I don’t post here every day, but you can find my daily running, thoughts and tips on Instagram!
It’s no secret that the more you do something, the better at it you become. Want to swim better? Get in the pool and start swimming. Want to perfect a dish? Keep cooking it and making small improvements.
And so, in order to race well, the best thing to do is to jump in and race.
The reality is, no matter how hard and well you train, if you are a poor racer, you may never see the results of your work. Things like fueling improperly, going out too fast, overdressing, not being comfortable with the taper and letting the negative thoughts come into your mind can all be honed by racing.
I don’t know if I would call myself a great racer, but I’ve made a lot of progress the last couple of years and can confidently say that I am a light years ahead of where I was two or three years ago.
The more you race, the more you can take away from each experience. Find what works well. What things you need to improve upon. A bad race, while unfortunate in the short-term, will provide you a lot of insight into things you probably don’t want to do again. And can be a great tool to use in the long-term. Use it as a learning experience – write those nuggets of wisdom you learned down – and then move on.
One of the most eye-opening moments for me was the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon. I was, without question, in the best running shape I had ever been in. But was lacking in other areas (pacing, mental strength) that I didn’t realize until the race unfolded. Although I was devastated, this was one of the best things to happen to me because I experienced and felt what I never, ever wanted to feel again and walked away with a list of things to improve upon.
You also don’t need to race every weekend. Even just doing 1 or 2 during a cycle and then a few in the offseason is more than enough to keep you practiced and ready for your goal race.
I don’t rely heavily on race predictors, but I can’t help but put in some race times before a goal race and see what the estimated ranges are based on some recent training workouts. The NYC Half was the first time where I feel my race times completely matched my training. And it has lite a fire in me to race some shorter distances to see what I can do and what I can lower my PR times to.
And so I’ve started to line up some races for post-Boston. Here’s what I’m planning on racing (I am already signed up for the races in bold):
- May 14: Newport 10k (this is a really fast course and an even faster field!)
- May ?: Memorial Day 4 miler (Ran this with my sister, Nicole, two years ago)
- June ?: Anthony’s Run (5k) (Ran this two years ago – my first 5k race)
- Sep 17-18: RnR Philadelphia 5k/Half Marathon (likely racing half marathon; running 5k as shakeout)
- Sep 25: Bronx 10 miler
- Oct 8: RnR Brooklyn Half Marathon
Are you running any of these races?
Also, if you are thinking of running a Rock ‘n’ Roll race, use the coupon code, below, for $15 off your (domestic) entry fee (some restrictions apply)!