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Practice Makes Perfect


No doubt about it, racing can be stressful, especially when you find a great race like the Eugene Marathon and want to have a strong performance. Some things are out of your control (e.g. weather), but many aspects of your race day are in your control (nutrition, shoes, gear, schedule, routine, pace, etc.). While a runner can control these variables, the key is to know how they will actually work on race day. The best way to put these to the test and prepare for your goal race day is by racing a shorter race…a “practice” race.

The first step is to find a race that is about half the distance of your goal race. For example, if your goal race is the Eugene Marathon, then your practice race should be a half-marathon, and if you are racing the Eugene Half-Marathon, your practice race should be a 10k, and so on. This practice race should be at least 6-8 weeks before your goal race. This will allow you to go hard and give you enough time to recover. You do not want this practice race to totally wipe you out and undermine the work you have already put into your training.

Approach this practice race as you would your goal race, as this is your opportunity to run-through your race day routine. Some things that could and should be included are a short taper period, meals the night before and morning of the race, transportation, and warm-up. Even simple things that are taken for granted (like setting an alarm and going to the bathroom) should be considered.

Running this early practice race will also give you a chance to think about and test your gear, including, but not limited to, shoes, socks, shorts, compression gear, shirt/tank, jacket, gloves, and hat. If something doesn’t fit quite right, or is too hot, it is much better to find this out during your practice race and not your goal race.

 The race itself can serve a great purpose in your training, as it can bolster your motivation and provide an indication of your progress. Sometimes training itself can feel like a slog, with a similar routine week to week. Your practice race breaks up training and allows you to get excited and nervous, which both boost your overall motivation. Additionally, when I run a practice race, I aim to run it at my goal race pace or faster, which can really help build my confidence. 

The most important aspect of incorporating a practice race into your training is to think and reflect on the experience when you are done. How did it go overall? Did any of your gear fail you? Did you have any stomach issues, and if yes, what could have contributed to them? How was your performance? If you underperformed, was it because you didn’t warm up properly or didn’t taper properly? Through this reflection, you can learn from your experience and alter your training, your race day plan or your performance expectations, all of which will make for a successful and fun race in Eugene!

 

Practice Makes Perfect

No doubt about it, racing can be stressful, especially when you find a great race like the Eugene Marathon and want to have a strong performance. Some things are out of your control (e.g. weather), but many aspects of your race day are in your control (nutrition, shoes, gear, schedule, routine, pace, etc.). While a runner can control these variables, the key is to know how they will actually work on race day. The best way to put these to the test and prepare for your goal race day is by racing a shorter race…a “practice” race.

The first step is to find a race that is about half the distance of your goal race. For example, if your goal race is the Eugene Marathon, then your practice race should be a half-marathon, and if you are racing the Eugene Half-Marathon, your practice race should be a 10k, and so on. This practice race should be at least 6-8 weeks before your goal race. This will allow you to go hard and give you enough time to recover. You do not want this practice race to totally wipe you out and undermine the work you have already put into your training.

Approach this practice race as you would your goal race, as this is your opportunity to run-through your race day routine. Some things that could and should be included are a short taper period, meals the night before and morning of the race, transportation, and warm-up. Even simple things that are taken for granted (like setting an alarm and going to the bathroom) should be considered.

Running this early practice race will also give you a chance to think about and test your gear, including, but not limited to, shoes, socks, shorts, compression gear, shirt/tank, jacket, gloves, and hat. If something doesn’t fit quite right, or is too hot, it is much better to find this out during your practice race and not your goal race.

 The race itself can serve a great purpose in your training, as it can bolster your motivation and provide an indication of your progress. Sometimes training itself can feel like a slog, with a similar routine week to week. Your practice race breaks up training and allows you to get excited and nervous, which both boost your overall motivation. Additionally, when I run a practice race, I aim to run it at my goal race pace or faster, which can really help build my confidence. 

The most important aspect of incorporating a practice race into your training is to think and reflect on the experience when you are done. How did it go overall? Did any of your gear fail you? Did you have any stomach issues, and if yes, what could have contributed to them? How was your performance? If you underperformed, was it because you didn’t warm up properly or didn’t taper properly? Through this reflection, you can learn from your experience and alter your training, your race day plan or your performance expectations, all of which will make for a successful and fun race in Eugene!

 

Practice Makes Perfect