Monday, June 15, 2015

Ready to Race!

Welcome to the 8th Race Recap Link-Up!! I love reading recaps from other bloggers. Its a great way to learn about different races, support other runners, and gain motivation. A recap is the final leg of the race. It’s your chance to relive your race and allow others some insight. The training miles, the race day jitters, the glory of crossing the finish line. the good - the bad - the ugly We want to hear it all….

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This week's post isn't a race recap....
today I answer the question:


Maybe I should title this how not to train for races. There's a lot of advice out there on social media on training for a race. I've run 2 marathons, and am currently training for my 3rd. I've also run 13 halfs and a bunch of shorter races. After all this time, I think I've finally learned what works--for me. But I couldn't figure it all out on my own. I've been working with a coach for the last 2 years, and having that input has made a huge difference in my running. I've also learned a thing or 2 from her that I think everyone can learn from.


Train for the distance you are running. The longer the distance, the longer the training. There's a local radio station, who every year after the Chicago Marathon, interviews people who didn't train at all. It's really interesting to hear their comments. Some of them actually finish around 5 hours, which is pretty respectable for no training. But overwhelmingly, when asked if they'd do it that way again, no training, they all respond no. You could probably wing it with a 5k or even a 10k, but any distance further than that requires some time on the road. Unless you are a one and done racer. Then have at it.

Nothing new on race day. You've heard this one before, but my Facebook feed is always filled with runners lamenting wearing a new pair of shoes or trying a new fuel at a race. Heck, I'm guilty of this myself. A few years ago, I ran a half marathon in Florida wearing the cutest socks with the race logo on them. I had never worn them before--I was "saving them for the race!" Hello, black toenail. I don't lose toenails very often. I was really mad at myself about this. Anything you want to use on race day, you need to give it a test ride on your training runs. Last summer, about halfway into my marathon training, I switched fuels. I drank that fuel for every long run for the duration of my training. And I knew exactly how things would go, as far as fueling was concerned, on race day.

This is heat training in February. Whew!
Train for the conditions you will be running in. Last March, I was registered for a half marathon in Florida. In the Chicago area, we were in the midst of a polar vortex. How the heck was I going to train for the Florida heat and humidity when it was sub zero here? I knew I had to do something, since I crashed and burned at my previous Florida half, so I did what I called "heat training". Yep. I put on thermal tights, a sweatshirt, and a hat, and ran my runs on the treadmill. No fan to cool me off. Holy moley, I was hot. And unfortunately, I didn't get to use my heat training, as I had to cancel my trip, but my spring runs were phenomenal. And this article in Runners World, which I read recently, validated that I was not a lunatic for doing this. Apparently heat training is "a thing".

Does this look like marathon training to you? Slam balls? Kettlebell swings? Pushing the prowler? Yep.
You don't need to run huge miles to run a marathon. There, I've said it. Throw darts at me. But we are not elite runners, folks. We're those everyday people who like to run and maybe get a personal best out of it. Most of us are not made to run tons of miles, especially us older masters runners. But you're not off the hook. Instead of running massive miles, make sure one of your weekly runs is speedwork, one is a long slow distance run, and either 1-2 other runs of 3-6 miles at easy or tempo pace. In between there should be a cross training workout, like HIIT or something intervally. And one day of weights. Cross training is also ok. I did this last year with great success. The high mileage training for my first marathon? Not so much. That plan left me with plantar fasciitis and a stress fracture.

Set reasonable goals for your race. Be realistic. Take time to evaluate what you want out of your race. Do you just want to finish? Run with your friends? Do you want to PR? Qualify for Boston? As your training progresses, you can reevaluate your goals and make adjustments in your expectations.

Trust your training plan. It's so easy, after a bad run, to want to make changes in your training plan. I've been guilty of this myself. Don't do it. You picked your plan for a reason, and you should follow it. Things have a way of working out in the end.

Choose a mantra. A big part of training for a race is mental training. By picking a mantra, you're setting a positive tone for yourself. When you feel like you're getting down, repeat the mantra to yourself and remind yourself what you're capable of.

Do you have any tips for race training? What works for you? What would you tell a beginner?

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Speaking of races...
I'm pretty excited that I've been asked again by Gone For A Run to participate in a virtual run, the All 4 Run Virtual 4 mile Run to be run the weekend of July 4! I really enjoyed my last virtual run with them, the BadAss 5 miler, and this one looks to be a good one as well. There is some sweet swag again: a t-shirt, medal, and magnet.  What better way to celebrate the 4th than to run 4 miles? If you get it done early in the day, there will plenty of time to relax, eat, and take in the fireworks. Anyone want to run this one with me? Click on the link or go to goneforarun.com to learn more! And let me know if you're running it, so we can run virtually together!

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Featured post from last week...
Check out RacingTales Ironman Raleigh Recap. She got more than she bargained for! june 16

About this link up...

It is active every Tuesday - Friday. Link up your most recent recaps, or throwback to an old favorite. *If your post is unrelated to the theme, it will be deleted. One recap will be featured on the next link up! Read at least 3 other posts and leave them some love. The more the merrier… share on your social media so others can link-up. #TuesdayTales Grab the code to the link-up image below on your post or somewhere on your blog.
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Thank you for linking up this week - be sure to come back next week. [caption id="attachment_777" align="aligncenter" width="278"]GOTR SoleMate GOTR SoleMate[/caption

40 comments :

  1. My training has really been all over the place. I was doing really well in the fall for my marathon and then about 3 weeks before the race it all went to heck because my injury came back. Because of that injury I ended up not even training for my next 7 races!!!!! For not training and being injured I ended up doing pretty well ( for the situation I was in anyway,..lol).

