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"You're only as good as your training, and your training is only as good as your thinking." -Lauren Oliver
Article written by Neely Gracey
Updated by Rosie Edwardstrust_the_process


If this is your first race ever, or your 1,000th race, in running, there are times where it gets tough while racing. Especially in the longer races. The doubts, negative thoughts, and emotions can sneak in and take over. Training your mind to focus on positive things will keep you moving forward towards your goals. The mantra you need today may change or evolve, or perhaps you need a few to get you through different parts of the race. Here are some ideas to get you started! 

Stronger Every Mile

Run Grateful

Chase The Dream

Attitude Is Everything

Every Mile Is A Gift

I Can, I Will

Fit, Fast, Fierce

You Are Strong

Focused Every Step

Embrace The Struggle

Breathe

Trust The Process

Be Strong

Attitude Determines Direction

Focus Ahead

Never Give Up

Relax

Be Fearless

Run Hard, Be Strong, Don't Quit

Chase Progress

Run With Ambition

Feed Your Focus

Run Inspired

Believe In You

Focus Determines Reality

One Foot In Front Of The Other

Conquer From Within

Relentless Spirit

Tough Times Don't Last

Enjoy The Journey

Strive For Progress

Positive Mind, Positive Outcome












Race day is almost here! Remember to lay low and stay off your feet the days before the race (no Expo attendance for longer than 1 hour). Your reward is race day itself and the challenge of running. . . .

Arrival

Make sure you get outside and feel the air. Go for at least a 20 minute walk or jog on either the day before, or two days before (or whatever is on your schedule).

Think about what you did, not what you didn’t do in your training. When you go to pick up your race number and run into old friends, family etc. everyone will want to ask about your training so they can tell you about theirs. Forget about theirs and don’t compare yourself to anyone. You followed a terrific training schedule and are well prepared.

Night Before, Morning Of

Have a full meal the night before. Try and consume some complex carbohydrates (pasta). Do not over eat, but make sure you fill up.

On race day eat a light breakfast of 200-300 Kcal of carbohydrates including the sports fluid you drink. If you have a normal pre-race breakfast then stick with it. Don't try any new foods before the race. Drink gatorade (or any sports drink that doesn’t include protein) and/or water frequently to assure you are hydrated (clear urine is a good sign). You should stay well-hydrated throughout the morning before the race. At some point prior to the race stop drinking so you can empty your bladder before the start. It is important to refrain from over-consumption of water alone, as that will drain your body of needed electrolytes.

I suggest you take some throw away warmups to the start especially if it rains or will be cold. This could be an old t-shirt or old sweat pants. Also old socks will keep your hands warm. Some runners will even wear a t-shirt for the first couple miles of the race until they warm up and then pull it off and throw it away. This is a good strategy to prepare for all temperatures.

Take a bottle with gatorade/sports drink to the start with you and right before (less than 5 mins) the gun goes off drink 4-8 ounces. This is your first water stop. If you drink close enough to the start you shouldn’t have to pee – the fluid should only drip through your kidneys because most of your resources (blood) will be in your legs and out of your gut as soon as the gun goes off.

Early Miles

I suggest that you start 15-30 seconds per mile slower than your goal pace. Your second mile should be 5-10 seconds slower.  By the third mile you should reach goal pace I recommend this approach as it may activate (and utilize) a higher percentage of fat fuel over the first couple miles. Remember we are trying to conserve glycogen and muscle for as long as possible.

Stay on top of hydration. Drink early and often (4-8 ounces every 20 minutes). It is better to consume enough fluid early and sacrifice the later stops if necessary.

Remember the 3 ‘C’s’

Confidence: Have confidence in your ability and your training. Remember all those hard workouts you did. Remember those early mornings, late nights, sore calves, tight hamstrings etc. - they weren’t in jest.

Control: You must relax yourself early in the race. You absolutely must go out under control and run easy for the first 8-10 miles. Remember the 1/2 Marathon is evenly divided into three sections of equal effort: first 5M, second 5M and last 5K. We want to save a little bit for the last 5K (Miles 10-13).

