Since crossing the finish line of Rock ‘n’ Roll DC earlier this month, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection as to what worked for me last training cycle and last race and what did not. Obviously, things did not go as I had hoped on race day even though I had overall had a successful training cycle. After doing a lot of reflection, I’m taking away from the experience a number of lessons that will help me as I train for and run future races.
1. Plan for the unexpected.
It doesn’t matter how much you plan, unexpected things will always come up. During my ten weeks of training for DC, both little man and I were sick at various times. My mommy duties had to take precedent over training on a number of days, especially on days when I received the call from daycare that little man was sick and needed to be picked up. My grandfather also became ill and very unexpectedly passed away at the end of January.
2. Flexibility is one of the keys to success.
Piggybacking off of planning for the unexpected, you also have to be flexible and be willing to shift things around as needed. Depending on what else is on my calendar, I usually plan to complete my weekday training runs on Mondays/Wednesdays or Tuesdays/Thursdays, and my long runs on Saturdays. I can’t always 100% follow my training calendar, especially when my mommy duties call, and that’s okay.
3. Sometimes you won’t complete every planned run, or all of the miles that you had planned on running.
My last double digit training run for RnRDC is a prime example of this. I had planned to run 14 miles two weeks prior to race day. However, between recovering from having been sick, as well as running on a hilly route and battling high winds, my body was screaming for me to stop. So after running 12 miles, I had to call it quits.
4. I am stronger than I think I am.
There were a number of times last training cycle that I completely surprised myself with my pace. On days that I felt great, I pushed myself as fast as I could, and proved to myself that I can run faster than I think I can.
5. You can’t control the weather.
This has been the hardest pill to swallow since my last half marathon. Everything can go just “right” up until race day, and then the weather gods decide to present you with completely unfavorable weather conditions. Running a half marathon with a wind chill in the teens, coupled with strong winds, on a hilly course, is far from ideal. The weather conditions definitely got the best of me two weeks ago and made it difficult for me to reach my race goals.
QOTD: What lessons did you learn from training for and running your last race?