Sometimes we end up racing on the fly without much notice. In a normal state of health, this is not a big deal and its easy to just go with the flow and enjoy the moment. However, if you have been injured and aren’t quite “up to par” then you need to think about a strategy before you hit the start line.
To create a successful strategy, you must first be honest with yourself. What is your current level of fitness? To what degree are you healed and “ready to run”? What is your current pace? If you just ran an 8:39 average over 3 miles (sound familiar?), then don’t expect to go out and knock that pace down to 7 minute miles during the race. It doesn’t really matter that you were a 7 minute miler prior to the injury, your body needs to build back up to the previous level of health and fitness in order to start resembling its former self.
After you are honest with yourself and consider your current level of health and fitness, then you can come up with a reasonable strategy for race day. Possibly create more than one strategy, one for optimal conditions and then a back up plan for real life race day conditions (90 degrees with 95% humidity – AKA – Summertime in Chicago!)
In my opinion, when one is returning to racing after injury, the most important thing is to be patient and listen to what your body is saying. So when I hit the start line on Sunday at the Hyundai Hope on Wheels 5K at the Chicago Half Marathon, I plan to start conservatively and listen to my body.
Who knows what the clock will say when I finish but I’m focused and looking forward. Looking forward to a future of healthy running. Looking forward to increasing my level of fitness. Looking forward to the speed that I know will come as I get stronger. Bottom line, my race strategy is to not mess anything up, which means that I will not run harder or faster than my current level of fitness will allow.
Are you racing this weekend? Is it a goal race or are you also in the building process?
If you are running the Hyundai Hope on Wheels 5K at the Chicago Half Marathon stop by the VIP tent at the finish line and say hello!
** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** firstname.lastname@example.org
I have problems with the concept of racing! I sign-up for races, but really I just run them. The word racing to me implies front-pack running, hard, fast and competing for the lead. Of course one could look at it as racing yourself and just trying to run your best time.
Then there is the concept of the 5k – my least favorite race distance because it really isn’t a challenge to cover in terms of distance. But…to run it hard and fast means running in that uncomfortable mind zone where the HR approaches maximum. As Usain Bolt once said regarding why he doesn’t race the 800m, I guess his response was something to the effect “going that far hurts too much!” I always joke that I hate 5k’s because it is all “puke your guts out” runnning – LOL!
Seriously…to run the 5k….or race the 5k….one has to put a lot of special training…often on the track doing interval repeats. That’s the only way to build that hard-core speed in the legs and train the brain to be able to handle that uncomfortable feeling running at or near HRmax.
So in your case…your strategy appears to be a good one….start out conservatively and tune in to how you respond and feel as time/distance goes on. Of course even when elites race the 5k, they also tend to start out conservatively…relatively speaking…sort of like Mo Farrah racing those 5k and 10k at the Olympics. If you haven’t watched those races….I highly recommend checking those races out in their entirety.
TTF you will do fine with the strategy you denote you are going to use this. I would just say try to make your strategy a little more objective/goal specific. Yes…start out conservatively, but keep a mile split time in mind to be your conservative start. Say 8:40 cause that was your overall average for recent 3-mile run you did. Then…in the spirit of the 5k…see if your strategy can include running each successive mile a little faster…say mile 2 at 8:25….then maybe hit the 2.5 to 2.75 miles around 8:10-8:15 clip. Finally…see if you got enough to speed up the last 1/4 to half-mile of the race covering that distance at about 8:00 flat clip, maybe even with a short 1-block all-out sprint to the finish.
This would be a progression strategy, but off course you can always dial back if something just doesn’t feel right in terms of those injuries. Most of all…you just gotta enjoy the race (or run)…but sometimes if you have these little strategic objectives and actually meet them, the overall goal of the “race” can be even more sweet-feeling!
Hope some of this helps ya!
I have personal time goals and know the pace where I plan to start. Just didn’t feel as if anyone cared about that. I was trying to keep the post a bit more open and applicable to everyone rather than my personal, specific goals for this event. But I do have a “real” plan. And I like the “puke your guts out” pace rather than the long haul of OMGosh, is this race ever going to end cuz I stopped having fun 20 miles ago. We all have our preferences, right? 🙂
Yay!!! Good luck at the 5K this weekend! I am running the half so I will see you there!!! Can’t wait to meet you in person!
Awesome! I’ll be waiting to meet you!
Melissa and I are running the Half there tomorrow. We will stop by and say hi. 🙂
I’ll look for you both!