Whoa, wait a second! It’s race week already? Didn’t you just start training a little while ago? Yes, so it seems, but when you are putting in lots of miles, and week after week of longer and longer runs, time does fly by.
And now, here it is, that big fat 13.1 or 26.2 mile race is coming up in just a couple days! This it where it all hits the fan, and you find out just what kind of runner you are - and on a much deeper level, you’ll find out just what kind of person you are - once you are several miles into your half or full marathon.
With the arrival of spring, race season in now in full swing. In fact, many of my running buddies and the runners that I coach are gearing up for their big goal races. Many of them look to me for advice about how to approach their event, and the first thing I always tell them is to trust your training. This is sound advice that you can lean on heavily – that is, if you did the required, necessary training to build up your fitness level to withstand the pounding it will take during your 13.1 or 26.2 mile race.
Remember that dreadful feeling of going to English class knowing that you didn’t do your homework, and you simply knew you were in for it? That is not the feeling you want to carry with you into race weekend. And honestly, those people who go into a long distance race without doing the proper training are few and far between. They tend to be totally unrealistic and unaware of exactly what their bodies are in for.
However, I have met a few of these types during my many years of working in specialty running retail. They would come in for a new pair of running shoes only one or two days before their marathon, and they would tell me their long run was eight miles – whereupon I would wince, think to myself, “Can you say, ‘injury’?” and then try to talk them out of it.
Fortunately, you are not one of these runners, so you can go into your race with a nice modicum of confidence that you will see that finish line and get your sweet finisher’s medal!
Here’s why you can trust your training. You know you did every single one, or at least most, of your long training runs. Slowly, progressively and over months, your body learned and adapted to the hard effort it takes to run 10, 16, 20 miles or more. You know these longer distances are no longer new territory for your body, and so it now understands what it needs to do to endure it all.
This is also true of your thought process. Early on, when you thought an eight-mile run was a marathon, and struggled with the distance, those future long training runs seemed totally daunting. But as you successfully navigated those long training runs, not only did your body grow stronger, but your confidence level did, too. Now your mind knows that it really can do this. This is what your training is all about! Many runners forget or don’t even realize that their mind is trained right along with their body to be stronger and successfully carry them through 13.1 or 26.2 miles.
Every runner, elite or total beginner, will at some point during the race have some doubts about whether they really can complete it. No matter how great you felt at the starting line, your energy levels will ebb and flow. One mile you feel great, and the next mile you feel like your legs won’t carry you another inch.
Even professional runner Desiree Linden felt that she was having a bad day and thought she would drop out – yet went on to win the 2018 Boston Marathon in brutal weather! That’s when she trusted her training. She knew she had hundreds and hundreds of hard training miles in her tank, and that took over and propelled her to victory! And you can do the same thing with your race.
It’s race week!
Strong body, strong heart, strong mind and powerful legs!
Trust your training, run well, race smart!
You got this!