ...... Still learning.

    Anyways, all of that to say that trail racing is all about the effort level, and not about the pace. I always have a goal time in my mind, but you can't just take your goal time, divide it by the distance, and run even mile splits.

    Hope that makes sense (still kind of jet lagged and not sure how well my brain is functioning).

  4. No idea on the questions since I'm such a newbie but I'll be soaking up the advice like a sponge.

  5. I don't know too much about trail running in races yet! I would think it would be based primarily on effort! I'm excited to run some at some point!

    Tapering for a half. I do similar to you. Keep up the intensity but cut the mileage. Hope you have a blast! Good Luck!

  6. I've never run a trail race, so I'm super excited to hear about yours!

    I didn't really taper for my half. It probably wasn't my best decision, but it turned out fine in the end.

  7. I think people worry less about time on trails, especially if its their first time on the course. If you repeat the race next year, then you have a time to beat.

    good luck!

  8. I don't know if I've ever run on a trail before, nevermind a race, nevermind a half marathon, haha. I will be really interested in hearing your review afterwards!

  9. I'm horrible about tapering! I've gotten better, though, and I'm still active the week before, I just dial it down. I also try to throw in one or two yoga sessions as well.

  10. I'm excited to hear about it too! I've only run one race that's 60% trail...the only thing is don't expect to run even splits! Because the terrain will probably be really different in different places. Unfortunately, I am always worrying about time even when I shouldn't (in trail races!)
    Good luck!!!

  11. i have no idea but good luck!!! and have fune!

  12. Good luck in your half! You will do great!

  13. I haven't done a lot of trail running but I would definitely not worry to much about pace. Trail running is a lot harder than road running and you don't want to risk injury.

    I don't usually taper for halfs but I always wish I would have. Always better to have fresh legs!

  14. While I haven't run a trail race, I have done a few runs on trails...and came to find out (quickly) that I could not have a goal pace. Just run comfortably and have fun! Very excited to hear how it goes!

  15. I've actually never done a rail run, but your salad looks delcious! :)

  16. Good luck on your trail run. I wish I had some advice but never had a chance to do that yet. I am sure you will do GREAT :)

  17. good luck on your race next week, i'm sure you'll do amazing. i have yet to try a trail race, sounds like a good time though!

  18. i have yet to run a trail race but it is definitely a goal of mine...2 of my favorites (nature and running) at the same time!?! sounds totally like my thing!

    I am SO excited for you. I am sure it will be an amazing experience. I agree...I do not need to taper as much for a half but I usually feel okay running 8-10 miles the weekend beforehand.

    That salad looks super delicious!

  19. I did my first trail race today and wasn't quite sure what to expect so my mentality was totally "just finish without breaking any bones" haha.

  20. I am training for my first trail race - a 50K and just recently did two long runs on the trail. I was so excited to see this post and read the responses. Based on my limited trail running experiences I think I am going to follow the commenter's advice who said to run by effort, not pace. Can't wait to read your review!

  21. Trail runs are wonderful and so so so different than road races. Here's my advice: don't run with a time and pace in mind. Just focus on the changing terrain and teh effort you're putting into the run. Also, don't run with music. Best of luck! Can't wait to read about the race.


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