Sunday, January 25, 2009

Brooklyn Half for Beginning Runner

There's a comment on an earlier post that, rather than respond in that thread, let me talk about it here.

Samantha asked:

How's the Brooklyn looking so far? I am training to run it, but honestly, it's my first race, so I'm not sure I can get up to speed by then.

Here's a couple of answers (and blog readers, chime in, please)

First off, the Brooklyn Half is in four months. There shouldn't be a race cap (it's not being run in Central Park), and I'd expect you can put in your application by March.

You have plenty of time to train for it, and there are a lot of strategies that you can use. Jeff Galloway writes a lot about beginning runners, and he suggests using the run/walk strategy (i.e. run for 5 minutes, walk for 2) as you gradually build your mileage. The goal is stresses is not to worry about time, but the distance. I would suggest that you want to have done a run of at least 8 to 10 miles, and brought your weekly mileage up to at least 20 miles a week (it's doable otherwise, just may hurt more).

JackRabbit has a beginning runners class (fee-based) that is specifically targeting the Brooklyn Half (and there's one going on now). There are also various groups that gather at Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Park on the weekend mornings (Prospect Park Track Club and Slope Sports have one at 8 a.m. - pace and participation vary - that's free). There's also a Team in Training group that I've seen at various points in the park - I'll see if I can dig up contact info on that.

If you've never run a race before, I'd suggest running in a shorter race (5K to 10K) beforehand - not so much for time, but to understand what race conditions can be like. The NYRR has a calendar on its Web site, and I try to post races in the Brooklyn area on this blog as well.

Hope this is of some use (feel free to respond if there are any questions). Good luck!


Janet said...

I agree with everything above, plus I'd make sure to do some training specific to the race:
Do a couple of runs on the Boardwalk so you're used to it and are aware of the flaws in that surface. Even if you can't make it to the Boardwalk for a run, take the subway out and walk up and down so you know what you're dealing with.
Take into account that you're on a slight uphill on the whole Ocean Parkway section, so train for that either there, on a similar grade, or on a treadmill at grade.
Train in Prospect Park so you know what's coming on the last loop, and especially so you're used to running the big hill even when you're tired. If you know this hill you will have an advantage over the runners for whom the Park is an alien landscape.

Brett said...

Thanks for the great advice. All of my races have been Corporate Challenge or 5K in the parks so the course info is very helpful.

Any ideas when we can start signing up for the race?

Brett said...

Sorry, missed that paragraph about race caps and March.

Samantha said...

janet, It's funny you say that, I live right near the boardwalk and run there ALL the time during the summer.

Right now I am up to running about 10 Miles a week. My last run on saturday was a 5mi which went really, really well. Unfortunately this is all on treadmills so far. I'm hoping to get outside and run sometime in February.

I definitely need to get to PP and do some laps there, I never have been because it's out of the way, and the boardwalk is so much closer. Also the Ocean Parkway idea is great, since I live right by there too---So I guess I should have a BIG advantage after all, huh?!

i really appreciate the post and all the responses. I definitely feel like it's within my reach.