First off, congratulations to everyone who completed a race this weekend, especially my friends who rocked the Hartford & Chicago Marathons. Shout out to my training buddy and school wife, Birdie, who now resides in PR City with a shiny time of 3:06:14.
That’s right. She’s MY friend.
Hey Birdie, way to go.
I am asked by my runners and lots of other newbies how they can figure out a realistic goal time for their next race. It’s something of a random equation that has mostly to do with training, a lot to do with how gutsy you are, and a little to do with race day conditions.
- Never assume you’ll run as fast as your best long run. That was practice and it was likely several miles shorter than your race. If it happens, great! But it’s not the best way gauge your race day speed.
- Do several time trials of several different distances throughout training. You’ll be able to see if you’re making progress and figure out what race pace is for you.
- Adjust your race day goal time for race day conditions. Running in 56 degree, slightly overcast with no wind conditions is a WORLD of difference from 76 degrees, sunny with a head wind.
- Have an A, B, and C goal. My A goal is to finish feeling good and upright. B is the best time I can hope for, given my training. C is a realistic time based on past races.
- Know your body and look to your training for strategy. If you didn’t practice negative splits during training, don’t expect to see it during a race. Your race day strategy will likely mimic your training strategy, so keep good track of your runs!
That said, anything can happen on race day. You could have the perfect day, the greatest feeling in your legs, and have the race of your life that kicks every single one of your long training run’s butts. Or, the conditions could still be perfect and you bonk.
The best thing to gauge your race time is your cumulative training performance. You’re 800s, mile repeats, tempo runs, and long runs are the best indicators of how what kind of condition you are in for race day.
Trust your training and get gutsy. Leave it all out on the road and see what you can do.
And have fun!
Anyone racing this upcoming week? What race did you finish last weekend? Go ahead and brag about it!!
Now go out and run.