9 Tips to Running the Race of Your Life
6. Know the last two miles before the finish… backwards and forwards. The last 2 miles, it felt harder and harder to keep the pace. Felt like vomiting, the lactic acid was setting in, I was t-i-r-e-d. I wanted to stop, and had no idea when the end was coming. I wished I had studied the course better, or walked the end of the course… I was so grateful for that 1:30 pacer… Just tried to stay ahead of the 1:30 pack. Gotta love those pacers!! I used my new mantra: “Suck it up buttercup.” :-) I was definitely tired, but my legs were fine.
We made our final turn for the home stretch, and I heard the 1:30 pacer say, “Almost there. You are going to break 1:30.” I couldn’t believe it, I was sort of in shock. I was gritting my teeth, hurting in pain, but didn’t want to miss breaking 1:30 because I gave up. I sucked it up, and picked it up for the last 300 meters or so. I turned the corner and sprinted to the end. I couldn’t believe it! 1:29:23!!
I saw Doug and started jumping up and down. He gave me a BIG HUG. Love that guy so much.
Four more lessons learned from this race:
5. Be patient with your threshold training. It will take time to build up, but enjoy it. It will pay off… I paced a marathon at 9min pace, and it brought me strength. Run 26.2 as a fun run leading up to your next race. You’ll be surprised how much fun you have, and how much it will help you improve.
6. Don’t eat beats the day before the race. I didn’t mention this part during the post, but we ate beats with our pasta the night before. I didn’t feel sick until after the race. I DEFINITELY don’t recommend it!
7. Run with a mantra. I’m surprised how well this worked for me. Focusing on one quote, saying, proverb, verse… it can really help you make it a reality. Tell yourself to “Suck it up, buttercup,” or “it wouldn’t be a marathon if it wasn’t hard.” Google them, pick one, and write it on your hand. You’ll be glad you did.
8. Run with music. If you haven’t done this yet, you really don’t know what you are missing. Every time a good song came on, I felt like dancing. Pick music that has a good rhythm, beat, and/or makes you want to dance. I normally feel distracted by the music, but it really helped me relax. When I wanted to slow my pace down, I told myself to just keep moving my legs to the beat of the song, and it really helped. Songs came on that I LOVE to dance to… it felt like a dance party out there!
9. Suck it up buttercup. You will feel tired, but for a half marathon… if you have been putting in your long miles, don’t worry about burning out. You’ll be fine, you won’t hit a wall… Or at least you won’t hit it until nearly the end, so you won’t have to run too long on tired legs.
Jabs fly as races draw near
Something I have noticed about myself and other runners is that sometimes we take races too seriously. We are so afraid of failing, hurting, getting injured, and not getting a PR, that we forget about finding fulfillment in the many other areas of our lives.
This week I ran a PR in the 5k… my best time ever. It was hard, I wasn’t relaxed, and started dry heaving at the end. Even though I had run my best time, I wasn’t happy with my performance. My dream is to finish races strong and energized… but my finish was weak and painful.
I wonder if my attitude in the days leading up to the race had anything to do with this.
…I stressed out shopping for gifts for my family.
…I whined and complained A LOT when we went skiing.
…I snapped when we were late to see friends.
When races draw near… the tensity looms. I think I focused so much on getting a PR that I neglected so many other important areas of my life. I think I do my best when I’m relaxed, and when I’m not solely relying on my running life to bring me fulfillment. I definitely went overboard, stressing over a PR, and it wasn’t as fulfilling as I thought it would be.
Getting a PR is incredible. But I can’t make PRs my only fulfillment in my life. We need to find fulfillment in other areas of our lives…
…giving thoughtful gifts
…being in each others’ lives
…figuring out how to conquer our fears
Start your next race fulfilled. Spend time and effort in other areas of your life that matter. Start bringing happiness to your race, rather than chasing it during the race. You might just run the race of your life.
Have you ever accomplished something, but weren’t very happy with your performance? Please share!