Collection: Keep your thoughts collected and on your objective. There will always be lots of distractions on race day. The further you get in this race the more you need to focus on yourself, goals and race strategy. Don’t let the fans and competitors into your zone.

The Ebb and Flow

I said before that I can’t guarantee anything about the training or the race itself. Well, I can guarantee this: you will feel good at some point and you will feel bad at some point within the race.

Races usually ebb and flow, runners rarely feel terrific the entire way. We always hit little walls. If you hit one just focus on the next mile, don’t think about the end of the race. If you take each difficult moment one mile at a time you will usually feel better at some point. It always comes back because. . .

You Always Have One Cup Left

That’s right – you always have one cup of energy left. The difference is that some people find it and some don’t. Remember what normal, untrained people do when they feel discomfort – they slow down and feel better. You are not a normal un-trained person.

You are a runnining machine!

You are programmed to give your personal best so. . .

Go get that last cup!


5 Reasons to Race

February 10, 2022

Even if you’re not competitive, there are many good reasons to sign up for an organized event.

medal

1. Ease your jitters.  Most races—especially 5Ks— are community-oriented events with runners and walkers of all abilities, ages, and levels of fitness. They provide a very supportive low-pressure setting for you. A local 5K is a great way to hold yourself accountable to a specific goal.

2. Check out some new territory. You’ll get a chance to check out new parks, trails, and fun running routes that you might not otherwise discover.  Exploring a new setting is a great way to avoid boredom and burnout.

3. Meet other runners. Chatting with others makes the miles roll by much faster. Races are opportunities to meet people with similar interests and fitness goals.  You might find that friends and coworkers you already knew, love getting outside to run too!

4. Test yourself. Use  a race to establish a baseline of fitness. Enter a race every four to six weeks to track your progress, and determine whether you need to tweak your routine. Plug in your results to the “Goals and Results” page, and we will design a plan that matches the level of activity and fitness you have now. The plan will gradually ramp up mileage and intensity so you can unleash your fitness potential.

5. Get your speedwork done.  Have a hard time getting yourself to do speedwork solo?  Sign up for a race instead of your weekly track session. Once you register, you’re less likely to blow it off. Plus, pinning on that number, and joining the pack of other runners will give you the adrenalin rush you need to push yourself farther and faster.

Remember, in addition to a personalized, training plan, as a Runcoach/ Movecoach user you'll have access to expert coaches certified by USATF, USAT, and RRCA. We’re here to answer your questions about training, nutrition, and technical issues.  

*This article was first written by Jennifer Van Allen for Runcoach in 2017. Modified by Rosie Edwards in 2022. 



Your pasta dinner has been consumed; your D-chip is safely looped around your shoelace.  Your final cup of water is in your hand and you’re just waiting for the gun to go off.  What now?

 

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced athlete, taking a few key tips to the starting line can help you dig down and find your potential on race day.  Here are a good ones to consider:

 

1. Practice as many race day details beforehand as possible.

As Brett mentioned in this month’s Pro’s Perspective, it is important to stick with the tried and true details that have brought you successfully to this point.  Can you survive if an unexpected change of plans is required?  Sure.  However, knowing that there are several things you will do on race day that have been proven to work for you in the past can provide great peace of mind.

 

If you have a pre race or pre long run breakfast that has worked well, make plans to have the same on the big day, even if that means bringing along your own peanut butter, your favorite bar, your favorite drink.  Yes, the hotel buffet might look tempting, but if you haven’t eaten bacon before heading out the door for a hard run, today is not the day to try.

 

Resist the urge to wear that cute new thing you bought at the expo the day before.  Wear it later to impress your friends around the neighborhood instead, and go with the shorts and shirt that have worked for you on your long runs.  Consider the temperature ranges of your race day and have options for unseasonably cold or wet conditions already planned and packed for.

 

2.         Commit to running your race at your pace

Everyone has heard stories of those who start too fast and struggle at the end as a result, or seen races where the whole crowd appears to be sprinting from the start line of a long race.  Do the math on the time you want to run, and stay in the ballpark of those mile splits (and perhaps even a bit slower for the first few miles) during the explorative stages of the race.

