….and My Story Runs On….
Should you set a goal before a race or not? Many runners do…..I always tell new runners not to worry about what everyone else is doing and do your own thing. Running is social for me so I don’t tend to set many concrete goals before I do a race. Read my blog and/or watch my video to find out about my last race;)
This past Saturday night, I completed my longest run in a long time…since dealing with my plantar fascitiis. It was the 25K Javelina Jangover with Aravaipa Running (15ish miles). A night trail run that started at 8pm. I used think people were crazy to do night trail runs but now they are my favorite type of run.
Last year I did this same race with a few friends and we had a blast. It was their first longest race, and at night. We had not any goals and completed it in 3:57.
This year most of my friends weren’t doing it and since I love this trail, I decided to go for it (I have been training for it).
As I said, I rarely go into a run with a solid plan but this time was different:
- I just got back from assisting Danny Dreyer, the founder of ChiRunning, at a 5-Day ChiRunning retreat in MA.
- I’m on Week 22 of ChiSchool
- I had delivered a free ChiRunning clinic the night before
- I taught a 4 hour ChiRunning workshop the morning of the race.
Needless to say, I was craving a nice long run where I could really focus on my form… and more importantly energy efficiency. Here was my plan:
- Beat last year’s time with a goal of 3:27
- Not wear my Garmin so I could run strictly by body sensing rather than having the time/mileage rule my mind. I wrote another blog about this before.
- I actually looked at the map. I new the first half of the race was hillier and that my 2nd half would be easier (was hoping for negative splits-when the 2nd half of your race is faster than the first half)
- Be as energy efficient as possible by using the ChiRunning form focuses as much as possible. I also wanted to focus on applying the rule of matching my running to the environment.
I’m happy to report that my plan went very well:
- I ended up with a 3:16:28 time (ended 7th in my Age Group out of 27 other women). I averaged a 13:02 pace for 13 miles which I was happily surprised with.
- I looked at my Garmin a few times to gauge the Aid station but happy that it did not “rule” my run.
- I was alone most of the run, didn’t listen to any music and was happy to run into a friend after the aid station and we chit chatted for a bit which helped the My favorite part was working on all my form focuses! Time went by so fast. You have to be very present when night trail running already but when you focus on form, it gives you something to work with as well. My abs were pretty sore at the end which means I focused well on my posture the entire time and allowing gravity to pull me forward. I focused on letting the trail pick up my feet and did a lot of work with my upper body. I focused on not rotating my upper body. I strategically ChiWalked up every hill which is very efficient and used short strides and my upper body to do more of the work. I focused a lot on breathing, especially nose breathing. I never focused this much on breathing during a race and I have to say, this paid off. I felt great the entire time and I believe it was the breathing that had the biggest impact. (I also give credit to Dr. Al Lundeen, my chiropractor, from Fast Forward Chiropractic who I’ve been working with for several months. We are working on some of my posture issues that effect breathing).
- My other favorite running meditation is to focus on all my senses and be present within each of them. Try it next time. Focus on what you hear for a bit, what you see, smell, feel and taste.
I’ve ran quite a few training runs and races but I have to say, that had to be one of my best runs ever if I were to measure it specifically on energy efficiency. I felt great during the run and after the run.
AHA Moment: It’s up to you if you want to have a plan or not. But if you do have a plan, don’t get too attached to it. Sometimes things happen that are out of our control…I’ve seen this happen where people make plans for an event and they couldn’t keep the plan and then they are beating themselves about it for days. It’s not worth it. Make a plan and see how it goes. If it doesn’t go as planned, figure out why and use it as a learning lesson next time. No need to beat yourself up about it!
Have you ever planned for a race? How did it go?
From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)