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