 

It is extremely tough not to be caught up in the adrenaline of the crowd, the announcer trying to fire everyone up, the extra energy you have from being tapered and rested, and the older, less fit appearing person who seems to be running so fast and easily right by you.

 

However, resist you must.

 

You’ve come too far to let short-term emotional bursts drag you away from your long-term goal.  As they always say about everything else requiring patience that is not actually a marathon:  this is a marathon, not a sprint.  And the reason why they say it is because it is actually true when you are indeed engaged in a marathon and you need to be steady and independently motivated.  Nerves of steel.  You can do it.

 

3. Plan for a rough patch

There will be a time, if not in this race, but next, where you will go through a tough patch, get a cramp or a side stitch, or have an unexpected period where your ultimate completion may feel like it is in doubt.  Rest assured that is completely normal, and plan in advance to give yourself time to let it ease and sort itself out.  Think of it as an expected challenge you plan to meet, so when it occurs you can almost greet it with joy. Oh, only a side stitch, Ha!  I’ve got this.  I’m going to take some deep inhales until my muscles relax.  Man, I feel out of juice.  Perfect!  That’s what I was carrying this extra gel packet for.  Even if you haven’t brought the antidote, many times the race is long enough and your body resilient enough that what seems like a deal breaker has resolved over the next 3-5 miles.  Plan in advance to give yourself at least that long to let it ease.  Certainly anything that indicates serious injury or illness should be taken extremely seriously and acted upon with every caution. But if you recognize that crampy calf or that mid-long run “blah” feeling, be excited about how you are going to persevere past it and do.

 

4. Celebrate intermediate steps

Is it mile 10 and you are still on pace for your goal? Have you successfully made the first half of the race without feeling like quitting once?  Have you taken fluids and nutrition as planned through the first several miles?  Were you able to give a thumbs up to your spouse and kids along the course when they were waiting for you to pass late in the race?  Consider some of the ingredients to a successful race day and enjoy a moment of appreciation along the route when you execute these plans. A “good day” is comprised of a bunch of different things that have gone well.  You may not always be able to get through the race with a perfect score, but if you have several evaluative check boxes, you’ll have a more complete appreciation of how and why things ended up well in the end.

 

5. Visualize the finish

Before you start, imagine the weight of the finisher’s medal on your chest, the balloon arc or banner over your head, even the joy of triumphantly retrieving your baggage from the trucks and reuniting with your family.  These images, seared into your brain beforehand, can be powerful motivators when things get tough on the racecourse.  What will be most enjoyable to you about finishing?  Picture yourself doing that, and continue to keep picturing it until you cross the line and can enjoy it for real.



Tips for Race Week

September 22, 2021

After sacrificing so much time, energy, and sweat to train for your race, the stress in the days before the event can feel overwhelming.

It is easy to get caught up in worrying about what you can’t control—factors like the weather, or how well your training went. But that’s not a good use of your emotional energy.

Focus instead on the many other factors within your control that can make or break your race.

Take the steps below to stress less on race week and arrive at the starting line feeling fit, fresh, and ready to run your best.

shoe_tie

Hydrate. Dehydration can sap your performance, and make any pace feel harder. Prevent dehydration by consuming plenty of fluids  in the days before the race.  Aim to consume half your body weight in ounces each day. So if you weigh 160 pounds, try to drink 80 ounces of water or other calorie-free drinks each day. If you weigh 120 pounds, aim for 60 ounces. Sip fluids in small doses throughout the day. Pounding drinks right before a workout, or the race, could cause GI distress.

Eat well. Stick with the foods that have worked well during training and given you a boost without upsetting your stomach. Avoid any new foods or meals with spicy foods in the day before the race—you don’t to risk GI distress. There’s  no need to carb-load for a 5-K or a 10-K. But to ensure that you have plenty of fuel when the starting gun fires, in the days before the race make sure that there are plenty of wholesome carb-rich foods in your meals.

Review the course. Review the race course online, or better yet drive or run on stretches of the course in the days before the race. Take mental notes on where you’ll have to push and where you can cruise. Visualize yourself crossing the finish line feeling composed, strong, and exhilarated.

