Happy Tuesday! It’s time for another edition of Tuesday Topics. This week’s Tuesday Topic: what did you learn from your best race? You can write about this or any running related topic. Remember to link-up with Kim and Zenaida and the bottom of this post.
I’ve had a handful of pretty good races. Here are some of the reasons I think those races went so well.
My Pre-Race dinner is important
I don’t eat a lot the morning of a race (it usually makes me feel sick to my stomach), so for me the pre-race dinner is most important. I have noticed that when I stick with pizza or pasta, I usually have a decent or great race. I try not to deviate from these two types of foods.
Great training isn’t everything
Sometimes a great training cycle doesn’t correlate to a great race. My worst marathon performance came right after a very solid training cycle. Sometimes being bit undertrained is actually an advantage because you aren’t overtrained for a race and your body isn’t as tired from excessive weeks of training.
You must have fun
Most importantly, have fun! I know it sounds a little cheesy but when I look back at some of my best races, I remember a lot of smiling. I think if you put too much pressure on yourself on yourself to run a certain type of race that it can backfire on you. I am a firm believer that your body can react negatively to that level of extra stress you put on yourself.
Tell me: What did you learn from your best race?
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Great points, Kim!
When I did my first marathon, I had no clue that I was supposed to prepare with long runs. My longest run was a 13-miler. Obviously, my race was a disaster.
Then I did some structured training with proper long runs, 20 miles and longer. That made all the difference! But as you say, it’s important not to overdo the training. It’s better to be undertrained than overtrained!
For all of my marathon training plans I make the 20 miler my longest run but I usually do it two or three times. I know a few people that actually run the full 26.2 miles as a training run to prepare for a marathon but that seems like too much!
Kimberly Hatting says
Total agreement with everything!! I especially agree with the smiling thing 😉 I’m not a professional athlete, and I don’t get paid for my performance. Although I do take my training seriously, all that pressure with hitting specific paces or having a certain finish time goal are not my gig (which is why my Garmin doesn’t get much attention, LOL). I run to stay fit and, most importantly, to have fun…and I try to bring that attitude to the race course. I also have had some fantastic training cycles only to have been blessed with less-than-desirable weather and/or race day circumstances (torrential rain, anyone?). Making the best of whatever the situation serves me far better than dwelling on the “why me?” frustrations.
Smiling makes a huge difference for me because it helps me to loosen up my shoulders. I always tend to hold stress in my neck and shoulders when running.
No matter what the outcome, I learned that the most important thing is to have fun while we are racing. We don’t have to do this, we get to do this. The race is only one day and one part of our journey. Since adopting that philosophy, I’ve really loosened up and enjoyed all my races, even if they don’t go as planned.
100% agree with you! Having fun really makes the races so much more enjoyable.,
All very true.
Although I posted my best race lessons last week , some of yours ended up on my worst race post.
Having fun is the most important. We don’t get paid to run races.
Totally agree with you – if we’re not having fun then what’s the point?
Debbie @ Deb Runs says
Great tips, Kim! Your point about the correlation between the training cycle and how well you do on race day is so true. So many things can go wrong on race day.
Thanks for the linkup – this was my first time linking up. Have a great week!
It can be so frustrating when things don’t line up like we want for race day. That’s why now I really just try to have fun with running and races.
Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy says
I’m the opposite morning of! I need to eat! I don’t run well without fuel, but I know that everyone is different. And yes, great training doesn’t necessarily equal a great race. Sometimes visa versa!
I have friends that can eat a full breakfast, with coffee, and I’m always so jealous of them, lol.
Denise @runheartfit says
The pre-race meal is so important for me. Eat the wrong thing and my run just might be ruined.
Training well and tapering works for me. And smiling throughout the race definitely helps stay relaxed and feeling good!
Totally! I remember trying something “new” for a pre-race dinner and that was a huge fail.
Just to add to your point about “great training isn’t everything” – 100%. Sometimes when we have such a good training cycle we also put certain expectations on ourselves… I guess it’s pressure or a feeling of certainty that things will go well, and when they don’t go as well — it hits harder. And yes, my best races have been fun!
So true! Once I stopped putting pressure on myself, my races were way more enjoyable.
I totally agree about the training. I have botched training plans and had great races, and vice versa. It all comes down to a number of factors on race day: good pre-race fuel, good night’s sleep, just feeling good on race day, etc.
Same here – I’ve had some of my best races with half-ass training plans, lol.
Black Knight says
You are right, it’s wrong to put pressure to ourselves before a race. It happened to me when I was member of the official Navy Running Team: I felt a lot of responsibility. After a couple of races I learned to have fun and everything became easier.
Having fun is really the most important!
Deborah Brooks says
These are great points! The meals we eat leading up to the race and our hydration matters a lot. I also need to eat a breakfast that I am used to. Training is not always everything. Having fun and smiling is always my goal as well
So true about the hydration as well!
Michelle D. says
All great points! I’m also a big fan of pizza the night before a race – not a big fan of eating much in the morning. Having fun is the most important – otherwise what’s the point of being out there, right?
I remember the pizza we had in Rhode Island before the Surftown Half and it was so good!
In a weird coincidence I wrote a blog post today about my “worst” race, so the subject has been on my mind! I totally agree with all your points. You can do everything right and have a bad race, and vice versa. In the end we have to make sure it’s all fun.
I think that’s the most frustrating when you kill your training cycle and then the race is horrible!