And here I am with only 6 days to go …. Oh boy! :)) Am I nervous? You bet!
I remember when I took up seriously running – only a year ago – I was obsessing over blogs, running magazines, running books, even asking every runner I’d meet – anything to quickly learn the right way to run and to avoid injuries at all costs.
But sh*t happens (take for example my broken right hand that threw me out of the game for almost 2 months). Ouch!
Anyway, if you’re anything like me – showing a pattern of stubbornness (and I’ll leave it to that) – I’d like to share with YOU (especially you) my top 5 race day mistakes I’ve made over the past year.
1. Starting the race too fast
It can be so exciting to run a race, especially your first few. But the energy of the crowd and the euphoria of a big race can cause you to blow past your goal pace and leaving you with nothing in the tank halfway through.
Lesson learned: Slow and steady (your current pace) if you want to win the race.
2. Wearing the wrong gear
I assume that every runner has endured the special pain that is blisters and chafing. Whether it’s cheap socks – I’m now wearing Royal Bay compression socks (coming soon my review on them) – or maybe the wrong shoe, however once your delicate skin has paid the price, you quickly learn that some things are best left to the experts.
Lesson learned: Some things are best left to the experts.
3. Eating too much before a race
It might take a little tweaking to figure out the best combination of foods for you and the perfect time to fuel up, but trust me that once you do it, you’ll be on your way to rock every race.
It only took me five of those stuffed runs to understand the importance of eating the right food and at the right time before a run. I for one need a small breakfast (granola with yoghurt and banana or a bagel with peanut butter and jelly) and at least 3-hour distance before any race.
Lesson learned: Timing is everything.
4. Avoid taking rest days or cross-training
When you’re in the running groove, it can very hard to stop – believe me, I feel you! You keep having great runs and you feel FANTASTIC, so why would you take a break from that to rest? Hell no, I used to say.
However, I now say that it’s crucial to schedule a non-running day or even two to recover or some time to fit in swimming (haven’t done this in a long time) or bike or yoga or weight-training to keep your muscles strong, flexible and free from injury.
Lesson learned: Sometimes less is more.
5. Giving up when the training gets tough
Every runner has had bad runs, tough races or disappointing injuries and wanted to give up on running for good. Am I right? I was fortunate enough to only have tough races so far (actually not that many).
However, taking a break from running might act as the right reset button for you too. Change your usual route, try a different approach for your next run, join a running club – make sure you realize how much you actually missed running.
Lesson learned: Sometimes you just have to spice it up (maybe with cross-training?).
Try NOT to make these 5 race mistakes and you’ll be sure to have a great race day!
Here I am … 6 day to go. There is no turning back! Now I have to RUN. ;) Are you living in Düsseldorf? Come down to Aldstadt this Sunday between 9 am and 13 pm AND cheer me on. I’ll be wearing my cool t-shirt this time. AND I promise to high five you. :-)
TO BE CONTINUED … if I survive! :))
Stay healthy & be happy!