Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pre-Race warmup...what if it is terrible???

The crazy part about running is how much physical effort we all put into training. Logging miles on cold winter days, rainy days, 100 degree days the work is still put in the bank.  That type of training and effort is awesome, but how many times has the mental side of running gotten in the way of your race goals---with just thinking negative thoughts or over-thinking every single thing about race day.  More specifically when you felt cruddy on a race warm-up jog have you lost it mentally and already been beaten before the race even went off?  Maybe we all forget how much physical prep and work has to be put in to get to that point in time to get you one hour away from a big race.  A sub par warm-up I have found to be an awesome way to center your thinking-in a way you "dont" want to feel good.  Control what you can control to get your focus back on your race strategy and goals. If your legs feel like crap then you do not have to worry about how your legs are going to feel race day....you already know that after the warm-up your legs feel like garbage so move on.  That is out of your control 45 minutes before the gun goes off.

Back in March of 2004, I raced in the USA 15k road championships in Jacksonville, Florida. The Gate River Run is the largest 15k in the United States and is definitely a top notch race if you are ever looking for a racing field trip (there is a 3/4 of a mile uphill at the 8 mile mark though).  For me the winter of training for me had gone as planned before the 15k, but during the warm-up that day before what was my biggest race in some time-- things began to fall apart. I got stuck running with a guy who would not stop talking about himself like he was Pre.  Our warm-up pace was like 14 minute mile pace (normally I go 6-7 minute pace), and to top it off with the slower than normal pace--my feet were not too far off the ground so I caught my toe and tripped and fell.  After I tripped I sprinted away from that joker. Plus on top of it all my legs felt like crap. Just to add a little bit more anxiety for some odd reason it felt like a knife was stabbing the side of my heart, I had never had that stabbing feeling before and never since-- but it hurt like hell.  That is where the all thoughts need to turn to race strategy and that is what I ended up doing.  Control what you can control & think of how lucky we all are to actually get to train and race.

The 15k was going off whether I felt good or not.....I knew from past experience that USA road championships go out crazy fast the first mil--- so I was ready for that even after all the garbage that went on within that last 45 minutes before the race start. I was not at all ready for a cannon false start where the 25 front of the line runners (including me) raced off the line for 10 seconds--only to be called back and 1/2 way back to the start line then told to continue. A wild start, I do not think I got my first mile split!  The first 5k saw the leaders out in 14:10 my split was around 14:20, I finally caught my breath through the 10k in a road PR (29:20) to that point.  The legs felt awesome to that point-- even after the circus warm-up act and having tired legs. The last 5k was tough with getting out pretty fast and with that 3/4 of mile hill at the 8 mile mark but hung in there for a top 5 finish in 44:25 for what turned out to be one of my better races on the roads.  After all the garbage that transpired 45 minutes before the race-- that all led up to a  happy race.  I never again question how my legs feel in the warm-up or what other negative stuff happens before the race. I am actually worried when my legs feel great during a warmup. Anyone else ever feel like that??????