OK, there’s just one week to go before the Statesman Capitol 10,000, so what’s the best approach to set yourself up for a great race?
- Speed or not? First off, if you are not a morning runner, try to be one for at least a few days this week to get yourself in synch with race morning. You’re going to want to cut your daily mileage back so that your legs will be fresher on race day. Many runners struggle with whether or not to do any speed work the final week before a race. The answer is yes, BUT keep it short. For example, rather than do a full-blown 12 X 400 repeats, instead do only four to six of them. That way you’ll keep your fitness adaptations in place without inducing any fatigue. A big part of setting yourself up for race day comes down to the last few days before a race. Suddenly deciding to do an all-out hard 10-miles for a confidence booster Thursday evening is definitely NOT the thing to do. Rather, you’ll want to do an easy three or four miles on Thursday. Then take Friday completely off—don’t run a step. On Saturday, loosen up with an easy two miles. By doing so, you should arrive at the starting line Sunday morning rested and ready to go.
- Know the course. You’ve heard the phrase “home course advantage.” Well, there’s something to that. This is best accomplished by running the course ahead of time, or at least running sections of it. If you are not able to do that, the next best thing is to ride through it on a bike. And of course, you can always drive it. When running or driving the course, use this course map to make a mental note of where the mile markers are. When setting your race goal, knowing what time you plan to pass each mile marker can be a big help. Use the handy pace calculator here to see what your mile splits should be.
- Race morning. The race starts at 8:00 a.m. If you are used to eating anything before you run, you’re going to want to get up early—around 5:00 a.m., because you don’t want to eat right before the race. Keep it light. Maybe toast with peanut butter, or oatmeal with a banana. When heading to the starting line, allow yourself plenty of time to park loosen up and use the restroom.
- Race strategy. If it’s a warm, humid morning, scale back your expectations a bit. Otherwise, run the first mile at about the pace you hope to average for the whole race, NOT faster. If anything, run it a bit slower. You’ll go up a hill right before mile one on San Jacinto Blvd, so that may cost you a few seconds. The next stretch along 15th Street and Enfield is a hilly one. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of the long downhill on 15th Street as you pass mile two and cross over Lamar Blvd. Climbing up the long hill on Enfield Blvd. en route to the three-mile mark at Winsted Lane is challenging, so pace yourself. If you hit mile four (just before going under MoPac) and you are feeling decent, the worst part is over. You only have two miles left, and no matter how bad you feel, you know running two miles is no big deal, right? Once you hit mile five on Cesar Chavez, begin to pick up the pace in a long drive to the finish. But don’t give it all you’ve got until you round the corner on Riverside Dr. and see the finish line in sight. Whatever you have left at that point, the roar of cheering spectators will carry you through. You’ve done it! Now enjoy the post-race festival!
Upcoming Races: Sunday, April 23 at 8:00 a.m. Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge Statesman Capitol 10,000