Things I did right during my last race

I wanted to give you guys my tips for the things I did right during my last race. If anything, this is a little “notepad” section for me to reflect back on for my next one!! At any rate-they are a refresher for you!

-I hung on to someone in front of me for every hill. I run hills all the time, and I’m very efficient at them. I wouldn’t call myself a “speed demon” on hills by any means. So, since this course was full of killer hills, I kept telling myself to hang on to the person in front of me’s pace. This worked really well because once I got to the top of a hill..I took off again! Getting to the top of a hill makes one feel quite badass, don’t you think?!
pretty sure I was going UP the hill in this picture because I look very unhappy!
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Water stops…I have finally mastered them by not stopping: Bam!! a runner walked up to me after the race and said how she saw me ahead of her and she was jealous of my camelbak because she felt the water stops really slowed her down…I can’t stop and get my legs moving as quickly again, or if they do get moving that fast, it’s a lot of extra work which ends up sapping my energy in the end.

A lot of you ask what kind of camelbak I have-I don’t remember, I’m so sorry, but I do know it’s one of the women’s versions, and it holds 1.5 liters of water. For a race, I think I would prefer a smaller one..unless it blazingly hot out!

-I didn’t go out too fast. As soon as I realized how fast I was going, I pulled it back. You don’t want to over exert yourself right at the start!

-I didn’t obsess over my Garmin and ran by my own perceived effort. This is easier said than done but it seems to have worked for me. And plus, if you are staring at your watch all the time, that’s a whole lot of extra moving around!

-I ran even paced nearly the whole time, and my second half was a little faster than my first. This is important when you’re training, especially if you have a goal pace in mind that you want to hit! When you’re near finishing all of your runs, your legs are naturally tired. Try upping your end speed on your daily runs and it will begin to feel more natural to you to “finish faster.” I try to finish the second half of all of my long runs faster than I started them at. This gets your legs used to speeding up when all they really want to is sit down and take a nap!

-Taper/reduced mileage the week before. I hate taper. Hate, hate, hate it. But….If you want to hit a pr, taper is a must. I do a large three week taper prior to a full marathon, but for a half, I just reduce my miles for a week to ten days before. So my last 3 weeks looked like this: a 60 mile week, 53 mile week, and the week of the half (including it) I only ran 44. Since I typically hit about 60 miles a week, my legs felt more rested.
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Tapering worked for this chick, she looks so happy because she got a PR!

Rule of thumb is not to do too many “workouts” or, NO workouts at all the week of a race. I did one on Monday, took the next day off, and then any other run I ran that week was easy. Give your body adequate time to rest before a race!
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so happy!

If anyone is racing this weekend, GOOD LUCK! I am doing a 21 miler tomorrow..yikes! I’m actually pretty excited to run the route I designed though! Happy weekend!!

Question of the day:How did you hit a PR? anybody have a crazy story like you ran your pr and did back to back races two days in a row? (I read about a guy who did that last year, and I’m pretty sure he won the first race!)

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36 thoughts on “Things I did right during my last race

  1. Pingback: Wednesday Wandering Mind – The Usual Nonsense But Mostly Health Stuff! | Running Around the Bend

  2. I like that you focused on what you did right, so good to look at positives and what worked and not just go towards “what I did wrong”. Looks like you have really found what works for you. I think a lot of my PR’s came from remaining positive throughout it all. I am an avid believer in training for the course. If you are running a hilly course, train on hills. If you are running a double loop course, train on loops. Be as prepared as possible for race day by controlling what you are able to.

  3. Great photos – you look so happy and like you’re really enjoying your race. For my half PR I definitely went out to fast and was hanging on by the end – did not enjoy. I raced a half about two months later after injury and non-ideal training. Took it easy to start and sped up at the end and I was only 90 secs outside my PR time. So for me going out slow really works!

  4. I’m ready to invest in a camelbak! I have a fuel belt but it keeps flopping off the older it’s gotten. But during races I usually grab the cup, pinch the side, and run slowly and sip. No spill! Most of the time lol nice race!!

  5. Awesome, awesome tips. I especially like the one about hanging onto someone for a hill. Raleigh is a VERY hilly city, and I feel like that is very valuable for Raleigh races.

