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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  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!

    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!

  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.

    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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