Get your gear out.  It’s tempting to try something new to honor the special occasion of the big day. But it’s not a good idea. A gear or wardrobe malfunction before or during the race can throw off your focus and end up derailing the day you’ve been preparing so hard for. Plan to race in the shoes, apparel, gear, and gadgets that have been reliable in training.

Review your logistics.  What are your plans for picking up your race packet? How will you get to the race in the morning and get home afterwards? Where will you park? Make a plan, write it down, and stick to it. Spending time to nail down these logistics will help relieve stress on race morning.

Get some rest. Avoid the temptation to cram extra miles or intense workouts in the final days before the race.  Your fitness on race day is the result of the cumulative effect of all the workouts you’ve done over weeks and months. It’s unlikely that any workout you do in the week of the event will propel you to a PR. And by pushing the pace or the mileage right before the race, you risk getting injured, and sidelined from a goal you’ve worked so hard and long to achieve. Use the days before the race to rest, run easy, and get plenty of shuteye. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night.

Review your training log. Add up all the miles you logged to train for this big event. Take note of all the times you pushed yourself out the door for a tough workout when you would have rather stayed in. Draw confidence from all that you accomplished on the way to the starting line. Anyone can show up on race day. But it takes months of dedication, sacrifice, and hard work to train for it and get your body and mind into shape to give that race your all. Take some time to reflect on some of the major milestones and highlights of your running life so far—say the first time you completed a mile, ran five miles, broke a new personal best, or hit a pace that once felt impossible. Savor that success. Use those memories, and that pride to fuel your confidence heading into race day.

Review your goals.  Have a few time goals in mind that are realistic based on how your training went. Consider the miles you logged, how healthy you feel, and any aches or pains you may have accumulated along the way. If you set a goal at the outset of training, but work, life, illness or injury got in the way, save that goal for another day. It is far better to go in with a conservative goal and surprise yourself than to go into a race with vaunted unrealistic expectations that ultimately lead to disappointment. In addition to setting time goals, be sure to set consider objectives that aren’t so tied to the numbers on the finish-line clock. You might aim to run up the hills you previously walked, try to perfectly execute your fueling plan, or run each mile within 10 to 20 seconds of the previous mile. Or you might try to do a negative split—that is, finish the second half the race faster than the first half.




Tips for the Marathon

September 10, 2021

This is the general race weekend final instructions note. 

Remember to lay low and stay off your feet the days before the race (no Expo attendance for longer than 1 hour). Your reward is race day itself and the challenge of running. . . .

Arrival

Make sure you get outside and feel the air.  Go for at least a 20 minute walk or jog on either the day before, or two days before (or whatever is on your schedule).

Think about what you did, not what you didn’t do in your training.  When you go to pick up your  race number or run into old friends, family etc. everyone will want to ask about your training so they can tell you about theirs.  Forget about theirs and don’t compare yourself to anyone.  The training plan that you completed has been highly successful for many runners.  So when “joe cool” tells you he did ten 25 mile runs just remember all the good workouts you have completed.

Night Before, Morning Of

Have a full meal the night before.  Try and consume some complex carbohydrates (pasta).  Do not over eat, but make sure you fill up.

On race day eat some calories early in the 400-500 range of carbohydrates including the sports fluid you drink.  For mid-morning race, you may want to have a few extra calories because of the late start or have a snack in the 100-200 calorie range wants you arrive at the race site.  Drink gatorade (or any sports drink that doesn’t include protein) and/or water frequently to assure you are hydrated (clear urine is a good sign).  You should stay well-hydrated throughout the morning before the race.  At some point prior to the race stop drinking so you can empty your bladder before the start.  It is important to refrain from over-consumption of water alone, as that will drain your body of needed electrolytes.

I suggest you take some throw away warmups to the start especially if it rains.  This could be an old t-shirt or old sweat pants.  Also old socks will keep your hands warm. Some runners will even wear the t-shirt for the first couple miles of the race until they warm up and then pull it off and throw it away.  This is a good strategy to prepare for all temperatures.

Take a bottle with gatorade/sports drink to the start with you and right before the gun goes off drink 4-8 ounces.  This is your first water stop.  If you drink close enough to the start you shouldn’t have to pee – the fluid should only drip through your kidneys because most of your resources (blood) will be in your legs and out of your gut.

