This is our 7th year to run this workout and, though some folks get tired of doing it, it has a proven track record of being a great way to practice half marathon goal pace (HMGP) under a race simulation environment (hence "LAB", as in "laboratory").
The workout starts at the baseball fields across from Gullet Elementary where the Little League plays on Great Northern Blvd. We will start running at 6:45 AM. Be RTG: Ready To Go! If you have bathroom needs or want to find friends, have that already done. There are 1-2 port-a-potties at the fields. There's a driveway into the ball field parking lot where we will stage the pace groups.
The course consists of a 3.5 mile loop that runs south on Great Northern Blvd, left on White Rock, left on Shoal Creek Blvd, left on Foster Ln, and left on Great Northern Blvd. Each half mile of the course will be marked with a cone. This is to allow you to try to be as accurate as possible for the run. It's important not to go out too fast. Be sure to keep it easy for the warm up portion of the run.
This is intended to be a race-simulation workout. There are 2 aid stations, one at the start/3.5 mile point and one approximately 1.5 miles in.
Shoal Creek is heavily cambered (or crowned) to allow water to run off easily, and this can really bother some folks, especially those with IT band problems. Given the size of our group and the traffic on these roads, we cannot run in the middle of the street. Everyone should stay on the left hand side, facing traffic along Shoal Creek, and then on the right hand side, facing traffic along Great Northern. It is not safe running against traffic on Great Northern, so run in the bike lane provided, and run with traffic.
Our aid station at the start/finish will be small and lightly manned. You need to plan for this in your HMGP, just like you would in a race environment. Either pick up the pace or slow down, but do NOT skip this aid station. You need the practice and you need the water/PowerAde. unless you carry your own water or drink, you'll want to stop here. There will also be one unmanned stop on Shoal Creek.
To keep water/PowerAde off of your shirt and face, squeeze the mouth of the cup and get the two sides to touch. Then, slurp the water out of the cup. Take your time and as many drinks as necessary. Don't throw the cups away until you know you're done or the cup is empty.
This is a good time to try out gels and electrolyte replacement methods. Many people have stomach troubles with different brands and each individual is different. See how your body reacts to different brands and flavors before race day! If you have problems during or after the run, talk to your coach about other options, what went wrong, and what to fix.
Remember: we don't own the road. Given the size of our group, we cannot take up the entire road. With an earlier start time, we can minimize the impact on traffic. Do not make the situation worse by running in the middle of the street. This is totally unacceptable and, in order to continue to use the roads, we must abide by the rules.