If you had not noticed, fall is on the way. You know what that means? Race season is just around the corner. Along with colorful leaves and pumpkin spice everything, our weekends will be full of races.
Many of you are a few weeks into a training plan, or perhaps just beginning your plan if your race is late fall/early winter. Throughout the summer, we've been doing speedwork to provide you with a good base of speed so you can really dive into your fall training. As we head into fall, you'll start to see that these workouts are really targeted toward your longer fall races. So, show up, work hard, and reap the results.
We wanted to share a few tips for you as you dive into your fall training and racing.
1. Train YOUR pace
- Every runner is different. Some are fast, some are slow. Some like to push, some don't. Know yourself, and know your training partners. If you are training with people slower than you, talk to them. Discuss how you'd like to handle your training. If you want to nail your PR in your upcoming race, you need to train at YOUR paces, not theirs. It's okay to do a slower run or two with your buddy, but see how you can work this out. Maybe you can meet up and you do your workouts on your own, and meet back for your cool down. Just make sure you're hitting the paces you need, or you'll be disappointed on race day. You don't want this, and it's very likely that your training buddy wants to see you succeed as well. If they don't, you need to reevaluate your training partners.
2. Take it seriously, but not TOO seriously
- So you missed a workout because you had to work until 9pm and you have no other day to do it this week. It's okay. If you take this slip-up too seriously, it can derail your training as you'll become frustrated with yourself. Don't let it. Move on and don't make skipping workouts a habit.
3. Eat well
- Eat to fuel your body. Do away with too many processed foods, and you'll see a change in your body and your performance. Plus, you'll have more energy and be in a better mood. All of this leads to stronger and faster workouts and racing. Is it okay to treat yourself once in a while? Absolutely! But, do you need a cupcake everyday? No. Plus, a clean diet leads to nice abs. Who doesn't want amazing abs?
Also, make notes of what foods work (or don't work) for your body. If dairy causes stomach issues for you, eat less of it and avoid it a few days before race day and on race day.
- In addition to this, know what you need on race day. If you plan to use a supplement/GU/sports drink, make sure you try these things out before race day. If not, you may wind up in the porta pottie line more than once.
4. Don't skip rest days
- Seriously. It can be easy to use your rest day to make up a missed workout or to log extra mileage. Don't. Your body needs this day to recover. This doesn't mean sit on the couch and veg out all day. You can definitely stay active (walk the dog, go kayaking, etc). Just give your body a break from running. Plus, this day is totally a good excuse for a nap.
- You may have one or two days designated to crosstraining on your schedule. Utilize them. This will give your muscles a chance to recover while still remaining active. Plus, different activities utilize different muscles, so you'll have a chance to work your whole body. Some of our favorite crosstraining activities include spinning, hiking, swimming, crossfit/lifting, kayaking, boxing, Pilates, and yoga. Make your crosstraining day count as it will help you achieve total body fitness - reaching the muscles running doesn't hit.
6. Wear good shoes
- This is huge. Shoes can make a huge difference in your training. Shoes can be a tricky thing, so ask us for help if you're curious about all the types of shoes (stability, neutral, etc). We also recommend having a few pair of shoes you can rotate between.
- On another note, don't wear new shoes on race day. Break them in first.
7. Track your training
- Keep track of your runs and workouts. You can do this in a notebook, an Excel sheet, the program that comes with your watch, TrainingPeaks, or a variety of other programs. Keeping track of your weekly mileage will help make sure you don't accelerate your mileage too quickly. It will also let you see how you are improving. When you do repeats, keep track of each split. For example, if you ran 12x400, make a note of the time in which you each 400m repeat. Then, compare these splits to the next time you do the workout. What was different? Were you faster? Slower? What other factors came into play?
Here are two examples of how you might track your workouts/runs:
Time of Day: 4:00pm
Distance: 5.6 miles
Shoe: Brooks Ghost
Temperature: 78 and humid
Location: Start/Finish at YMCA/Civic Center
Notes: Felt better than a few days ago. Shins were not hurting as much as they have been. Struggled through the first mile, but felt better later in the run. Felt like running more.
Time of Day: 5:00am
Distance: 4 miles
Shoe: Nike Vomero
Temp: 68 degrees
Location: Harke Park
Notes: Speed work today. 6x800m repeats. Goal pace was 3:35-3:40 so I was a little under for a few repeats. This isn't surprising as I have had a cold for the last week. Will be repeating this workout in two weeks.
1. Racing is painful
- If you're really racing, it's going to hurt. You need to realize this and be prepared for it. Racing isn't comfortable. That's why very few people actually race - they merely run for completion. Your race photos probably won't look pretty.
2. Run YOUR race
- Above, we talked about training your pace. This is the same concept. Run YOUR race. You've trained to run a certain pace, so don't blow it today because your friend isn't feeling well. If they're a true friend/good training buddy, they will want you to utilize all the work you have put in.