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    1. Curious, what were the distances of those 7 races? I'm glad it worked out for you!

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  2. I've always tracked my runs on Nike App and get great pleasure after each run checking out the numbers. It helps me if I can see on a graph how far I've come and how far (miles wise) I've to go.
    For a beginner its important to remember that running is supposed to be fun. Yes, take it seriously but not tooooo seriously.

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    1. I agree about reminding that running should be fun; also not to have a goal for a race other than to finish!

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  3. I need to crosstrain better during my training. You do such a kickass job with that!!

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  4. My biggest piece of advice would be to pick a training plan that fits your lifestyle or change one to fit it. Don't pick one that has you running 5 days a week if you can only run 3. Also, I no longer believe in the 20 miler for marathon training. I did back to back long runs for my last marathon and felt awesome. The Hanson plan uses this, but I made my own plan off of theirs.

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    1. This is great advice! I didn't do a 20 miler for my last marathon either. It's all about quality over quantity.

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  5. Great tips, Wendy! I think the biggest thing with marathon training is to respect the distance. Like you said, it's really hard to wing it with a marathon. You really do need that mileage in your legs to have a good race.

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    1. I'm always amazed at people who just do it without training. I always tell people to drive 26 mile in their car, just to realize how far it really is!

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  6. As I talked about in my Marathon Training with Chronic Illness post, my training is really all about balance and flexibility within a bit of structure. My body is so finicky that I have to be careful. Speed work isn't formal—it is more by proxy, lol

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    1. I think it's good to know your limits. You do a great job with that!

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  7. Those who go into a marathon un- or way under-trained baffle me. I'm too much of a pain weenie to do that. The key is finding the sweet spot of what works for you. Easier said than done sometimes.

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    1. I need that psychological advantage of knowing I'm prepared! I could probably do anything up to a half without training, but a full? Forget it.

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  8. So I'm curious.....when you say you don't need to do high mileage while training for a marathon, what is typically your longest pre-marathon run?? Getting speed work in is so hard for me....when I run, I don't want to focus on sprints and intervals, I just want to zone out and run....but I need to make myself do it more often!

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    1. My longest run was an 18 miler. There were plenty of "long runs" but that was it. She had me doing a lot of other endurance building activities, tho. I'll post again about my training this year. It was a lot of fun but really hard. No lie. Very effective.

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  9. Heck, 5 hours is respectable WITH training in my book. My best tip would be listen to you body...don't compare yourself to others...and don't listen to negative people who are judgy in regards to speed. AND....have fun!!!!!

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    1. I love that advice! It should be fun, otherwise, why do it?

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  10. I was so impressed with your heat training last year, Wendy; I think what we're doing outside these days definitely counts for something, right? HA! Great post and thanks for sharing these tips!

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    1. Ha! I'll be doing it again over the winter since I'm already registered for that half in March.

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  11. I see people all the time never training & being a natural at races. I hate them :) haha...

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    1. Really? Who are those people? I hate them too!

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  12. Learn how fit you are by doing a tune-up race a few weeks before the marathon. Then plug your finishing time from the tune-up race into a race conversion calculator (e.g. McMillan's) to get your marathon pace. For the first half of the race, run a few seconds per mile slower than the pace the calculator predicted. If you feel good at mile 13, speed up slightly and if you still feel good at mile 20 speed up again. I would say 90% of marathoners run positive splits, and some of them are massive and painful. Better to play it conservatively than to crash and burn.

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    1. This is great advice! The first half of a marathon should be run conservatively, in my opinion. You can't go out too fast and expect it to work out for you in the second half!

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  13. Good tips! Heat acclimation is definitely a real thing. I usually run early AM but in tris you end up running closer to mid-day so heat and direct sun are a big impact and need to be incorporated into training. Specificity!!

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    1. I never thought about that but yes, with a tri, you are running in the heat of the day! Good point!

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  14. I haven't really trained for many races but I think it is important not to overtrain and peak before the big event!

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    1. I agree...common wisdom it that it's better to undertrain than overtrain!

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  15. I think you are dead on with keeping the expectations realistic- I think they is huge and a lot of folks don't really know what to expect.

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    1. I know it happened to me at my first marathon...I thought I was going to do amazing, when I should have been happy just to finish.

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  16. Absolutely nothing new on race day. If you haven't practiced doing it, race day is not the time to give it a try for the first time.

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  17. I'm definitely doing this different this go round. Cross-train, strength train, and don't crazy with carb-loading (i.e.still be mindful of diet and incorporate good carbs). I will also say don't have a "time goal". Finish with a smile on your face. Great tips!

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  18. I've never trained for a marathon, but I can relate to the amount if preparation needed to get the body and mind ready. I enjoyed your tips too.

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    1. You really have to prepare for any distance, if you want to run a good race!

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  19. I've never trained for a marathon, but I can relate to the amount if preparation needed to get the body and mind ready. I enjoyed your tips too.

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  20. I've never trained for a marathon, but I can relate to the amount if preparation needed to get the body and mind ready. I enjoyed your tips too.

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  21. These are all great tips. I too don't like a lot of mileage in training. I think the most I've run in one week is only 35 miles! I'm hoping I can keep this hip under control and really do the strength training that I need. My new video I"m hoping will keep me accountable!!

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    1. I'm excited to see how that video works for you!

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