Early Miles

I suggest that you start 30-60 seconds per mile slower than your Marathon Goal Pace (MGP).  You should run the 2nd mile at 15-30 seconds/mile slower than MGP.  Try to get on pace by the 3rd mile and stay on pace until 18 or 20 miles when the race starts.  I recommend this approach as it may activate (and utilize) a higher percentage of fat fuel over the first couple miles.  Remember we are trying to conserve glycogen and muscle for as long as possible.

Glycogen conservation is key as you can’t rehydrate during a marathon.  So drink early and often (4-8 ounces every 20 minutes).  It is better to consume enough fluid early and sacrifice the later stops if necessary.

Remember the 3 ‘C’s’

Confidence:  Have confidence in your ability and your training.   Remember all those hard workouts you did.  Remember those early mornings, late nights, sore calves, tight hamstrings etc. - they weren’t in jest.

Control:  You must relax yourself early in the race.  You absolutely must go out under control and run easy for the first 18-20 miles.  The marathon is evenly divided into thirds (in regards to effort):  1st 10 miles, 2nd 10 miles and 3rd 10K.  Save yourself for that last 10K by running easy in the beginning.

Collection:  Keep your thoughts collected and on your objective.  In the typical big city marathon there will be about 250,000 distractions along the way.  The further you get in this race the more you need to focus on yourself, goals and race strategy.  Don’t let the fans and competitors into your zone.

The Ebb and Flow

I said before that I can’t guarantee anything about the training or the Marathon race itself.  Well, I can guarantee this:  you will feel good at some point and you will feel bad at some point within the race.

Marathons always ebb and flow, runners never feel terrific the entire way.  We always hit little walls.  If you hit one just focus on the next mile, don’t think about the end of the race.  If you take each difficult moment one mile at a time you will usually feel better at some point.  It always comes back because. . .

You Always Have One Cup Left

That’s right – you always have one cup of energy left.  The difference is that some people find it and some don’t.  Remember what normal, untrained people do when they feel discomfort – they slow down and feel better.  You are not a normal un-trained person.

You are a marathon machine!

As a machine you will have to dig down at the end to determine if you will have a good effort that you can be satisfied with or not.

Go get that last cup!


Written By Dena Evans
Updated By Coach Hiruni 

Many of us set running goals that culminate in a large race event with thousands of people.  Even if you are not completing your goal race at the ING New York City Marathon (more than 45,000 starters) or the Zazzle Bay to Breakers (more than 50,000 starters in 2011), your race day experience will likely not resemble your typical “roll out of bed and head out the door” long run.  How do you manage to find your normal, confident, well-trained self in the midst of a completely abnormal situation?  Try these tricks for race day success.

Weeks or at least days before your race, take advantage of all the available information on the race website.  If your race requires transportation to the start or transportation from the finish, examine your options and discuss the best choices with any friends or family members meeting you.  Closely examine the course map, particularly if the race offers an elevation chart.  Knowing exactly when you can expect hills, and how often hydration, gel, porta potties, and other key items are offered can help ease your stress by eliminating some of the unknowns of a big race.

If you have a web confirmation of your entry, double check you have the correct corral or wave start time, and exactly what tasks you will need to accomplish at the expo (shoe chip confirmation, etc).  One of the key reasons to do this well before you race is to be able to contact the race organization in a relaxed way if you have any questions or discover any discrepancies.  Usually, the organization is scrambling on race weekend and is off site at the expo so get on it early.

One key way in which many large races will differ from your typical workout is the length of time you will be required to stand at the start and the amount of walking you may be required to do to get to the starting area.  Again, read through the race materials well in advance and have a sense of what this will entail.  If it worries you, remember that everyone who is racing will also go through the same process, and that all the racers in prior years made it the same way.

To help condition yourself for this and to remind yourself that you will be ok, practice by walking a half mile or a mile before starting a few of your long runs, and then walking that same distance home when you are done.  Plan to wear a last layer of clothing that you would be ok with discarding (pick from your Goodwill/ Salvation Army pile at home).  This will leave you with a bit more warmth in the wait at the start, and less of a dilemma than if you had worn your favorite and most expensive outerwear to the line.  A $3 plastic parka or a trash bag with head and arm holes punched through can also provide a cheap alternative to hold in a bit of warmth.  $1 drug store knit gloves (or multiple layers of the same) can also be handy.

