Can you help me understand how the training plan I am following for an upcoming half marathon will translate to my performance on race day?
To be clear from the outset, this is my first half marathon. I've run two 15k's and am really a recreational runner just discovering that I dig longer distances. I am not running this to race per se nor to beat a PR. I am somewhere between "I just want to finish!" and "I am seriously training for a fast run with a great finishing time."
I am following a training plan from RunnersWorld.com's Smart Coach
(sorry, I think you need to log-in to even see the feature), in which you input a recent race time (I used my 15k time) and it provides you with a training plan and predicts the pace at which you will run the race itself. I am also kind of triangulating with Hal Higdon's plans to make sure that I am more or less on a sound, trusted track.
So, I'm following what I believe is a more or less conventional training plan, which is that I am doing per week: 2 low mileage runs at a comfortable pace, one tempo run or speedwork, and one long run, also at an easy pace. (To be clear, all of this is tailored to my personal training level and recent run times, so when I say "easy pace" and "low mileage," I mean for me specifically.)
What I don't understand, or maybe believe, is that after doing most of my mileage at an easy pace (save for my weekly speedwork or tempo runs) is this: when I get out there on raceday, I will be running significantly faster, which is what the SmartCoach predicts, with an average pace that is 1.5 minutes faster per mile than my training runs.
Can anyone tell me how this is possible and/or share relevant experiences that speak to this? I can't believe that after getting used to running 9, 10, 11, 12 miles at a particular pace, I will be able to do 13 miles at a more demanding pace.
Thank you in advance!