Ambassador Leanne Talks about Race Day Prep!

August 16, 2014

Race day is fast approaching. The nerves are setting in. I always have big goals on race day. Mostly I hope to have a new PR to add to my PR page at home. I have plateaued in the 5 km distance and have switched my focus to the 10 km distance where I hope to take 1 to 2 more minutes off my time. Sometimes just running more is all a person needs to run faster on race day. But sometimes I can arrive at the race start with the best preparation behind me only to fail miserably at my goal because of the race day conditions.

Race day determines whether I can hit my goal. The weather could be too hot, too cold, or extremely windy. Maybe I slept badly which is every night when I am traveling with my kids where we are all sleeping in the same bedroom with 3 of us on the bed and one of us on the floor (I get the floor tonight!) or in a tent with no sleeping pad like last weekend because I gave it to my dad to use, maybe I feel sick or didn’t eat well. I embrace rain on race day because it keeps me cool. I despise the wind. The wind was my enemy during the Mississauga Marathon (as well as the brand new shoes I wore on race day!). There is nothing worse than turning a corner and being smacked in the face with wind that makes you feel like you are barely moving forward.

 Screenshot 2014-08-16 20.13.33I used to be a nervous racer. I thought if I was not nervous that I would not care. If I did not care then I would walk if I got tired or just give up. In fact the 10 km distance used to be the race distance I avoided. Give me a 5k, half marathon or full marathon any day and keep the 10 k race for yourself thank you very much!

A 5 km race is perfect for speed. Short enough to make speed possible and just long enough to survive that speed. When I start hating the race I only have 1 more km to go! A half-marathon race is perfect for endurance. My strategy is to line up in front of a pace bunny whom I hope I never see in front of me! I settle into a good pace for the long haul and speed up for the last 5 kms. A marathon is the party at the end of a long training cycle. I focus on each 10 km section until I get to 30 kms and then at 32 kms I count down the final 10 kms telling myself that I have run 10 kms hundreds of times. But a 10 km race presents a challenge for me. I want to push hard but it hurts to push hard for 10 solid kilometres. I dread it, I despise it, yet I keep signing up for 10 kilometre races. I got a PR last week in Fergus by a big 9 seconds. This week I hope to take off even more. None of the pain and agony matter once I cross that finish line. PR or no PR, good race or bad race, race day is always a magical experience for me. I can be happy just being out there, alive in the world, and then I change my focus to my 3 kids who steal my medals and then play race day at home.

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