RACE DAY STRATEGY
The more you walk and run, the more you'll understand that there are good days and bad days. Enjoy the days when you go out and it feels effortless and don't beat yourself up about those trainings where you felt like you couldn't take another step. Allow yourself to walk and regroup when you hit rock bottom. There are so many elements that go into feeling great – weather, proper hydration, rest, health and diet. All you can do is keep practicing and hope the stars align for one of those effortless days.
This week's tips are about race day strategy. Pace is so very important!!! It's very common to get caught up in the adrenalin of the start. You will feel great, be moving faster than you ever have and for some reason this quick pace will feel as easy as a walk in the park. For many of us the idea of "banking minutes" occurs or we start to calculate finish times that we didn't think were possible. This all works great until late in the race when suddenly we are out of steam and all those people we passed in the first mile start passing us.
Pace options are:
1. Take the first half of the race easy and pick up the pace for the second half. The problem with this attempt is that you have to increase your speed significantly to make up for the first half of the race. This faster speed is normally not your most efficient speed. It's often said that if you negative split the marathon (second half faster than the first) you could have had a faster finish time.
2. Take the first half fast and try to cruise to 2nd half. The risk here is that you will use more glycogen than necessary from the start and you will start to accumulate lactate acid.
3. Do an even pace the entire course. According to Advanced Marathoning this is the best way to tackle a distance. Obviously with course variation (hills, turns) even splits won't be possible but you should try to maintain a constant pace
So what should your race day plan look like......
First 1/3 of race (1 mile for 5K'ers / 2 miles for 10K'ers): Keep things in check - not too fast!! Establish your relaxed shoulders, face and hands here. Always remember my fingers are so loose it's like I'm carrying a potato chip.
Second 1/3 of race (2nd mile for 5K'ers / mile 3 & 4 for 10K'ers): Evaluate your pace as you come by those first clocks.. The shock of moving is over for your body and now it's time to settle.
Final 1/3 of race (3rd mile for 5K'ers / mile 5 & 6 for the 10K'ers: These miles tends to feel longer than the earlier miles. Push on, dig deep and put it all on the line here. Pass the time with small goals like passing those in front of you.
The Finish Line: Keep the emotions in check for just a few more minutes once it's in view.... kick it in (UP THAT HILL) and show yourself and all the cheering people that you have mastered this distance, you have paid your blessings forward. Visualize this moment as much as you can now.