Sunday, 9 December 2012

Tried and Tested Racing Tips

Wednesday I did my first 10km fun run for almost three (four?) years. 

Let me start by saying I'm very happy as I got a personal best and know that I went as hard as I could at the time.

For those who are wondering, my time was 1:00.53... yup, 53 seconds off breaking the hour, which was my goal. (I've mentioned before - I'm not really a runner.)

So, while I'm happy, it is always valuable to assess your preparation and race plan and see what can be improved in the future.

Based  on this race, let me give you some of my now tried and tested tips on doing 10km fun runs.

- a good warm up, especially if it is freezing cold.

- do it with a friend who is just slightly faster than you, but happy to be your pace man/woman (Bec, you are awesome and I wouldn't have done nearly so well with out you).

- I used the RunKeeper app and set it to tell me my average speed and current speed every five minutes: good as it told me when I was varying (felt like I was going the same speed the whole time, but in fact varied between 8km/h-12km/h.) though not sure it is completely accurate, so also use your watch and the km markers on the track.

- use the water stations, even if you don't think you feel thirsty. You have probably heard that even losing 2% of your body weight in fluid loss can result in up to a 25% decrease in performance,  so why put in all that effort and stuff yourself by not drinking?
Obviously how much to drink varies greatly between individuals so should be measured during training (easiest is weighing before and after exercise as 'weight' lost during the session is basically water) and you should get used to drinking during workouts as can hit the stomach hard if you aren't used to it.
However, the powers that be roughly suggest 1 cup every 15-20 minutes, which luckily is about how spaced out the drink stations are on most fun runs. Clever, no?
(If doing longer workouts, over 90mins, keep in mind your sodium intake as well.)

- have a 7 course Greek feast for lunch before the race, even if work are paying for it.

- test out using energy gels for the first time in the actual race. Did not sit well in the stomach.

- If possible, try not to have a stressful day at work before hand, though imagining certain people just a head of you and you with a chainsaw can have positive outcomes for your time I suppose. 

- Ride to the race: seems like a good idea as you get a warm up, but riding home is a bit more of a problem. (Was so tired that I wasn't thinking straight and took a few wrong turns that added 6kms to my ride home and meant I got stuck riding on a busy high speed road at peak hour with no way to turn off.)

- try to keep riding when your feet are cramping. (not really a race tip, but I'm putting it out there).

- forget where you left your stuff, so you have to go to the good looking volunteer asking if there is a lost property and have him point out 'Is that your jumper over there?' because you had been looking under the wrong tree. Doesn't affect your race time, but has implications for your self esteem.

- also, if you can help it, try not being an extra 10+kgs heavier than the last time you did it. Really struck me that carrying around the extra weight is not helping me out.

So, those are the tips learnt from this race. If anyone else has any tested tips they want to add, I'm all ears.

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