Living and training in the Lowcountry of South Carolina means unless I include a bridge on my route, I am running at sea level. Thanks to a regular strength training routine, I luckily have some leg power to help me up hills despite rarely training on them. Which is basically how I survived Portland and Boston last year.
Life seems to get busier and busier. I feel as though I’m running around now more than ever before. When my children were little I was so busy trying to get my workouts in between feeding, napping, and playing. Then there was a happy lull when they first entered school and I felt like a new person with so much time on my hands! I would drop the kids off at school, get a workout in, go to work, and still have time in the day to get other stuff done. Now I’m in a new stage of life. My sweet spot of minimal activity is over. Now I find myself racing from activity to activity struggling to fit everything in while my children are in school –not to mention driving all around town after school. For the first time in a long long time, I sometimes have a hard time trying to fit in my workouts for the day. I get it done, but I’m sure I’ve forgotten to do something and if that ‘something’ was supposed to be for you I apologize.
Over the last few years I’ve gotten wise with my older age. I’ve learned I can plan a race and vacation in one. A “race-cation”! Which not only helps justify the expense, but provides a greater experience for me, as well as opportunities and fun for the family members who accompany me.
As my big, “A” race approaches in the next 25 days, I’ve started to think about what it next for me. What is my next goal? Because my race is a hilly ultra marathon, I know I’ll need some time off to recover both mentally and physically. Therefore, my next big race won’t be until sometime this fall, allowing me at least a month or so to recover before I start training for my next adventure. But I know myself, and I will need some type of direction for that time period or I run the risk of doing too much during that time, not allowing myself time to recover fully and thereby increasing my risk or injury or burnout.
Whether you are new to running races, or have a wall full of medals, there are some basic do’s and don’ts to follow on race day.
Before the race:
Corral Assignments – Stay put
If your race has corral assignments, please line up correctly. Cutting corrals is not only breaking the rules, but can be a hazard. If you are slower than the corral you cut up to, the runners will have to try and dodge around you, making their race start frustrating and possible dangerous. Also, if you try and keep up with faster runners at the start, it could ruin your pacing and throw off your own race. This goes for non-corral races too. Usually there are pace flags to mark the general area you should line up. If you know you are running with a group, have a stroller (if allowed) or are walking, please line up in the back.
You have done all the training, and completed the race. Now what? Luckily, races aren’t just races anymore. They have become events. There are pre-race events, and more importantly there are post-race events. In fact, some people run the races just for the post-race events.
Race goal—-whether or not we like to admit it, we all have a goal in mind for an upcoming race. Whether we want to set a PR (personal record), achieve a certain time, beat our friend (or husband…:) or even if we say we are ‘doing it for fun’, these are all goals. It’s wonderful to have a goal, whatever it might be, for the obvious reason that it helps us stay motivated! Want to beat your husband at a race? Well you’d better get out in the rain and get your track work in. Want to beat your time from last year? Get up early and train before your kids are up for the day. Want to go out and have a fun race? You’d better spend the time in the pool or on the road so that it CAN be fun. Going into a race undertrained is no fun at all.