Semi-marathon de Lausanne

My last race of the summer was CCC at the end of August. After that I took off the whole month of September as a period of unstructured training. I didn't have any goals and gave myself the freedom to run as much as and whenever I wanted, even if that meant not running at all. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, I still went out to run, but the mileage was low, most runs were easy, and I didn't do any long runs.

In October I started training again with purpose and focus. My goal for October was to work on my speed efficiency, something I had cut down as I worked on long mountain miles preparing for trail races in the summer. I used this article by David Roche as a guide for the types of training session I did in October. The details and a review of the month are available in another blog post with the numbers and analysis.

Last week, when I saw that the Lausanne marathon was taking place, I thought that it would be a good idea to end off the training block with a race. I entered the half-marathon which started at the civilised time of 13h45 on Sunday afternoon. After great weather for the whole month, the weekend of the race arrived with rain, lots of wind, and a severe drop in temperature. Despite this, or perhaps because of this, I decided that doing the race would be even better, as I probably wouldn't have gone out in those conditions to run that hard for that long if I was just going out by myself.

My plan for the race was to run it as a progression run. The pacing plan was:
  • 10km at 4:00/km
  • 8km at 3:50/km
  • the last 3km faster or at whatever pace I could achieve 

The start line in La Tour de Peilz.

The race started well and I felt great through the first 10km. I started a little fast, but I found a few people who were running the pace I wanted to run so I settled into a group and shielded myself from the wind. The route rolled along with very gentle ups and downs, but the wind blew at us off the lake whenever there wasn't any shelter. I took my first gel at 7km and felt a little boost which was amazing.

This is just after getting started during the little loop around La Tour de Peilz.

At 10km I pulled out of the group and tried to pick up the pace a little to hit my second target. I could immediately feel the headwind as I worked my way up to the next group. All through this section I jumped past people and then fought to hold my own pace in the wind. At 14km I took another gel which gave me another boost. However, by 17km I was starting to fade and I just managed to make it to 18km at around the pace I had hoped to achieve.

The last section of the race was tough. I wanted to run super fast through the last three kilometers to the finish, but my legs just didn't have it. I held on for as long as I could and got to the finish in 1:23:11. I was happy with that time and how I ran considering the conditions.

In Lausanne running up the finishing chute.

The event was well organised and fun. I enjoyed running along the lake road and having lots of people around to pace off (and shield me from the wind!).

My next training block involves longer intervals (rather than the short 20-30" speed efficiency intervals), tempos and long runs. I think that this will be a good way to build on October's efforts, as I felt I could hold the pace easily enough from a mechanical perspective, but I lacked the endurance to maintain the pace for the full 21km.