Even the most experienced racers have the butterflies on race day.  Sometimes this means extra trips to the restroom, particularly if you are well-hydrated.  The amount of facilities available at a particular race can vary widely, and it is likely you will need to wait in line, sometimes for quite a while.  In addition to being very deliberate about using the facilities at the last comfortable and private location you will have before you head out, consider going right when you arrive at the staging area.  If there is a line, you will have allowed yourself time afterwards to grab a drink or sit and relax a bit, and you won’t be as stressed as if you have left it to the last minute and are now faced with a full bladder, a huge line, and 10 minutes until you need to be at the start.  A travel pack of baby wipes or Kleenex (accompanied by a small bottle of Purell) in your gear bag can also be invaluable in case improvisational measures are required, or if race management hasn’t managed to keep pace with the usage of toilet paper in the facilities available.

Finally, all of the machinations required to get tens of thousands of people in place to start a huge race require several hours of organizing the people involved.  You may need to leave hours before your race and rise at a very early hour.   It is worthwhile taking at least a time or two to get up earlier than normal before your run in the weeks leading up to the race to prepare yourself for what that will feel like on the big day.  It is difficult to suddenly go to sleep at 8pm on the night before, so don’t expect yourself to be able to get a perfect and luxurious night of sleep from an artificially early hour.  Instead, just do your best to have an evenly paced evening so your food is digested, your stress levels are low, and your body can wind down as quickly as it naturally can.

Many experienced athletes have different strategies for managing the above challenges.  2012 Olympic Marathon Trials Fourth Place finisher and our May 2011 Pro’s Perspective interviewee, Amy Hastings, reported that she plans by making Post-It note lists of all the things she will need to do on race morning between waking and beginning the race.  Others may have great ideas – if a particular issue continues to trouble you, don’t hesitate to reach out to your fellow runners or to us (write us on the Forum or tweet us at @focusnfly).  We’re athletes ourselves and have been there.  Now that you have done the hard work of training, we’d love to help you enjoy and excel on race day!



After all the time and effort you invested in training, you want your hard work to pay off on race day.  Here are 10 tips to keep in mind in the final days before the big day. runners

1. Hydrate. Dehydration can make even an “easy” pace feel harder. Consume plenty of water in the days before the race.  Sip fluids in small doses throughout the day to avoid stomach upset. 

2. Stick to familiar foods. Avoid the temptation at the expo to test out new sports foods and drinks. Stick to foods that have given you a boost during training without upsetting your stomach.  Avoid any new foods or ingredients to avoid GI distress.

3. Stick to the training plan. In the days before the race, it’s tempting to cram in extra mileage or intense workouts to propel yourself to a PR. That’s not a good idea.  You can’t boost your fitness at this point—you only risk injury.  Use the time to rest, run easy, and get plenty of shuteye. You want to feel springy and energetic, and ready to unleash all the strength, and speed you worked so hard to develop.

4. Don't diet...Some runners attempt to cut back on calories during the taper, as they cut back their miles. But in the days before the race, you want to be building up your stores of glycogen so that you can have them to burn during the race. If you’re training for a half-marathon or a marathon, aim to get 70% of your daily calories from carbs in the final three days of your race. If you try to restrict calories, you could end up at the starting line feeling depleted and fatigued.

5. ...But don't get carried away with carb-loading. Other runners use the race as an excuse to eat with abandon. That can lead to GI distress, a heavy-legged feeling at the starting line, and a race that's derailed by emergency pit stops.

6. Review the course. Review the race route and course elevation, or if you can, drive or run on stretches of the course. Take mental notes on where you’ll have to push and where you can cruise. Visualize yourself crossing the finish line feeling composed, strong, and exhilarated.

7. Gather your tried-and-trusted gear.  Resist the temptation to use or wear something new for the special occasion of race day.  A gear or clothing malfunction before or during the race can rock your focus and derail the day you’ve worked so hard to prepare for.  Plan to race in the shoes, apparel, gear, and gadgets that have been reliable in training.

