As I contemplate entering a #race next weekend I find myself reviewing what makes a great race. I’m not talking about the actual race, though things like a flat course, crowd support, accurate timing and convenient location is all important. What I’m talking about is beyond the race.
I don’t know if any of this is useful to all of you out there reading this, so I will do my best to make it entertaining. My goal is for you to make it all the way to the end and ultimately share it.
The following is a list of things that can make the difference of a PR (personal record) or a SCR (super crappy run).
1. TOY: Time of year. Everyone has their ideal running temperature. For me it’s 50 degrees F. Here in Kentucky that means my best race is going to be in early spring or late fall. Some people (freaks) thrive in the heat. Where running in 90 degrees will add an extra minute and a half to each of my miles, some runners only tack on an extra 30 seconds. Those runners should race in the heat because they are at a serious advantage.
2. DOC: Degree of Comfort. I’ll never forget my first (and only) marathon. I showed up in my #Vibram Five Fingers, faded pick running shorts and home-made arm warmers. I met this group of girls who had on make-up and brand new outfits. They looked at me like, ‘you’re wearing that?’. Hell yes I’m wearing this little missy. This isn’t my first rodeo girls, race day isn’t the time to test out new threads. Mile ten isn’t a good time to discover that your new shorts’ built-in underwear are eroding the regions down south. And make-up? Well, that’s up to you. I don’t wear make-up very often so I am not comfortable in it, but if you wear it every day and feel naked without it; you better wear it. Besides, it gives me something to laugh at near the end of the race.
THE NEXT ONE IS FOR WOMEN ONLY DESPITE ITS ACRONYM
3. TOM: Time of Month. Running magazines don’t like to talk about this and you will have a hard time getting a coach to mention it (especially if he’s a dude), but TOM makes a huge difference in your race. Every woman is different and it is your responsibility to figure out what week you run best in. For instance, the week before The Beast arrives I am at my all time weakest, most pathetic and slow pace. But once The Beast has arrived I am, well…a Beast! I am in instant kick-ass mode and running seems effortless. So when I schedule a race, I make sure The Beast is in town.
4. FART: Fans at Race Time. I never would have imagined it would make a damn bit of difference if I knew anyone standing on the sidelines of a race until I actually had friends/fans cheering me on at a sprint #triathlon I did. For years I would quietly exit my house or hotel room in the morning leaving my family behind then enter a race in a strange town where I knew no one. The sprint triathlon I did was just down the road in a subdivision with locals that I trained with. When I found a friend at every corner I was fueled by their words, and it carried me to second place female overall. My best triathlon to date.
5. FUEL: Food U Eat Lately. Okay, that was just ridiculous. But seriously, what you eat leading up to your race can make a huge difference. If you eat McD’s five times a week with a little Taco Bell on the side, you will NOT run your best. I don’t care if you are a rock star and you eat that crap three times a day, you will be a bigger rock star if you don’t. If you go the extra mile and carb load early in the week and get your lean proteins later you will rock the race to the moon. My advice: google ‘fueling for race day’ and learn what the experts say. I have yet to master fueling properly, I tend to eat crap the night before and wash it down with beer. This is not recommended if you are shooting for a PR (personal record).
6. TURD: Thoughts Un Race Day. Yes, it’s true, even if you haven’t really trained and just randomly show up for a race, your mindset could get you a medal. Believing you will kick major short-shorts butt will get you farther than the guy who stuck to his 8 week training plan and shows up on race day convinced he is going to suck Under Amour ass. Don’t let anything convince you differently. Even if you only get three hours of sleep, are unable to have a good BM (bowel movement…come on!) or you arrive later than you had planned, believing you are a rock star the morning of the race will always give you a great outcome.
Now go out there and choose your TOY, but make sure your TOM is just right. Plan your FUEL well in advance and make sure you have a good FART. But remember, in the end, your TURD will ultimately determine your outcome.