I don’t consider myself to be an experienced racer. I’ve done less than two dozen races in the last two years. I’m still at the “stage” where I am able to PR, most of the time, because I’m simply getting faster by practicing.
Don’t get me wrong though, I put a lot of work into running.
I wake up at the crack of dawn, I sacrifice time with loved ones and I spend way too much money on running shoes, fuel and race entries.
I do it because I love it.
Running is my me time: my time alone with my thoughts, my time to “run-dance” to top 40 songs I’ve never heard because “Wheels On The Bus” is on repeat in my vehicles and my time to catch up on OITNB because my child stays up until 10 and I’m too exhausted to stay up after.
I love to run and I really love to race.
How To Make Your Next Race Your Best Race:
1. Figure Out What You Want To Accomplish. Do you have a goal(s) for the race? Do you want to PR, run with friends, run the whole distance without walking or take photos with every character during your RunDisney? From there, find a training plan that works for you. There are plans out there to turn walkers into runners and runners into sprinters and everything in between. My favorite training plan is the NYRR one. They customize a plan for you (based on a questionnaire you fill out and your goals) and then it adjusts as you input your mileage.
2. Treat Your Body Right. Learn how to properly fuel your body, stretch and add some cross-training. All of the above will make you a better runner. All of them are equally as important. You don’t want to get injured in the middle of training or feel weak during a run/race. Also, learn to embrace the taper! You may feel like you’ve lost all training but your body will thank you and you’ll be rewarded on race day with fresh, energetic legs!
3. Don’t Try Anything New On Race Day. Think of your long training runs as a dress rehearsal. Test out your fuel, clothes, technology, runners. You don’t want to deal with any “what-ifs” on race day. If you’re anything like me, you’ll already be nervous enough!
4. Listen To Your Body. If you need a break, take one. If you’re feeling a little ache somewhere, stop running. If you’d rather catch up on the latest episode of the Bachelorette, do it. It’s okay to step away from your training sometimes. Sticking to a plan can be exhausting some days. The nice thing is, you’ll usually end up craving a run in no time!
5. Have Fun! Most of my PR’s have come during the races I’ve trained hard for but also had fun in. The NYC Half was my favorite race! I trusted my training and enjoyed the atmosphere, trying to take it all in. Your best race doesn’t have to mean a PR. Some times it’s just about getting out there and having fun and enjoying running because you really do love it!
So, there you have it, some tips to make your next race your best race.
Have anything to add to the list?