Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Before Your Next Big Race
Jon Sinclair,a former U.S. champion in Cross-Country and at the 10,000 meter distance,co-authored a book that gives a checklist of what we should ask ourselves after we have run an important race.The emphasis here is on important. This is a race that you made a point of really preparing for. I'm not talking about your generic weekend 5k road race here. For many,you can use the following after a recent marathon,but again,it can apply to any distance.
After some of the points I will offer an opinion or two.
1."Will I eat differently? Will I drink more fluidls during the race?"
Not drinking enough during a long race,especially a marathon,is a common rookie mistake. As a running mentor of mine said decades ago,if you feel thirsty during the marathon,it's too late,you're well on your way to becoming dehydrated. As far as eating? I still remember these guys eating big pancake breakfasts 3 hours before the Revco- Cleveland marathon.What were they thinking? The advancement in fluid replacement drinks and energy bars,etc. have been a Godsend. Eat a nice quality meal the night before in a relaxing,peaceful enviroment.
2."Will I rest more? Will I build a longer taper into my training schedule?"
Here is another common mistake made by all runners.Although some experienced runners would never admit it,continuing to train without backing off prior to the big race is proof that they are succumbing to pre-race anxiety or nerves.Take the marathon; you have been focusing all year on this race and you can't bring yourself to do a calculated taper before? Studies have shown that if you don't run a step for a week you lose only 5% of your overall fitness.
3."Will I run more mileage or less? Will I do more speedwork,tempo runs or resistance training?"
In my opinion,runners,particularly in the longer races like the 30k and up,don't do enough aerobic running.This pertains especially to the weekly long run. You do 20 milers all year to prepare for a marathon? What about the other 6 miles? This is my personal opinion but the longer the distance to be raced the less the emphasis should be on speed(interval) work.Now I am not talking about tempo runs,fartlek and training over hilly terrain and time trials,they are essential to long distance race preparedness.
4."What will I do the same or differently next race to prepare myself mentally and physically?"
Ah,the million dollar question for runners who want to race well. These are the the kind of questions you ask yourself the morning after THE race over a copy of coffee while wondering how many days it will take for the muscle soreness in your legs to go away.
5."Will I train exactly the same for the next race?"
I don't know about you folks but no matter how well I raced I always think I can "tweak" the program a little to do even better next time.