OK, most of you are doing one of the half marathons this weekend. Here is a excerpt from one of my handouts about the concept of racing....
Why Race? Your ultimate goal is to finish the marathon. That is your goal race. Much as you practice doing increasingly long runs, you should practice preparing for and actually running a race.
Benefits of Racing
- Experience. If you have not done many races, you may not know the subtleties that are involved in running a race. How do I sign up? How early do I get to the race? How do I get my number and chip? How do I put on my number and chip? Where in the line up of runners should I start? How fast should I start? (one of the biggest pitfalls of new runners is to start out way too fast with the surge at the start of a race). And many other similar, basic questions. By doing races, you can get used to racing.
- Training Benefit. When you race you will generally get a better workout that you will with your weekend group run. With mile markers and time splits, you will push yourself to run harder. This will improve your running ability quicker than any other training method.
- Interim Report Card. By racing, you can get feedback on how your training is going. You can see how you improve from race to race. Or you can use the information to help you judge the correct pace you should use in a longer race.
Racing vs. Running. There are two ways to approach a race. I call them Racing and Running. If you are really trying to Race a race for you best possible time, you will need to taper (rest) in the days leading up to the race and will probably need recovery time after the race. You are going much more for the Training Benefit and the Report Card. If you are just Running a race, you are out there for the Experience. You are doing the race to enjoy the running and the atmosphere. There are times to do Racing and there are times to do Running.
For those of you who are racing, that is great. Just remember the first paragraph. Your goal is the marathon. So don't put so much into the half marathon that you lose mental focus and training focus on the marathon.
Should you race or run. This is, as always, a personal decision. My suggestions...if you are on the novice team or have only been racing for six months or so, you should definitely look at this as a run. If you are an intermediate that has done lots of half marathons, you will probably be racing no matter what I say. For the rest of you, I would offer the advice I offer on most longer races. Always make the decision on race day. If you wake up and it is 80 and humid, treat it as a run because no matter what you want to do, the weather is not going to allow you to run a fast race. If it is 55 and clear, you may want to go for it.
For the newer runner. We try to take care of you on our training runs. But races are different animals. There are no SAG wagons. There are water stops. With water. No PowerAde. No gummy bears. No Cliff shots. And there is food, etc at the end of the race. Just be prepared for the differences.
Team Spirit. Let's all try to wear our new T shirts to the races. (Not to run in but for before/ after. After all, they are cotton) This will help you know who is on the team but not on your smaller team.
For those of you doing Rock N Roll, check the message board as those going down usually select a place to meet before the race. I'll see those of you doing Procrastinator's and Battlefield. Good luck to those of you going to Virginia Beach.