8. Review your logistics.  What are your plans for picking up your race packet? How will you get to the race in the morning and get home afterwards? Where will you park? Make a plan for race weekend, write it down, and stick to it. Spending time to nail down these logistics will help relieve stress on free up energy you need to focus.

9. Reflect on your training. Add up all the miles you logged to train for this big event. Take note of all the times you pushed yourself out the door for a tough workout when you would have rather stayed in. Draw confidence from all that you accomplished on the way to the starting line. Take time to reflect on the major milestones you hit—say the first time you completed a mile, achieved a new personal best, or hit a pace that once felt impossible. Use those memories and that pride to fuel your confidence heading into race day.

10. Reset your goals.  Have a few time goals for the race. Consider how your training went,  how healthy you feel, and any niggling aches and tweaks you may have developed along the way. If work, life, illness or injury got in the way of training, save your original time goal for another day. And be sure to set process goals for the race, which aren’t tied to the numbers on the finish-line clock. You might aim to run up the hills you previously walked, or try to do a negative split—that is, finish the second half the race faster than the first half.

Good luck!

After you cross the finish line, be sure to tell us about your training and racing experience. Share your story here. 



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Written by Runcoach Marketing Expert Kristin Martin.

You wanna know how my race schedule was in 2020? Nada. Zip. Zero.

I originally planned on Fall 2020  "post-baby 70.3 vacation in Mexico" and perhaps even chase a PR half marathon. But like many of you, the conditions – cancellations, pool closures, personal COVID protocols, etc – led me to decide in June that I wouldn’t be able to formally in-person race till 2021. So, did I do a virtual half marathon to prove myself? ...I’d like to say that I did (I wish I had!) but with the poor air quality in Denver last fall and some lingering calf issues, I bailed on that too.


2021 is a new year, and with the continued slow start to events (or the deferment of many races), it’s easy to keep the calendar free of racing commitments till later this year. However, by following the simple steps below, you, like me, can stop with the excuses and be successful at a virtual race this Spring.


  1. PUT IT ON THE CALENDAR (and commit!) - Looking back, this was probably my number one  mistake. When I decided to not participate in the triathlon, I mentally changed my goal to general fitness and cleared my calendar of running obligations. My running became more haphazard. While it's fun to run when the spirit moved me, my runs weren’t focused or structured in a way that built up to feeling comfortable in completing a race of that distance. By putting it a goal on the calendar and telling your partner, friend, or Coach, you increase your commitment to your race goal. This doesn’t mean that if you wake up and it’s a downpour or an extreme heatwave you can’t tweak your race date, but it helps to make sure you stay accountable and schedule or reschedule it for the best date.


  1. PICK A (safe) COURSE YOU LOVE - We can all picture races we love for their scenery, elevation profile (up or down!), or running surface. You have the power to plot out the course that fits you best. You can also stock your course with your favorite fueling gels or drinks. Will you run along a nearby stream? Around that favorite park in a loop? The possibilities are endless to construct your new favorite race map.


Safety tip: Check out your race course or train on it to know how crowded it will be (wear your mask) and make sure to follow appropriate traffic signals and other signage. Give your map to your family or friends so they know where you’ll be -- and can even cheer for you!


  1. TALK TO YOUR COACH - Even your trusted is experiencing the same adversities as you. Having to work thrrough similiar things mean first hand experience and great tips on how to adjust an outlook when you might not be feeling it or your schedule if your plans change. Maybe you want to switch to a 5K instead of a 10K, or you want to run/walk your first half. Take advantage of the flexibility that virtual racing offers with the expertise of coaches who can get you there safely.


  1. HAVE FUN - Ultimately, we run and participate in races to enjoy ourselves and a virtual experience is no different. I’m never the first one to cross the official finish line, but you better believe that I’ll be the first one to cross the streamer finish line held up by my husband and toddlers! Many years from now, we’ll look back at this pandemic time and "have all the feels" when it comes to thinking about quarantining, zoom meetings, and virtual learning. Let's make sure to have a bright spot when we think about our virtual race career. 



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