  6. Yep! I definitely can tell the difference between my rested runs and my non-rested run. You definitely can’t cheat on the sleep or it bite ya! It’s always does at least for me

  7. Thanks for those tips coach!!! Lo ve you two bottom race pics in this post … all smiles en route to a much deserved PR!!! πŸ™‚ my most memorable PR came when I did all the little things during training stretching post run, nutrition, and sleep … sleep … SLEEP! I’ve gotten away from those in recent years but I’ve begun to implement them again for this upcoming season hoping to return to my old form

  8. Congrats on your race! Your tips are almost identical to how I got my last half marathon PR. It was the hilliest half that I’ve run and I hung with pacers which really helped me get up hills. I used the course water stops, but it was also the first time that I ran through all of them. All of those things really added up and helped me to finish several minutes faster than my goal time.

    • Thank you!!
      Pacers!!! I’m dying to a half
      With them…dying to!!! I can’t find one though in my area. Pacers are actually
      Gifts from the gods LOL. Good for you running through the water stops and
      Managing to actually swallow water..lol it never ends up good for me
      Unless I actually stop!

  9. These are great tips! I am running a 12 miler tomorrow that apparently has some rough hills in the beginning and then is mostly downhill. So the plan is to reign it in during the early miles and then hopefully speed it up towards the end. I mostly just want to see what pace I can hold for 12 miles. I’ve never done this distance in a race so automatic PR!

  10. I’m running a half marathon next weekend. It will be my 3rd.

    It’s weird because, for my previous two, I was training exclusively for a half and I tapered for two weeks leading up to it. Now, I’m in the middle of a marathon training cycle, so I can’t do that. I’m going to run 16 miles a week before my half marathon – last time, I ran 8 the week before! I’ll scale down my mileage next week to prepare, hoping it will be restful enough.

    • It is funny when you sandwich the two together and have different style races that you’re training for. I’ve never exclusively trained for a half-but if I did I think I still would be doing 16-17 mile training runs for it to get my body prepared. I think you will be good!! I would suggest all easy runs the week before-that way your legs stay rested! Best of luck, let me know how you do!

  11. Tapering really is so important and I’m glad you highlighted that. It’s a struggle to make yourself run less and run easier leading up to a race but so necessary if you want to run your best. I’m creating my marathon training plan now and have to keep in mind the tapering I need to do for my two half marathons leading up to my marathon as well. I am trying to come up with the best strategy for racing all 3 of those and recovering afterwards! (There are 5-6 weeks between each of the races.)

    I actually had a question for you. It looks like you wear compression socks – is that right? I have been doing research on them lately and am thinking about trying them out. Any suggestions on a good brand? When do you use them – for racing? For all training runs or just some? Do you keep them on for recovery after your run?

    Thanks! And congrats on your amazing half marathon finish and PR!

    • It’s hard to taper when you’re training
      For more than one race at a time. I had a hard time with that when I had a marathon in February and one again in April. It was not easy bc you are compromising weekends of long runs as you are recovering from a big race. I wish you luck in designing an awesome plan!!:)

      I am wearing compression socks yes. This was the first time I wore them during a race. We had to drive an 90 minutes to get there and the socks helped with the long car ride and the stiffness that accompanies it. I have only used Pro Compression socks and I love them…I sometimes wear them while I’m training, but during the summer I get really hot with them on–typically, after a hard run, I’ll put them on when I get out of the shower and hang out on them for a while. I’ve found they really help my recovery a lot! Pro always always has deals-40-50% off most of their socks. I just got an email from active.com that they are doing 50% off right now:)
      My running partner wears socks or ankle sleeves more most of her races
      And she loves the extra compression! I hops this helps!!

      • This is definitely helpful – thank you so much! I finally took the plunge and bought myself a pair. Like you said, I think I will initially just use them after my runs for the rest of the summer and then see how I feel running in them when fall comes!

    • I just went to your blog and took a look at your goals-I tried to comment but there is an ongoing issue with me commenting on others blogs lately-driving me mental-BUT: Great goals and I like how you know your own body well enough to know that you might not meet your 10k goal so soon after a half.
      Way to go on setting your sights on a 3:45 marathon!!:)

      • Thank you thank you thank you!!! In trying to write up my plan, I’m trying to figure out how to hit my long runs and still be able to race. I get excited about getting new PRs and may have to reign myself in some πŸ™‚ I might just make my half marathon races super long runs and add a couple miles of cool-down after finishing. Or I will just have one easy week of recovery and hope it’s enough to be able to do 18-20 miles the next weekend.
        I’ll post my plans soon and you can take a look and see if I’m being too ambitious πŸ™‚

  12. Looks like you got it all right for that race! I’m going to use a hydration vest for the first time in a race tomorrow so let’s hope I love it as much as you do! I also can never get the water stops right and hate stopping. All my PR’s involved a good taper so I can’t imagine doing back to back races and doing well. Good luck on the long run!

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