3. Stay accountable
- Sometimes it can be hard to get our workouts in for whatever reason. Work, life, school, or other things can get in the way and sometimes have to take precedence. If you have a training group, make sure you show up. Meet them, do the workouts, and talk about your runs. If you cannot make it, let them know and be considerate of their time. That being said, don't bail on them for no reason. If you start doing this, they are likely to drop you as a running buddy due to your lack of consideration. If you cannot make it, do the workout on your own time (perhaps later that day) and let them know how it went for you.
- If you don't have a training buddy, choose a friend who is training for something similar or a race around the same time. Talk to them about your workouts and discuss your training. Doing this will help keep both of you accountable.
4. Learn about your race
- What is the course like? Where are the start and finish located? Where should you meet your family? Is there a bag drop? When do you pick up your packet? Do you need to take a race shuttle? How large is the race? What start corral will you be in? Are their pace groups? What does the elevation look like? Where are the aid stations located? Will there be porta potties along the way and if so, where? What is the race surface (paved, gravel, trail, etc)? Will there be post race food/drink? Knowing these things will ease your mind on race day and will allow you to be better prepared as you go into your race.
5. Ask questions
- Do you have questions about your training? Ask Jamie, Nick, or Joy. That's what we are here for. We want to help you. Do you have race day questions? Ask the race director or the race crew. Do you just have running questions? Don't keep them to yourself. Ask. This is how you learn. Don't worry about looking/feeling stupid. Your questions are not dumb. Everyone learns everyday. You stop growing when you stop learning. We have various resources listed here on our website. Use them.
6. Wear something that makes you feel good
- They say you should show up to a job interview in your best attire/suit. They say you should take important exams in your nice dress clothes. Why? Because those clothes make you feel good about yourself. The same goes for race day. Pick something that makes you feel like a powerhouse - an unstoppable force that's ready to kick butt. Of course, take the weather into consideration when you're choosing your outfit. Make sure you lay it out the night before the race as well. Dress for success - running is just as much a mental sport and it is physical.
7. Talk to yourself
- Yes. It's okay to do this. You're interesting, right? I mean, who wouldn't want to have a conversation with you? You are going to hurt. See #1. Racing is painful. So - talk yourself through it. Did you have a mantra you used during training? Now is the time to repeat it. Need one? Here are a few examples:
8. Think outside your body
- Try to block out the pain. We've already discussed this will hurt. So, focus on the course, the spectators, the cheesy signs, the mile you're in. Don't think about the things that hurt - think about the race. That being said, don't drift so far into la-la land that you forget about your pace/mileage/time. Just try to take the focus off your pain. Also, when you cross that finish line with a PR in hand, all that pain will be worth it, and you're going to feel like a total badass.
9. Don't waste your energy
- Have you ever noticed you don't see elite athletes jumping up and down and making ridiculous faces for the cameras? Do you see them stopping to chat with family members or taking selfies along the way? Uhhhh no. The people you see doing this are not racing. They're running - and that's okay. But if you want to race, use your energy wisely. Don't waste in on posing/jumping/screaming whatever. Use it to race.
- Along the same lines, split up your race. If you came to the form/nutrition/racing seminar, you'll remember that Nick discussed splitting up your race into different sections and focusing on those particular sections one at a time. The reason for this is that each section requires something different physically and mentally. Run hard, but run smart.
10. Fuel your body post-race
- Grab some chocolate milk or whatever fuels you best. Start replenishing those electrolytes and carbs. Don't forget to enjoy your post race beer - you earned it!
11. Track your race
- The same way you track your training, you want to keep track of your races. Log your mileage, your time, your place, etc. It's fun to look back on this stuff, and it is key to planning your next training schedule.
Here's an example for you:
Race: Christie Clinic Illinois Half Marathon
Location: University of Illinois - Champaign
Race Start Time: 7:00am
Temperature/Weather: Rainy; Mid 60s-Low 70s
Distance: 13.1 (Garmin read 13.whatever)
Net Time: 1:41:25
Clock Time: 1:41:40
Division: F 25-29
Division Place: 12
Gender Place: 38
Overall Place: 318
Bib #: 7981
Notes: Felt great. Was worried I couldn't keep the pace through the whole race, but I pushed hard and actually negative split. Absolutely poured mile 6-7. Windy. Completely flat course. Mentally challenging miles 8-10
12. Thank your race buddies and those who supported you
- Whether we realize it or not, our families and friends give up quite a bit to support us in our endeavors. Think of all the times your spouse watched the kids so you could train. Think about your pals that met you at 5 am everyday to train with you. Think of your family that drove 5 hours to watch you race. Thank these people. Having a support system is huge, and they're part of the reason you're able to race. Make sure they know how much you appreciate them.
So, there you go. We hope these training and racing tips will ease your mind a little about your upcoming race, and we hope they will help you adequately prepare to nail your PR. Again, please don't hesitate to ask us if you have questions. We are happy to help.
See you Wednesday for 8x600. Hope you're ready to rock.
#thefitclub417 #earnednotgiven #fallraceseason
Who Picks the Topics?
Each week, we notice different things. We try to incorporate the questions we are receiving or the training issues we are noticing into our post(s) for the week. If there is something you'd like us to cover, let us know!