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  • Writer's pictureMickey Ferri

Mountains 2 Beach 2019 - Half Marathon Planning Tool

Here is a screenshot of my Excel planning spreadsheet from Wednesday, May 22, 2019 (four days before the Mountains 2 Beach Half Marathon (May 26):

If you’re interested in using it for yourself or modifying for another race, here is a link to a downloadable Excel version you can edit for yourself: DOWNLOAD M2B Half Marathon Planning Spreadsheet - BLANK.xlsx

Instructions for Time and Pace (Excel)

  1. Doawnload the Excel version here: M2B Half Marathon Planning Spreadsheet - BLANK.xlsx

  2. Save the file as "M2B Half Marathon Planning Spreadsheet - [YOUR NAME]"

  3. Update any and all of the cells in yellow, starting with Athlete

  4. Update Target for Finishing time. The default target for overall time is set to 2:00 (2 hours). Top runners finish in about 1:00 (1 hour). Less experienced and slower runners finish half marathons in 3:00 or longer. 2:00 is a solid time, and 1:30 is very good! All paces and figures in the below table will update automatically.

  5. If you'd like, update Pace Diff from Target (s) in column G. These are in seconds, positive numbers are slower than your target average, and should be based on your overall racing strategy, as well as elevation gains and losses within each mile. The default numbers are based on a conservative start. Note that elevation changes may not be exact, and are based on looking at the Elevation guide in the M2B Info Packet.

  6. Cells in Green and Red are the keys to remember and look out for during the race!

Advanced Instructions for Heart Rate, Cadence, and Stride Length (Excel)

  1. Heart Rate. Your HR should gradually increase throughout the race. It may not be steady linear increases, rather increases to specific plateaus, then stabilizing, then continuing to increase. If you know your anaerobic threshold (either from Garmin or a HR Zone testing program), you want your HR to be below this as long as possible to keep lactic acid from building up. The spreadsheet is set up for you to input an Initial HR target and a HR Increase per mile which will show you approximately when your heart rate should be at specific rates for your awareness.

  2. Cadence. For many runners, cadence will gradually decrease as fatigue sets in. The spreadsheet is set up for you to input an Initial Cadence target and a "Decrease per mile." This is useful to track if you're wearing the Garmin watch, and especially if you have the Running Dynamics pod, which will also track real-time stride length, vertical oscillation, and ground contact time. Stride Length will update automatically based on the mathematical formula.

If you are running a different half marathon, feel free to adjust the "Elevation Gain" and "Elevation Loss" each mile

Planning is important and fun. Of course, all the numbers, data, and planning won't do the work for you - your brain and body still have to do the work on race day!

If you have any thoughts, comments, or questions, comment below or email

Good luck!





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