Race Prep

*whispers* OBSESSION...

I'm always thinking about running but it's even worse heading into a race. Going into a race, my obsession reaches heights known only to the crazy (aka other runners). A few weeks (yes WEEKS) before every race, my obsession begins to ramp up. What will I wear/eat/do/pace/eat for every mile of my run. (LOL Don't you love that eat is on there twice subconsciously?? Leaving it! I mean I do need to think about pre- and mid-race food!) I go back and forth on my expected pace and what I believe I can do. I've still only raced at two distances, 5K (3.1 miles) and 10K (6.2 miles), despite training for a half-marathon (13.1 miles). My last 5K was so long ago that I definitely need a tune-up.

Saturday I was running with some faster ladies in my group, chatting away with my pace notification intentionally off so I could test my speed (I use the Runkeeper app on my phone) but keeping an ear out for overall time at each mile marker. I was sooo excited that we were averaging under a 9:40/mile pace for the first 3 miles. HOW COOL IS THAT?!! Especially considering how conservatively we went out! We won't talk about how painful the last 3.6 miles were as a result (well just a little... I had to talk myself out of walking for a good mile and a half... it didn't help that the woods had my app off by ALMOST AN ENTIRE MILE!!! 0.9 miles off is HORRID!!) but that means I definitely want to shoot for a 30-minute 5K the next time I run one.

Pacing for a 10K is notoriously tricky because it's a longer distance so you don't want to go out TOO fast and burn out before the end, but it's short enough (compared to a half-marathon or marathon) that if you go out super slow, you can't make up that time. I know this under-pacing too well from my first 10K. I'm always afraid of going out too fast and not having anything left at the end. In that race, I had WAY too much left at the end. Since I was aiming for a half-marathon (that didn't happen), I've been running way over 6.2 and haven't actually practiced at 10K.

One of a million many schools of thought is that your long runs should be slow. At least 1-2 minutes per mile than race pace. I follow this almost to the letter... then forget to pick up the pace during a race. UGH!! This is part of why many training plans have you do what are called tempo runs. Basically for a few miles in the middle of your long run or in a longer (but not necessarily your longest) run, you run at the tempo you expect to race for several miles (more miles the longer your goal distance). I tried turning off the pace notification for an 11-mile run with the faster ladies a couple of weeks ago and ended up running about 2 minutes PER MILE faster than long runs with my former running partner (we still run together very occasionally) and a minute per mile faster than alone. HUGE confidence booster! So  that 11-miler was essentially a long tempo run. (And awesome!) If I ran 11 miles at one pace, could I conceivably run 6.2 one minute faster per mile?? I'm betting on doing that.

Pretty much everyone agrees that running over distance (longer than the length of your goal race) makes you faster at that distance so I have that working for me. But not practicing 6.2 has still made me a little uneasy. Nevertheless, I've set my goals -- a) PR i.e. faster than 1:13:46, b) faster than 1:11:00, c) faster than 1:09. Because I haven't run 6 miles much in the last few months, I have no idea if I'm aiming too low. I have a feeling I might be but only time will tell.

After feeling pretty proud of my pacing and strategy for my 2nd 10K, I know I absolutely MUST have a plan for where I want to be at each mile. I've played with a few different ideas for this race but my final strategy? I STILL DON'T KNOW!! The one I'm most leaning toward is to go out a little fast but not at top pace to use the first mile as a warm-up of sorts, then kick it up for mile 2 OR 3, go all out from 2 or 3 on and try to hold on to my fastest possible pace. I want to KNOW I left it all on the pavement. What do I have to lose? I'm confident that my training has prepared me to PR. If I botch this race, it will be another thing I learned from. But the plan is to conquer!

Do you see all of the stuff running through my head??? No wonder I sleep horribly before races! I don't know if any more than 3 people who read this cared about this post but if you read it, I thank you anyway! :)


Anonymous said...

I don't know what you're talking about but I applaud you and your running! Good luck with your 10K. I hope you get your PR! Is that personal record???

Anonymous said...

Funny I should end up on your blog the same day as Nerd Girl. It must be the genes. I appreciated the blog, I not sure what you were telling me but I can see you thought it through, It will all work out.

Want you to know I am back on the C25K trail. I still have 2 5Ks to run before the end of the year.

I wish you well for a successful run that surpasses all the metering, goals and practice paces you had.

Do your best and be proud.

Sparkling Red said...

Mid-race food?

I'm picturing you running, holding a foot-long sub with both hands, trying to bite it while it flops around, dropping bits of lettuce and slices of luncheon meat in a trail behind you.

1969 said...

Congrats on your race this weekend. So proud of you. We have all come a long way.

I tend to start slow, have a great mid race kick where I speed up and then realize I am going way too fast and slow down...and then I see the finish line and sprint across it like a champ. Yup, that's my typical race. LOL

After doing the 1/2 this weekend, I now feel that 10K or 10 miles is my favorite distance. LOL

Jameil said...

ng... lol thank you! yes! personal record!

mamasez... great genes! Writing that definitely helped me think it through! I'm excited by your 5Ks! Such an inspiration! I feel extra proud! :)

red... LOLOL!!!! I love this! I usually eat shot bloks (gummy electrolyte replacement) or sport jelly beans. I also like pretzels and oranges for more natural foods.

1969... haven't we!?! LOL @ your typical race. I know the feeling! I want you to do another half before you decide! :)