5 Things I’ve Learned About Running To Make Race Day Great

© Undrey | Dreamstime.com

© Undrey | Dreamstime.com

1) How ‘dress rehearsals’ really help

It’s been said many times over that runners need to practice with their clothing and food choices before race day. I try to execute this theory on all my long runs. Though it’s never a perfect practice, I attempt to hydrate well and eat low fiber carbohydrates in the one to two days preceding.

Race day weather may dictate clothing changes, but I do attempt to wear all my gear at least once (preferably more!) during long training runs. I experiment with gels and hydration during training to master the best formula possible for race day.

2) The value of pace runs

There is no better confidence booster than nailing a pace run during training. This is defined as running at my racing goal pace for at least half the distance of my goal race. Pace runs make executing race day far easier when I’ve accomplished a portion of the run before.

Plus, pace runs are a great gauge of running fitness. They can indicate whether or not goals should be altered depending on the ease of completing pace runs

3) The importance of limiting my stops

There is no stop/start button on race day. It can be very tempting (and sometimes necessary) to take breaks during long training runs, but I have learned to not make it a habit.

The clock is always ticking on race day and the more I can streamline my training runs, the better prepared I will be on race day. Practice taking water/sports drinks quickly and efficiently, run in areas with limited numbers of intersections, and slow your pace if the effort feels too hard.

4) The boost that finishing fast gives me

It can be very tempting to ease up on the last mile of a training run when the bulk of the miles are in the bank. But I often try to push hard for a fast finish in the final mile of a training run.

This is a great training tool for race day as it is pretty much guaranteed that my legs will be toast coming down the home stretch. Knowing that I have one extra gear left is a huge confidence booster when I have a bib pinned on.

5) Visualizing crossing the finish line

Though it might seem a bit hokey, envisioning crossing the finish line during training is a powerful tool. By envisioning my finish, I am always telling myself that I have to ability to complete what I’ve set out to do.

If I’m feeling nervous or afraid that my race day goals are a bit lofty, visualizing the end result is incredibly motivating. I use it before or during tackling a tough training run to give myself a positive reminder of my ultimate goal.

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