Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Race Day As Another Training Run | Crazy or Not?

It's no secret, I race a lot.  But in reality - it's my training.  I only have a few focus races a year - the rest are training races.

I love this quote from Kara Goucher.  I had the pleasure of chatting with her at an Expo - and she is the nicest most NON-ELITIST attitude, although she certainly deserves to be a snob and look down on other runners. 



After I finished my first Half in 2010 - I knew I wanted to race more, but the thought of stepping up to the line once every quarter or only a few times a year didn't appeal to me.  I am not competitive with others, I am competitive with myself.  It does not phase me in the least if someone passes me.  It's a reality - not everyone can win. 

I am a true ADD runner.  I get VERY distracted by the littlest thing during a run.  Oh look - it's something shinny - let's go see what it is.  I knew the only way I could be focused on a race day was to race, a lot.

So, I decided to train for races - at races.  Not every one of my races was my "A" game.  I ran to learn how to pace myself, how to real people in and to be around the race environment.  I needed to learn how it feels when I get passed on the course and oddly enough, how weird it felt for me to pass someone during a race. 

Every race - (5k's to Full Marathon's) - I follow this routine:

1.  Carb load 2-3 days out (yes, even for a 5k)
2.  I set my clothes and race day gear out in the same way
3.  I do the same pre-race warm-up
4.  Eat the same pre-race meal

Why?  So, when the BIG race comes along - I am not stressing out what to do. It's now second nature to me.  I have seen so many racers loose their race even before they get to the Start Line.  Race day prep should be habit, not a last minute decision. 

There are some runners who think I have lost my mind that I race so much for experience that I should just practice visualization during my training runs.

Seriously - that confuses me.  

I can visualize driving an 18 wheeler truck all I want, but that doesn't mean I can drive one.  

I believe in the power of visualization but - what better way to gain race experience than to race?  There are enough low-key and low cost events that it won't break my bank. 


Racing and running is personal.  Each individual has to train based on their needs & their goals.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  I sincerely doubt Kara Goucher woke up one day and became an Olympic Athlete the next day.  I cannot train as if I am in High School.  I am a 50 year old woman, who began my long distance career in 2010.    I think I am a pretty good judge of what works for my body and I have a lot of awards to prove I am in the right direction. 

If racing provides me training - then, that's a good deal to me.  I have the best of both worlds. I am challenged and I get some great Bling at the end.   In addition, I always meet some great people at races


How do you feel about using your races as training days?  Share your side of the story. 


(c) C. Ragsdale 2011-12
___________________
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Running Coach, Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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4 comments:

  1. I. LOVE. YOU!! I have been doing the same thing since my schedule changed at work and I can no longer train with my running group - it was a devastating loss for me and I envisioned my self sitting on the couch and eating Cheetos for the rest of my life and gaining my weight back (I'm a 100 pound loser!) - I picked myself up and realized - I just need to do more races! I became a half fanatic and just last night I made out my training plan for full marathon #3! - it includes my races and now I have built in training partners - and more accountability because I won't ditch a race I have paid good money for! (plus I get bling!) - I even have a weekend where I'm schedule to do 13 and I don't have a race so I'm looking for one!

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    1. Hi Bre! Thank you for the comment (and compliment). I love how you found a way to make your training workouts work for you. Congrats on being a HF! I am #1508.

      Keep me posted on your race training is going. You are FAB-O!

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  2. Charlene,

    How is it I've just found your blog. Thanks so much for this post! It has put sooooooooo much in perspective for me, and my own racing/training or lack there of. I'm not competitive either, only with myself. I set goals, and I set out to complete them. Im also very add. I get distracted easily. I think I need to embrace all these qualities, and learn how to work with them. Thanks for making me think of this in a different way.

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    1. Hi there, thanks for your comment. Glad it helped out and welcome to my blog! Be sure to join my blog so you get all my recent posts.

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