Happy Wednesday! Today I’m linking up with Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Jen from Pretty Little Grub, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Nicole from Nicole from FitFul Focus for Wild Workout Wednesday.
As my marathon training winds down (and I continue to enjoy the taper), there are a lot of things I want to share on my blog. When I first looked over my training plan, I was very nervous for the long runs. How will I ever get through 16, 18 and 20 mile runs? Luckily I was already signed up for a few Fall races, so it was easy for me to incorporate these races into my long runs. I know that this doesn’t work for everyone, but it really made my long runs more enjoyable. There are a lot of advantages to incorporating races into your long runs.
You HAVE to complete the miles
Sometimes it’s easy to want to skip a long run. Or if you’re in the middle of a bad long run, it’s easy to just throw in the total. Both scenarios are not ideal and you end up not completing your long which is never a good thing. When a race is the bulk of your long run, you are more inclined to actually get in the miles. Also you would want to avoid a DNF if possible.
Perfect your fueling strategy
It’s takes some trial and error, but eventually you will find the correct fueling strategy. Why not practice this while also getting water at aid stations? This is a great dry-run for your actual goal race. Also you might have the chance to try different gels on the course as well. You can try those out during the run to see how they affect your stomach and performance.
You get swag
This is pretty self explanatory. If you’re going to run long, why not get rewarded with a race t-shirt and/or a medal? I’m not going to lie – I run for the bling bling 🙂
Break up the miles
Long runs can get very boring very quickly. What’s awesome about adding a race to your long run is that you can run some miles before and/or after the race. I personally liked adding a bulk of the ‘extra’ miles BEFORE the race, because it’s hard to want to run more miles AFTER the race!
If your goal race is a very large race, it helps to practice running in races with lots of people. That way you will not go into complete shock when you’re running with 50,000+ runners! You also get experience with navigating crowds, bobbing and weaving (or not) through other runners and pacing yourself.
It’s also important to note that while you are doing a race, you will actually not “race” it. Does that make sense? You have to keep in mind that this is still a long run, so the pace should be slower. For me this was very helpful because I’ll have to practice holding back the pace during the first half of my marathon. I feel like I am mentally prepared for this aspect of the race on Sunday.
Do you incorporate races into your long runs? Why or why not?