How to race The Women’s Four Miler a half mile at a time!
START to the FIRST HALF MILE : This is a gradual but constant downhill half mile but because it’s at the start of the race, it’s to your benefit to keep tapping the brakes and take it out slower than your targeted race pace (i.e. Someone shooting for 32 minutes/8 minutes a mile would want to hit the half mile mark around 4:10-4:15). “Warming up properly” should be the overriding theme of this first half mile.
HALF MILE to MILE 1 : This is probably the “steepest” half mile downhill of the entire race, so take advantage of the descent by leaning into this portion of the race and picking up the pace (that 8 minute person would want to hit this one at about 3:55-4:00). Your “perception of effort” will be on the easy dial for this fast section.
MILE 1 to MILE 1.5 : Ah, this where things get a bit interesting as after the mile mark you begin a climb to the turn around, then a short downhill reprieve before climbing to 1.5 miles. At the turnaround you have to make a conscious effort to begin your “focused” phase of the race by looking straight ahead and not at all of the other runners and walkers, who will now be on the other side of the road. Many veterans claim that this is where they begin to let their guard down a bit too much and lose concentration, which leads to a slower second mile split (the 8 minute person would want to hit about 4:00 for this section). Stay focused!
MILE 1.5-MILE 2 : This half mile features one of the longest up hills of the course, so this is the time to start bearing down a bit more to avoid losing too much time. Having said that, it’s still important to not start breathing too heavily. Keep that “perception of effort” going. Our 8 minute person would want to split this at about 4:05-4:10.
MILE 2- MILE 2.5 : You will naturally get a bit of an adrenaline boost as you pass by the brunt of the spectators for this slightly uphill portion of the race. Don’t go crazy with pushing the pace…instead, stay focused and try to maintain your cruising pace (8 minute person would want to stay in the 4:00 zone).
MILE 2.5-MILE 3 : A gentle but unending ascent brings you to the steepest uphill portion of the course. This is where you want to really work hard because you’re not only getting closer to home but you’re also just around the bend from the fastest ¾ mile portion of the course (our 8 minute person should hit around 4:00-4:10).
MILE 3-MILE 3.5 : After cresting the steep uphill, open up your stride to the turnaround and then work hard up that last ascent. On the descent side, open it up again and start pushing the pace, as the course is now all downhill to the finish (8 minute person should hit 3:55-4:00).
MILE 3.5 to the FINISH : This portion is all gently downhill so really pick up the pace and GO! That 8 minute person should hit around 3:35-3:50.