When I think back on the handful of half marathons I’ve done, it’s amazing how my training differs. I always use Jeff Galloway’s half marathon plans, but sometimes life just gets in the way. I have stood at the start line with every single mile completed and I’ve stood at the start line with a few weeks of missed training. I’ve started dead last in a race and I’ve started in the front. But the one thing that never changes from race to race, is knowing that I’m race-ready when I start.
For me, this means that I’ve completed about 90% of the required training. The long runs are so important to my training and I try to never miss any. Occasionally I have to miss some 30 minute runs and I forgive myself. I just pick up on the next workout and get back on track immediately. For the 2015 WDW Half Marathon, I felt strong & prepared. It was a great race for me! A mere one month later, I missed a few training runs for the 2015 Glass Slipper Challenge because JP was sick. I could tell a difference by mile 9 of the half marathon. Those few training runs made a huge difference. I lost some endurance within a month.
I also access my body prior to a race. I don’t let myself run a race while injured. It’s just not worth it to risk hurting myself worse. Take note of anything bothering you before a race and check with a physician before you decide to run. Missing one race is better than missing months from am injury that became worse from the race.
Lastly, I like to double check my nutrition before a race. Sometimes I don’t eat enough if I’m busy before a local race and other times I over-eat if I’m doing a Run Disney race. There’s a careful balance for me and I try to mimick what I normally eat for my training runs. I’ve learned that I don’t need to eat a TON of carbs before a race. The notion of “carb loading” only makes me feel sick during a race.
It’s important to know what being “race ready” means to you. Developing this mind and body connection is crucial to your success as an athlete. I always go through these steps before a race and verify that I’m race ready. It could be the difference between a successful PR race or being swept.
How do you access that you’re race ready? Do you have any pre-race rituals?