Thursday, October 10, 2013

How to make your next race a PR

The weekend is the Market to Market Relay but Nebraska weather means the major race season in this area has passed. Unless you are packing up and racing somewhere awesome, you are probably done for the year, or done after M2M. 

So now what? You could sit and feast all day on candy corn M&Ms and look and old race pictures… 

Go on a total running cleanse and just veg out and watch soaps for a while… 

OR start planning ahead for your NEXT race. It’s never too early to check out the 2014 race calendar and start making plans and goals. Sometimes it’s hard to keep yourself motivated when there are no major events on the schedule in the near future. I’ve found that it’s actually refreshing, and has boosted my motivation. The ultimate goal is to go out there and beat yourself at your next race. (Not literally…) 

Tips for making your next race your best yet: 

* Have a goal. Whether it’s general, like simply get a better time than I’ve ever had, or more specific like a sub 2:00, sub 1:40… so forth. Your new personal best goal could be for a 5K or 10K as opposed to a half or full. I know I would like to bust out a new 5K PR! 

* Follow a guide. Some people hate training plans, or don’t want to use one. If it’s your first race at a set distance, I would seriously recommend following one. I don’t follow plans anymore for half marathons, but I follow a workout plan (tempo day, hills, easy, long, etc.) Make sure the training plan suits your GOAL. If you goal is just to finish at a set distance, stick to a beginner or novice plan. If you are working towards that PR, make sure your plan is incorporating workouts that will help you achieve this. 

* Run further than you have to. This worked for ME. It may not work for everyone. But I truly believe adding in long runs to half marathon training will be to your benefit on race day. Do you have to a 20 mile run for a half? Heck no! I would recommend adding at least one if not two longer runs (12-14 miles) along with your standard 9, 10, 11 mile long runs in half training. Take these slow and EASY. Do it just for endurance sake. 

* Do SPEED work. Ugh, really? Yessss. Make yourself uncomfortable. I find it easier to do true speed work on a treadmill. It’s easier to slack outside, and the tread, well if you slack you get chucked off the back. Just sayin’. 

* KEEP IT REAL… not every race will be a PR. (I still struggle with this!) Some things will be out of your control, such as weather, or maybe how you feel that day. My two best races of 2013 were in the early spring and later fall when it was actually not 98% humidity and cooler out. No magic secret to success there, just Mother Nature giving me a boost. Don’t get discouraged if you didn’t make your goal. Let that be fuel to keep trying!