Welcome to Tuesdays on the Run, where with Patty from My No-Guilt Life, Erika from MCM Mama Runs and I host a great group of writers each week. Today’s topic is my worst race (and what it taught me). I have had way more good races than bad races, but I still have had a few tough and miserable experiences. I’m proud that I finished each one and I know I’ve learned a lot from the bad races.
I’ve already posted about my first race ever which was chock full of “learning experiences” so I thought that today I’d share what I learned from my Tink Half last year. I’d had such a wonderful time at the 10k the day before that I didn’t expect any issues during the Half. I made a ton of bad decisions and paid the price. While I finished, it was a miserable slog.
- If you’re going to run a challenge (more than one race in a weekend) you actually have to train for it. I’d tried to run back to back days in training, but got injured so I just trusted in being able to train for the Half distance. After running out of steam during Tink, I decided to train differently for the Glass Slipper Challenge. Knowing that I couldn’t run back to back days in training, I followed Jeff Galloway’s suggestion of doing a speed walk on Saturday that was half of the distance of the long run on Sunday. And it made a huge difference!
- Stay off of your feet as much as possible the day before a race. It was my first trip to Disneyland and I was so hyped up from the fun of the 10K that I spent most of the day walking around Disneyland, California Adventure and the Expo. While I had a great time, I certainly didn’t set myself up for success the next day.
- Fuel properly and adequately, especially for a challenge race. I was so committed to sticking to a low carb and low calorie diet that I really didn’t eat nearly enough the day of the 10K. I just didn’t have the fuel I needed for a half marathon the next day.
- Don’t try anything new on race day. Yes, I know, I know. I already knew this logically, but I decided to try a new version of nuun that I found at the Expo. And it did not sit well at all. I didn’t read the label carefully and didn’t realize it had caffeine in it, which I had not trained with.
- Have a plan. And a backup plan. I knew I was tired on race morning and not feeling great and I couldn’t decide whether to use walk intervals or not. I decided not to set my watch for the walk intervals but to just use them if I needed them. Unfortunately, when I decided I needed them, I didn’t have the intervals going on my watch, so I had no signal to tell me to start running again. So I just didn’t. Now, if I think I might possibly need to use walk intervals, I go ahead and set my watch and just ignore the beeps if I feel good.
- Positive thinking is critical. I got in my own head during the race and decided that I wasn’t doing well and wasn’t feeling well. Since then, I heard Jeff Galloway speak about the importance of positive thinking during a race. When I’m feeling off or getting worried during I race, I repeat to myself “I’m feeling strong” and “I am feeling great”. And it really does help!